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: