If you have ever read this blog, you know that I am no huge fan of former U.S.Senator Alan Simpson! However, in an interview by Ben Neary of the Associated Press, I have to admit that he showed an amazing clarity on the current debt ceiling brouhaha! He spoke of Senator Mitch McConnell's recent proposal to give President Obama authority to raise the debt limit without congressional approval and said that such maneuvering indicates that all the players, "seem to have forgotten the singular question: what's best for the United States of America in this present situation? Without thinking of who will be the majority leader the next time, or the minority leader, or the president." I agree absolutely! He went on to make it clear that the country won't climb out of this financial crisis solely by cutting spending or raising taxes, it will take both. Again, I absolutely agree! Kind of scary, isn't it!
Then Simpson stated further, "there's no way to do this without additional revenue, let's just quit fooling ourselves. I mean what the hell? Half of the American public don't even pay taxes. And the top 400 people pay an average of 16% of their income." Here we differ a little...the percentage of people who don't pay income taxes is large because they are living AT or NEAR POVERTY levels, therefore they don't have enough income to pay taxes on! I'm quite sure that they would be happy to make more income to pay taxes on! I agree with Senator Simpson that a 16% rate of tax on the wealthiest 400 people is absurdly low.
In speaking about the deficit reduction commission on which he served at the request of President Obama, he said they proposed closing over 180 tax breaks that cost the country over $1.1 trillion a year. This is the best part! "Those we really call tax earmarks. They are spending by any other name, like ethanol subsidies, They got rid of that the other day--$6 billion a year or whatever it was--and Grover Norquist called it a tax increase. I'll tell you, if that's a tax increase, I'm Mussolini." Good for you Senator Simpson!
This last part of the interview is absolutely the best, and really inspired me to respect what Senator Simpson had to say about Grover Norquist! I have a really low opinion of Nordquist's pledge that he coerces politicians to sign about not supporting increasing taxes and apparently so does Simpson. In his words: "This makes no sense whatsoever. I guess I'll just say this, I hate to get to personalities, but if Grover Norquist is more powerful than the president of the United States, and the AARP is more powerful than the Congress, we ain't got a prayer." Well said, Senator Simpson, and I applaud you for the saying of it!