REGAN, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Here joining me to discuss whether a Romney/Ryan ticket will end the gridlock in Washington and change the fiscal future of this country is Republican Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee. Senator Corker, welcome to "Street Smart."
SENATOR BOB CORKER, (R-TN): Thank you, good to be here.
REGAN: All right. You are about to introduce some legislation after the election, some fiscal reform legislation. Can we get a sneak peak of what you're looking at there?
CORKER: Well no. But generally speaking -
CORKER: - what we've been debating in Washington is platitudes. There's really not been any real legislation ever offered. There's been a lot of discussion about Bowles-Simpson, all kinds of things, but it's been about platitudes. And so about eight months ago we sat down and began writing a real bill that does the Medicare reform, Medicaid reform, Social Security reform, highway trust reform, -
REGAN: Those are some tough things.
CORKER: - those things that are necessary to really put our country on a proper path.
REGAN: Let's talk Medicare. It's insolvent by 2024, 12 years away. What happens if we do not fix it before then?
CORKER: Well I think we've seen things like this play out in Southern Europe. Obviously I think our country would figure out some way of bridging the gap, but there would be huge distress in our country because money would have to be coming out of other things that are important to deal with Medicare.
And so we can either begin to deal with that issue right now or wait until there's a calamity. And thankfully Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to take it head on. I think the appointment of Ryan as the vice president was the strongest signal yet that we have someone that really is going to rise to the occasion and deal with this issue.
REGAN: And wants to take on entitlement reform. George W. Bush tried it with Social Security. We know how that turned out for him. How do you tackle a program like Medicare, something that is so popular and that so many seniors use when you need that demographic to vote for it?
CORKER: Yes. Well so I don't of anybody in Washington on either side of the aisle that wants to jerk the rug out from under anybody who's on Medicare. So you have to start turning the shift gradually. And obviously someone like you knows if you begin making small changes now actuarially over time these are trillions of dollars.
And so what we have to do is just begin that glide path back to sanity. And you can do so easily. The Ryan plan doesn't touch seniors who are under 55 years old. And so I think seniors should know that again I've not heard of anybody on either side of the aisle that wants to cause distress for those who are now retired, but I think all of us know no one's going to benefit from Medicare unless we begin to make changes.
REGAN: Well making changes means getting both sides on board. And we're looking at a very divided Washington right now. Can Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan help to bridge that gap? President Obama was supposed to do that.
REGAN: And hope was very high -
REGAN: - initially that he would. How might they be able to do that when he couldn't?
CORKER: So business people wake up every day and what do they do? They solve problems. And they're not used to the kind of process that we've had in Washington where people try to put them off. I think Mitt Romney is going to wake up every day trying to solve our nation's biggest problems. And that's what it takes as leadership.
There's no relationship, almost none on either side of the aisle between the Administration and Congress. When you want to solve a problem with someone you have to actually sit down and talk with them about it. And you have to lay a path forward. I really do believe that this is the best team in modern history to deal with the fiscal issues that our nation is dealing with. And we're just one fiscal reform deal away from being able to focus on being a great nation again and put this in the rearview mirror.
So it's the most important thing that our nation has to contend with. This president is not dealing with it. I think by nominating Paul Ryan it's a strong signal that this is going to be the issue you're going to deal with. Otherwise why would you take the water on during your campaign to have to talk about all these things that are so technical and yet so important to our nation, so absolutely and outstanding team to deal with this.
REGAN: All right. Senator Bob Corker we're going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much for joining us.
CORKER: Thank you.