"Face the Nation" transcripts December 9, 2012: Simpson, Bowles, Booker

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask Senator Simpson. The New York Times crunched the numbers of the tax increases for the wealthy and determined even if the rates go back up to the Clinton-era rates it would only give us about a quarter of the needed revenue. So what other things can be done? What other taxes have to be raised or where do you get the money to get us to where we need to be?

SIMPSON: Well, you go into the tax code, as I say, but it's going to take too much time to do that. But there is no possibility to do this, not a single economist who talked to us in our hearings, said we can't grow our way out of this thing if we had double-digit growth for 20 years. You can't cut spending your way out of this baby or you're going to are ruin a very fragile economy and an emerging and helpful nation. And you can't tax your way out of this baby. This is impossible. And when these people zero in -- as Erskine said they zero in on taxes, taxes, taxes, we said you've got revenue one to four, three times spending cuts versus one of revenue, but you go into the code and like this one, you go to home mortgage interest deduction and the housing industry guys, all the lobbyists go nuts.

Well, we said, look, we're not going to take it away from you but it doesn't need to be a million bucks on a second home. We said take it to 500,000, give everybody a 12.5 percent nonrefundable tax credit which helps the little guy. And they go, "oh, yeah, well, I guess that might work." Everybody is in the game. We'll be savaged this next month. This will be savery, full-page ads, ladies, old, children, , veterans, Simpson-Bowles are doing their tricks out there. You know, hang on tight. It's going to be a real, real struggle.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you, you caught a lot of people's attention, including ourselves last week, when you did this video on internet to try to get young people...

(LAUGHTER)

SIMPSON: Erskine, will you quit laughing. I can hear Erskine laughing.

SCHIEFFER: Erskine told me to be sure and run a little of this. We're going to do that right here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIMPSON: Stop Instagramming your breakfast and tweeting your first world problem and getting on YouTube so you can see Gangnam Style and start using those precious social media skills to sign people up on this baby.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIEFFER: All right, so what is...

(LAUGHTER)

SIMPSON: It is great, isn't it?

SCHIEFFER: What were you telling young people they need to be doing, senator?

SIMPSON: Oh, oh, I'll tell you, I -- I don't want to drag Erskine down into the depths, into the pits of despair,

BOWLES: I'm with you, Pal.

SIMPSON: But let me tell you, the AARP and the senior groups in this country will have stripped the Treasury dry in 30 years. And if these young people can't figure it out. And it's not because they want to, it's just the demographics, 10,000 a day turning 65, no affluence testing, no nothing. A guy gets a heart operation for 200,000 bucks. He could buy your building and he doesn't even get a bill. Who is kidding who? So I said to those young kids get off your can, and they invented the phrase -- they're tired of seeing the can kicked down the road because when they kick the can down the road they're the ones who are going to get it kicked right in the fanny. So, Erskine and I tried to help them. And if this has helped them to energize themselves and get volunteers and take on the sob sisters that say that we're trying to is destroy all the old people in America, get serious. And if humor will do that, I think that's great. Nobody has any humor in Washington. There ain't none left.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Bowles, what are you saying to your party about the need for entitlement reform? Because that's where the resistance is coming from, it's coming from the Democrats, not from the Republicans.

BOWLES: Absolutely, Bob. And first of all I love Alan, god he's an American treasure. But, look, even if you raise the top rates back to the Clinton rates, that only creates about $400 billion over 10 years, that's $40 billion a year. We have a trillion dollar a year deficit. That alone won't solve the problem. We have to cut spending. Health care in this country, we spend twice as much on health care as any other developed nation, and that's whether it's percent of GDP or it's on a per-capita basis. We have to slow the growth of health care to the rate of growth of the economy. The president has put $350 billion worth of cuts on the table. That's not enough. We're going to have to do more. We may not like it, you know, we may wish we didn't. We simply made promises we can't keep. We've got to face up to it and we've got to have a bold decision in order to make sure we put our fiscal house in order.

SCHIEFFER: Do you both -- and this is the last question -- do you honestly believe we're going to get some -- resolve this in some way by the end of the year, or will it go into next year? Senator Simpson?