Monday, August 1, 2011

This Week in Washington

by: Big Steve "The Eighth Wonder"

The debt ceiling has been a looming issue since January when the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives. The Washington alarmist have warned the White House and the American people that if the debt ceiling is not raised it could lead to the United States defaulting on its debts, higher interest rates, and even economic apocalypse. Optimists believe that as the deadline neared both sides will come to a compromise and eventually approve a debt ceiling increase. The default scenario is a little over a week away and yet no agreement is on the table.

The Republicans are still digging in, demanding a package that includes spending cuts, but no revenue increase. This means that programs like Social Security and Medicare could possibly suffer decreases while the rich and wealthy still benefit from the Bush tax cuts. Democrats believe a more balanced approach must include revenue increases and the Democrats are opposed to necessitating another debt ceiling vote before the 2012 Presidential Election.

It will come down to the wire; and when the stopgap compromise is reached, many in Washington will declare victory and, in the process, claim credit for averting a national disaster. Yet the resolution will likely be temporary, and the damage will be real and long-lasting -- both of which render an already worrisome situation even more difficult going forward.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is constructing one plan that includes revenue increases and in the House Speaker John Boehner is preparing another plan which does not include tax increases. The problem is neither plan can actually become law without the cooperation of the other side.
Virtually most, if not all Americans worry about these problems and too many feel them acutely on a daily basis. Astonishingly, however, our elected representatives and their appointees are just bickering and, distressingly, failing miserably to communicate a vision that provides for even the smallest amount of medium-term

optimism. The endless political squabbles compel all to question whether politicians are aware of Main Street's realities, let alone up to the task of making things better. It is highly likely that the solution will be a band aid that has to be replaced in the coming months. In the meantime, America's structural injuries will deepen and, to an extent that was unthinkable, America's economic future will become even cloudier. One has to question whether the Republicans concerned about the welfare of the American people and the global reputation of America. Or is keeping a promise to make President Obama a one term President their main objective?

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