He served three terms as the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania and once chaired the Democratic National Committee, but Ed Rendell says he has no problem working with Republicans.
He co-chairs The Campaign to Fix the Debt with Former Republican Senator Judd Gregg from New Hampshire and criticizes Democrats and Republicans alike for their failure to deal with the $16 trillion U.S. debt.
Just days before the start of the Republican National convention in Tampa, Florida, Rendell told The Daily Ticker, that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney's pick for VP, is a " "wuss and a fraud."
Rendell says Ryan is not really a fiscal conservative because his proposed budget doesn't cut defense spending and it includes more tax cuts.
"It's the additional tax cuts that creates the $5 trillion deficit from the Ryan budget…and it's the reason why even in the most optimistic terms the Ryan budget doesn't produce a balanced budget until 2040," says Rendell, who is also the author the new book "A Nation of Wusses: How America's s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make US Great?"
He also criticizes his fellow Democrats.
"When it comes to Simpson-Bowles, Democrats are wusses too," says Rendell, referring to the budget commission that recommended a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to slash the deficit by $5.4 trillion over a decade.
"We don't have the guts to tell seniors the truth," Rendell says. "When medicare was passed in 1965, the average life expectancy was 69. Today the average life expectancy is 85. Medicare was never meant to cover nearly 20 years of life. It's got to be changed...there has to be a reshaping of entitlements."
Rendell is somewhat hopeful that change will come.
"All the forces are in place to fix the debt," he told The Daily Ticker. Rendell says after the election politicians will feel the pressure to avoid the massive spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to take place by law if Congress doesn't act to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. He recounts some hopeful signs from recent history, including:
- Conservative members of the Senate like Saxby Chambliss and Tom Coburn signed on to raise revenues after Simpson-Bowles, says Rendell.
- Coburn challenged Grover Norquist's no-tax pledge
- 150 Congressional members wrote the Supercommittee (dealing with deficit plan) to "go big" on cutting deficit beyond the $1.l9 trillion the committee was working on
But Congress alone can't make the deal, says Rendell, adding "presidential leadership" is needed to to make the tough fiscal decisions.