Alan Simpson, the former Republican senator from Wyoming who co-chaired President Barack Obama's debt commission in 2010, took a swipe at one of his most fervent critics on Tuesday, saying that economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's work often "borders on hysteria."
During an interview with Bloomberg TV, Simpson was asked what he thought of Krugman's argument that more U.S. government spending would help lift the economy.
"Paul Krugman is a great economist, but he ain't the best in the world," Simpson said. "I love to read his stuff because it borders on hysteria. He talks about the lost souls of the past, and he is in there, too."
Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner, accused Simpson of "blood lust" in 2010 for his affinity for spending cuts.
Simpson also commented on debt commission reforms he proposed with co-chairman Erskine Bowles, a Democrat. The initial Simpson-Bowles plan, which proposed for bringing the top tax rate down by repealing a number of tax cuts and credits, was ignored by lawmakers. A bipartisan budget modeled after their report was also rejected by the House this year. Simpson said he remains optimistic about his recommendations.
"It's like a stink bomb in a garden party, it ain't going away," Simpson, who is known for his colorful turns of phrase, said. "Buckle up your guts."
Simpson also relayed some advice to lawmakers on how to sell his plan to the American public. According to Simpson, it is essential to push the idea of a "shared sacrifice" to get the country out of debt.
"Everybody will get hit," he said. "If you tell people that and be honest with them, and let them bitch and roar and snort, you can make it through there."
Look through more of Simpson's history of colorful statements below:
"I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too ... We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits!" -- Simpson on Social Security Source: The Huffington Post
"A lot of blood, hair and eyeballs have to lay on the floor before we finish." -- Simpson on fixing the budget deficit Source: CNBC
"This is a fakery. If they care at all about their children or grandchildren, and sometimes I doubt that -- I think, you know, grandchildren now don't write a thank-you for the Christmas presents, they're walking on their pants with the cap on backwards listening to the enema man and Snoopy Snoopy Poop Dogg, and they don't like them!" -- Simpson on young people and their grandparents Source: The Huffington Post
"We're trying to take care of the lesser people in society." -- Simpson on Social Security Source: Ustream
"We have the ability, and I hope the trust of each other, to adjust and put together a package. And if the American people and the Congress don't like it, then just let them sink." -- Simpson on the budget deficit Source: Fox News
"You'll be picking with the chickens yourself when you're 65." -- Simpson on Social Security Source: Ustream
"Over the last 40 years, I have had my size 15 feet in my mouth a time or two. To quote my old friend and colleague, Senator Lloyd Bentsen, when I make a mistake, 'It's a doozy!'" -- Simpson on Social Security Source: The Huffington Post
"We're going to get rid of all earmarks, all waste, fraud and abuse, all foreign aid, Air Force One, all congressional pensions. That's just sparrow belch in the midst of the typhoon. That's about 6, 8, 10 percent of where we are. So, I'm waiting for the politician to get up and say, there's only one way to do this: you dig into the big four, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and defense. And anybody giving you anything different than that, you want to walk out the door, stick your finger down your throat, and give them the green weenie." -- Simpson on Social Security Source: The Huffington Post