Archive for Monday, July 18, 2011

Voters letting lawmakers know debt concerns

July 18, 2011

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— For Rep. Tim Scott the debt ceiling is not only the top issue voters in his South Carolina district want to talk about these days, it seems to be the only issue.

The office of the freshman Republican has been logging dozens of calls and emails every day about the debt ceiling, and it’s the No. 1 topic of discussion at town hall-style meetings with voters.

“Tons of phone calls, lots of emails, and the closer we get to Aug. 2, the more we’re hearing,” Scott said.

With the deadline looming to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, voters are tuning in, worried by the prospect of a financial meltdown if the nation defaults and concerned that elected officials in Washington are playing politics with an issue that could have far-reaching consequences.

If the United States falls into default, the result could be higher interest rates on mortgages, car loans and credit cards as well as a stop to Social Security checks for the elderly.

In its simplest form, the debt ceiling fight crystallizes party orthodoxy: Republicans staking out a hard line against raising taxes and Democrats standing firm against deep cuts to government services.

President Barack Obama supports a blend of spending cuts and tax increases, a position that has backing of 69 percent of Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll. And among those who aren’t wed to an entrenched party view, pragmatism seems to be gaining traction over ideology.

A poll from the Pew Research Center found that among independent voters — coveted by both political parties — concern has shifted from fear that raising the debt ceiling would increase government spending to worry about the impact of the failure to raise the debt ceiling.

Two months ago Pew found that independents, by 49 percent to 34 percent margin, were more concerned that raising the debt ceiling would lead to higher government spending, as opposed to chiefly fearing the harmful effects of keeping the ceiling unchanged. This month, independents split evenly on the question.

“It’s going to be calamitous if we don’t raise our debt ceiling,” worried Ralph Leezenbaum of Mount Kisco, N.Y., who said he thought it would be raised in the end.

Among some voters, there is suspicion that the talks in Washington are infused with the politics of the 2012 election.

“I’m probably most frustrated for all the talk of bipartisanship,” said 60-year-old Mary Larson of Palatine, Ill. “It’s not happening. I don’t see compromise right now.”

A San Francisco resident, Brian Fuller, said he believes that the debt ceiling should be raised given the country’s fragile economic health, but he also worries about the growth of government.

“We need to use this time to evolve government so that it’s not quite so huge,” said Fuller, 50. “How we do that and not hurt the truly unfortunate is a very difficult question.”

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 8 months ago

Not even disaster capitalists want the disaster that not approving the raising of the debt ceiling would bring.

weeslicket 3 years, 8 months ago

"... pragmatism seems to be gaining traction over ideology."

finally !

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

The “Peoples Budget” does everything this country needs:

* Creates good-paying jobs
* Fully maintains our social safety net
* Invests in education
* Ends our costly wars
* Closes the tax loopholes that have made offshoring jobs profitable
* Ends oil and gas subsidies that pollute our country at taxpayer expense
* Creates a national infrastructure investment bank to help us make intelligent investments for the future

The “People's Budget” represents not just common sense; it represents the will of the American people.

What the “Peoples Budget” does very specifically:

http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/15/135435883/the-nation-obama-should-fight-for-peoples-budget

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/4/14/while_obama_touts_compromise_with_gop

http://www.thenation.com/blog/159939/fighting-peoples-budget

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

After spending so so many decades in Washington D.C on tax dollar payrolls republicans are sure they learned all they needed to know about OUR money and founding reckless economies. Republicans have much experience under their belts and they never quit sharing.

For openers...

  1. TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

  2. The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion) http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  3. Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  4. Bush and Henry Paulson blew the $700 billion of bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

And that tax cuts do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs.

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

In the end big debt and super duper bailouts were the results which does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

  • Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy.

  • Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

• Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

Richard Heckler 3 years, 8 months ago

With corporations routinely defaulting on their pension promises, more and more workers must rely on their individual wealth to make up the difference. The stock market collapse at the turn of the millennium wiped out much of the financial wealth of middle class Americans, and the collapse of the housing bubble has wiped out much of their remaining wealth.

Making any cuts to Social Security now, either by raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, would have a huge impact on their remaining retirement income and are not necessary to “save the system.

yourworstnightmare 3 years, 8 months ago

"President Barack Obama supports a blend of spending cuts and tax increases, a position that has backing of 69 percent of Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll. And among those who aren’t wed to an entrenched party view, pragmatism seems to be gaining traction over ideology."

This is a big problem for the GOP, who have painted themselves into an ideological corner with Norquist's "no taxes" pledge. Given their prodigious political skills, I am sure they will squiggle (squirm and wiggle) out of it somehow.

McConnell's idea to pass a bill that authorizes Obama to raise the debt ceiling, requiring a two-thirds majority to override it, is brilliant. Republicans can at the same time cede authority to Obama to raise the debt ceiling while simultaneously voting against it.

The GOP can get what they want (a debt ceiling increase) while at the same time saying that they voted against it. Brilliant politicking at its best.

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