TODAY   |  December 06, 2012

Ex-senator goes ‘gangnam’ for fiscal cliff action

Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson discusses the new movement of Republicans abandoning staunch opposition to higher taxes and explains the YouTube video of him dancing to pop song "Gangnam Style" to show his commitment to avoiding the fiscal cliff.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> new movement this morning to try and avoid the fiscal cliff . some republicans are considering abandoning their staunch opposition to higher tax rates according to recent reports. alan simpson was co-chair on the commission of fiscal responsibility . he's a co-founder of fix the debt campaign and joins us now. senator simpson, good morning, it's great to see you.

>> great pleasure to be off the witness protection program and come here. but what even more fun, david brubeck used to come to wyoming a great deal. he and his family, lovely people. i did not know he had passed. and to hear that music, it's iconic stuff. anyway. so it's good to sneak in and get made up, try to hide my identity.

>> well, it's good to have you here. you say you're in the witness protection program because you've been out there on the issue of how we fix our national deficit. as you well know, we face the fiscal cliff , a series of tax hikes and spending cuts that many people think if they go into effect will put the country into recession. yet we heard the treasury secretary tim geithner say the president is willing to see the country go off the fiscal cliff if republicans do not accede to his demands.

>> it's probably pretty real. but you can't get to where we need to go by cutting spending, that won't cut it. you're going to destroy a fragile economy. you can't get there by taxing your way into it and you can't grow your way out of this. you have to have a blend. when you have leaders of parties and people from the administration saying i think it will be to the advantage of the democrats to go off the cliff or i think it will be advantage to the republicans to go off the cliff or the president to go off the cliff , that's like betting your country. there's stupidity involved in that. this is big-time stuff.

>> let me ask you about a report that some republicans now are perhaps willing to see the tax rates rise to some degree on top earners in exchange for later getting a better deal on some of these spending cuts. but tieing it to that vote to raise the debt ceiling basically saying that debt ceiling vote is our point of leverage. do you agree with that approach?

>> when they get to that, they'll do the same blood letting they did in august. that's the way that will be. but you can't get there -- the threats going back and forth, you know, we're going to do this, we're going to go off the cliff . let me tell you, there's a group out there that doesn't care about democrats or republicans or presidents, and there's people we owe $16 trillion to. and they see us as a dysfunctional government. we are a deficit -- we're in deficit of $1.1 trillion, if that isn't a stimulus, the drinks are on me. that's what that is. and unless you get in there, people are going to say, i've got an idea for you, you're addicted to debt, we're going to loan you more, and when we do that, interest rates will kick up and inflation will kick in and guess who gets hurt the worst? the middle guy, the middle class .

>> it's not thee yatrics on the part of congress, but they're confused. isn't that pathetic?

>> i don't know, a lot of people are confused, especially the people who don't understand what's coming before december 31st . what's different is they dug their own snare. they put the chain on their own ankles, they have to do something before december 31st , before you get a mindless cut of $600 billion in defense. you've got the payroll tax you've got to bring back from 4.2 to 6.2. where the hell was the aarp when they cut the payroll tax ? madness is half a word. these guys if you gave them 90% of them a profit loss statement in one hand and a balance statement in the other, they wouldn't know how to read it. same here.

>> if anyone were to doubt your commitment to this issue, i have to show a clip we saw on the internet recently. this is --

>> i don't want to see it.

>> yeah, this is you doing gangnam style.

>> stop instagramming your breakfast and tweeting your problems and getting on youtube so you can see gangnam style.

>> well --

>> care to explain? you're trying to reach young people , i guess this is as good way as any.

>> i thought the guy said pretend you're riding a horse and -- let me tell you. you have to reach young people and you have to reach the people with the www.fixthedebt.org. the can kicks back. these are young people . let me tell you, the young people aren't organized. the senior citizens are so well organized, they've got the aarp, the committee for the preservation, the silver head legislators, the pink panthers , they are organized and they don't give a whip. this younger generation better learn to take part or get taken apart.

>> perhaps gangnam style is the way to get through them --

>> well, i'm not going to dance that thing again.

>> well, we do have the music cued up.

>> what?

>> i'm just saying.

>> i'll do it with you.

>> i don't need that much provocation. senator alan simpson . just a little laugh, though?