Fiscal Commissioner on Debt Crisis: 'You Better Get Yourself a Cave in the Adirondacks'

By Elizabeth Harrington | October 2, 2012 | 5:31 PM EDT

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and Erskine Bowles, co-chairmen of the president's fiscal commission, at the National Press Clun in Washington, D.C. (AP photo)

( – Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) said Tuesday the first presidential debate will “be the biggest tap dance since Fred Astaire,” and that neither political party in Washington is willing to tackle the country’s fiscal problems.

"You better get yourself a cave in the Adirondacks," he mirthfully said when asked what would happen if politicians did not deal with the debt.

Simpson, who along with Erksine Bowles co-chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appeared at George Washington University for an event on the upcoming election and the approaching fiscal cliff.

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After the event asked Simpson what he expects to see during the first debate on Wednesday evening.

“I think it’ll be the biggest tap dance since Fred Astaire,” he said. “There’ll be marvelous dancing and oh, it’ll be a joy.” then asked, “You mentioned that the debt, that would be one of the big things that you would like to see out of the debate, why do you think there hasn’t been much discussion about this $16 trillion debt in this election?”

“It’s because it’s too sensitive, and when you have people say these people are more interested in the debt than they are human beings, and on and on it goes,” Simpson said.  “Where you talk about the most vulnerable in society and the odd thing is those are the people who are going to be hurt the worst by not doing anything.”

When asked which candidate he believes would better approach the debt and deficit, Simpson said neither President Obama or his challenger Mitt Romney would fix the problems.

“If they were going to deal with it, they would’ve done it,” he said. “I mean there’s a campaign going on, and neither one of them are dealing with it in any positive way that gets anywhere. They both talk about it, and they both like Bowles-Simpson and you get into specifics, and they’re gone.

“So they’re not going to deal with it – it doesn’t matter which candidate or candidate for Senate or the House,” Simpson said. “They’re not going to deal with these issues because they will get eaten by rats, by the AARP [American Association of Retired Persons] and Grover Norquist and the realtors.

"everybody out there got hit. We hit everybody,” he said of his deficit plan. “And that’s the only way this can work, and when you have 105 groups out there to rip up anything you do, then they’re not going to do anything. They’re not going to touch it.” then asked, “What happens if nothing is done?”

“Well, you better get yourself a cave in the Adirondacks and learn how to eat watery gruel and herbs and berries,” he said. “No, I tell you what’ll happen. The markets will shoot the hole through us.”

“And at that point – and you don’t want it to happen, and I don’t – and they don’t care about Democrats or Republicans or presidents. They care about their money,” Simpson added. “And they’ll say if any country is stupid enough to borrow $16 trillion bucks in the hole, then we’re just stupid enough—smart enough, maybe—to loan you some more money.

“And when they do that, then our country will take a real hit, and inflation will go up and interest rates will go up, and you and your young people your age will be the ones most affected, while the seniors and the money guys, most of them, will take good care of themselves,” he said.

The Simpson-Bowles National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed by President Obama, proposed a six-part plan to “put our nation back on a path to fiscal health, promote economic growth, and protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Taken as a whole, the plan, which was released in December 2010, would have achieved nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction through 2020, more than any effort in the nation’s history.

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