Washington hasn't been able to resolve the "Fiscal Cliff" because politicians "worship that great god of reelection and haven't been focused on what's really right for the country," Erskine Bowles, one of the architects of the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Thursday.
"The problems are real," said Bowles, the North Carolina businessman and co-chairman of President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. "The solutions are all painful. There's no easy way out."
(Read More: US Nears Fiscal Disaster: 'Washington Doing Nothing' )
Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, Bowles co-chairman on the commission said he isn't hopeful that a deficit-reduction deal will be reached to avoid the "fiscal cliff," the nearly $600 billion in automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that will be triggered at the end of the year.
"When you see the same statements that came up before the campaign come up after the campaign, you can't be hopeful," he said.
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