Deficit Commission Job a 'Suicide Mission': Simpson
Reigning in the deficit will be nothing short of a "suicide mission" for the people charged with the task, Alan Simpson, co-chair of President Barack Obama's bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission, told CNBC Monday.
"A lot of blood, hair and eyeballs have to lay on the floor before we finish. It's going to be anguishing. This is a suicide mission," Simpson said. "We will get it from all sides, the right, the left, but the people of America know that something is very, very dysfunctional."
Simpson, a Republican and former Wyoming Senator, is chairing the commission with Democrat Erskine Bowles, President Bill Clinton's former White House chief of staff.
The commission is tasked with proposing ways to reduce the Federal deficit, which could reach $1.6 trillion by the end of this year. The bipartisan commission includes six presidential appointees, six Republicans and six Democrats from Congress.
Simpson said the commission will focus on cutting costs by slashing entitlements, medicare and social security.
The commission expects criticism for cutting entitlements, but Simpson said it is impossible to make a dent in the deficit without making cuts.
"The word itself has killed us. I've been saying that in office, out of office. The word 'entitlement,' to think you are entitled to something from your government regardless of your net worth or your government is just BS," said Simpson.
Cutting social security won't be any easier.
Simpson said he expects "a blood bath" when social security cuts are being negotiated. But reform is necessary because current recommendations are flawed, he said.
"Let me tell you something, everything that Bush, Clinton or Obama have suggested with regard to social security doesn't affect anyone over 60 and who are the people howling and bitching the most? The people over 60. This makes no sense," said Simpson.
The commission's recommendations are due Dec. 1, 2010.
"We aren't going to listen to emotion, fear and guilt," said Simpson. "We're going to put facts on the table and say 'There ya are chums, your call, we're going home, tap on my box when you're through 20 years from now."