Transcript: Alan Simpson on eliminating tax expenditures

Transcript of excerpts from the Politico Playbook Breakfast with Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, on sequestration and deficit reduction. The event was held on Feb. 19, 2013 and moderated by Mike Allen, Politico’s White House correspondent.

Alan Simpson:
You don’t have to do a tax increase to gain the ire of Grover and his white robes battalions. You don’t have to do that. You go into the tax code and you say, “Guess what? You want a stimulus? What the hell do you think a deficit of $1 trillion plus is?” If that isn’t a stimulus, I’ve missed the boat. That’s what a stimulus is and we’ve done over $1 trillion over the last 4 years. So we say, go into that tax code and start ripping around in it. Really fun to do that. That’ll irritate everyone in the U.S. There are 180 of those babies in there, and they take care of everybody. And remember this…

Mike Allen:
Wait, what are the babies? The 180 what?

Alan Simpson:
180 tax expenditures in the tax code. They’re nothing but spending by any other name. They’re loopholes. They’re deductions. They’re all the works. And guess what? Only 20% of the American people use 80% of them. Run that through your gord [sp] again. Only 20% of the American people use 80%. Only 27% of the American people itemize on their tax return, which means that three-quarters of the Americans have never heard of those. So who is using them? Me, you, the media, anybody who’s got a little buck is using those babies and they suck $1 trillion plus out of the Treasury just like that every year.

Mike Allen:
Sen. Simpson, given what you’ve said about the constituency for those, do you believe that tax reform this year is possible?

Alan Simpson:
Yeah. I think that Max Baucus and Dave Camp were working as Erskine says in the yeoman ways to try to do something and they know what to do. But the heat is on. I mean, you know, tax reform – you’re going to mess around with home mortgage interest deductions or earned income tax credits, Blue Cross, Blue Shield, oil and gas. I mean, play the game. 180 of those babies out there and they are solidly in the grasp of somebody who’s going to go to their congressperson this trip around who they’ve maxed out on every primary and they maxed out on every general and they’re going to come to them this year and say, “We have never asked you for a thing but pal we are here to ask you don’t let this happen. It took us years to get that into the tax code and if you let that out with all we’ve done for you, boy that’s where the hammer’s coming this year.”


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One Comment on “Transcript: Alan Simpson on eliminating tax expenditures

  1. Pingback: Simpson-Bowles call for an additional $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction | What The Folly?!

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