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If only sitting senators talked like formers

It seems like former U.S. senators can tell it like it is, as opposed to sitting senators, who are pretty much limited to saying that the other side is “playing politics.”  But Newsweek and TIME have rolled out a couple of dueling senators telling truths we don’t want to hear.  First there’s John Sununu, former senator from New Hampshire.

Sununu notes that

47% of all Americans are receiving at least one federal benefit. Tax preferences, like the deductions for mortgage interest, retirement savings and health care, bring the number closer to 75%. The dirty little secret about America is that being on the dole is no longer the exception but the rule.

He adds

as a society, we should also be willing to ask, How much government dependence is too much? How much can we afford? If nothing else, the debt-ceiling debate has begun to bring these questions into focus.

Right . . . though it would be a lot better if the sitting solons in the Senate could ask these sensible questions — without default hanging over their heads.

The other senator — Alan Simpson — has just about cornered the market on plain speaking and good ol’ salty language as well (in other words, he’s interesting because he talks like a regular person, instead of in Washingtonese).  Simpson says to Newsweek reporter Belinda Luscombe exactly what doesn’t add up in today’s Washington.  Here’s Simpson on health care:

It doesn’t matter if you call it “Obamacare” or “Elvis Presley care” or “I-don’t-care care.” It cannot sustain itself in its present form. You’ve got to do things that are very irritating. You’ve got to reduce providers’ and physicians’ compensation, start charging co-pays and affluence-testing beneficiaries. You’ve got to make hospitals keep one set of books, not three. Impossible.

And here he is on Social Security:

Nobody’s trying to balance the budget on the backs of poor old seniors. We’re trying to make the damn system solvent! Unless you do something, in the year 2036 you’re going to waddle up to the window and get a check for 23% less, and if that’s smart, the drinks are on me.

Like him or not, agree with him or not, he was on a commission which tried, back in December 2010, to answer the questions Congress is now trying to answer a few days before our country defaults on the national debt.  We need more of this kind of plain talk in Washington — from politicians who aren’t retired.

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