Alan Simpson on fiscal cliff: ‘Go big or go home’

Updated
This April 14, 2011 file photo shows Alan Simpson, then- co-chairmen of the president's deficit reduction commission, talking to reporters outside the White...
This April 14, 2011 file photo shows Alan Simpson, then- co-chairmen of the president's deficit reduction commission, talking to reporters outside the White...
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Piecemeal measures won’t save us from the fiscal cliff, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), told Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Tuesday. His advice for his former colleagues: “Go big or go home.”

“On Dec. 31st there’s a mess floating around right now, about $7.2 trillion bucks worth of stuff…[we’ve] got to do something,” Simpson said.

The fiscal cliff, of course, refers to a package of tax increase and spending cuts that will go into effect in January unless Congress passes a deal. The Dems say they won’t accept a solution unless it includes tax rate increases for America’s wealthiest.

Simpson was the co-author of a proposal in 2010 that called for higher taxes, lower spending and the reform of Medicare and Social Security. He’s repeatedly said that both parties have to make sacrifices.

Simpson said some lawmakers “love their party more than they love their country,” and that they would wait until the last minute to strike a deal. “They’re going to react right down to the last point when there’s going to be blood and hair and eyeballs all over the floor and they’re going to come up with something, but let me tell you, if it’s just kicking the can down the road, the can is now a 55 gallon drum filled with explosives. You can’t play that game anymore,” said Simpson.

If there’s no real deal, he said, “the markets are going to chop us up and it will be an unknown day.”

The former lawmaker also took a hit at conservative activist Grover Norquist’s crusade to get members of Congress to vow never to raise taxes.

“So how do you deal with guys who came to stop government, or Grover wandering the Earth in his white robe saying you want to drown government in the bathtub. I hope he slips in there with it,” Simpson said.

Alan Simpson on fiscal cliff: 'Go big or go home'

Updated