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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Debt Ceiling Crisis: A Pox on Both Their Houses

Jonathan Miller's Debt Ceiling for Dummies explains why it's imperative to resolve the debt ceiling crisis on or before August 2, the date we go into default. Failure means a shutdown in many government services, including Social Security and Medicare checks. It will degrade our credit rating internationally. It will even mean higher interest rates on individual credit cards and mortgages. Given these dire consequences, it's a stupid time for either Republicans or Democrats to engage in a game of brinkmanship. But we're Americans, and have proved time and again that we're pretty dumb.

Right now, there are two competing proposals, although details might change by the time you read this. House Speaker Boehner, on behalf of Republicans, would raise the debt limit about $1 trillion, and then would spend seven months on Tax Code reforms, as well as cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. After that, he would raise the debt limit again. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on behalf of Democrats, would raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion now, accompanied by cuts in that amount over the next ten years.

Both plans avoid a tax hike. Neither plan will succeed. President Obama has already vowed to veto Boehner's plan, while Democrats lack the muscle to push theirs through Congress.

Who's to blame? A pox on both their houses, I say.

This gridlock is precisely why we need more centrists like the Gang of Six, or Charlie Dent or Bob Casey. They are loyal to their parties, but eschew the extremes. Last night, Dent expressed concern about an "adverse reaction" in financial markets, and stated lawmakers must come to an agreement.

We need more bipartisanship and less flame-throwing.


Lighthouse said...

"We need more bipartisanship and less flame-throwing."

and the choir sang, "Amen!"

Speaking of Rep. Dent, words from someone not exactly a pillar of bi-partisanship, but relevant to today, back in 2004:
"Charlie is not just a candidate for Republicans in this district. In his time in Harrisburg, he's proven that he can work across the aisle, and he's earned bipartisan support in this race, as well. He's just the kind of decent, principled, optimistic leader the people of this district deserve" ... stick to your natural inclination Charlie, and earn that same reputation in DC.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Despite the propaganda from partisan blogs, the National Journal lists Charlie Dent as the 13th most centrist member of Congress. He votes with the left 39.7% of the time, and with the right 60.3% of the time. Except for his first year in Congress, he has been one of the few people left who is willing to reach across the aisle.


Anonymous said...

So far he has towed the extremist line in voting to end medicare for health coupons. He will have his chance in the near future to see if he stands for reasoned and consistent government or tea party ideology.

At best 15% of his constituency are tea party extremists. Let's see how he does.

Jon Geeting said...

How are you not seeing that the Republicans are constantly moving the goalposts further and further to the right? Are you even paying attention the debt ceiling fight?

Jon Geeting said...

Also, what's the virtue of "centrism" supposed to be? When the Republican Party moves even further to the nutty right, do you think "centrists" should keep moving to the right to stay in the center of the two parties? I think that's an insane way of picking candidates to support. It means you don't have any actual positions on the issues.

Anonymous said...

Bipartisanship is the government class agreeing to screw taxpayers. Bipartisanship is how we got into this mess. It's time for somebody to stand up for what they believe in and not cut a bipartisan deal that screws taxpayers and continues to worsen the situation. Bernie wants bipartisanship. He also loved Specter and John Edwards, two of the worst examples of government and public service ever to stain our generation.

Lighthouse said...

"I'd rather get 80% of what I want than to go over the cliff with my flag flying." Ronald Reagan

Being guided by principles and/or ideology is inherently human. And since the days of the Federalists and Anti-Ferderalists, our political system has been a competition between various forces. Ideologues are where the seeds of many actionable decisions originated (sometimes decades later). However, to be blinded by ideology--whether from the left like Geeting, or from the right like the Tea Party purists--is to govern like a tyrant; my way or the highway.

As to Geeting's points of the shifting center, welcome to the world of American political history. The center has constantly shifted back and forth.

Donna Baver Rovito said...

The political concept of consistent shifting EVER SO SLIGHTLY toward the left or right, to in effect, reshape what is and is not acceptable to the general public, is called the Overton Window, and it's been employed extremely successfully by the extreme left for decades.

Would gay marriage have even been open for discussion 20 years ago? Or medical marijuana? Or government funding of virutally everything? Yet now, due to consistent incremental social and legislative movement toward the left, they're political and social realities.

The right is merely trying to move the window back toward the center at the current time.

Hey, Bernie, how come you link to Geeting's blog but he doesn't link to yours? Does that make you more tolerant and less partisan than he is?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I will pretty much link to any local blog, including Geeting's. I remove links to blogs only when they start getting really personal in their attacks. I disagree with much of what Geeting writes, and even when I do agree, find myself turned off by his condescending and shrill attitude. But he adds diversity to the blogosphere and has no shortage of opinions.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jon, You might have a rough time understanding centrism bc you are out of touch with the LV. But Charlie Dent is not. His views are in accord with those of most LV residents. He speaks and LISTENS to them all the time. The center does shift to the left and right, but it is always a mainstream view that eschews the extremism that you represent. Its virtue, in a democracy, is that it is more representative of the people than the bullshit burgers you regularly sling.

Anonymous said...

Jon, why didn't Democrats manage to pass a budget in the last two years? They had control of the entire process and lacked the guts to do so. Obama has yet to offer a single budget or outline. He can't complain about goalposts when he refuses to walk onto the field. He knows proposing any real cut will be politically disastrous to him with his base, which is all he has left and many are losing patience with him.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, Obama did submit a budget in February ... for next year.


Anonymous said...

Bernie, is Dent willing to vote on a compromise that would raise revenues. This conversation about debt and deficits has focused a lot on cutting spending. All well and good, but a true compromsie will include increased revenues too. To me, Dent has to show he's willing to get 80% of the what he wants in cuts but give up on something he doesn't want in increased revenues. So far, I haven't seen that from him.

Chris Miller said...

Jon Geeting
Read Anonymous 8:28 post. He is an educated, intelligent individual who realizes that both parties are to blame for this. I would add that we must include the individual we view every time we look in the mirror.

Chris Miller said...

Anonymous 11:14AM
Why does it need to show and increase in revenue? Reagan put it best when he noted that we need to get the money out of the hands of the Congress. Do you really believe that we need to give Congress more more money and if so what will they do with it? We need to eliminate entitlement programs and return to personal responsibility. Did you hear that Obama wants to tax charitable giving. Why do you suppose he would want to do that?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie, is Dent willing to vote on a compromise that would raise revenues"

None of the plans proposed suggest that, so I doubt Dent would do so.

Alan Earnshaw said...

Chris Miller,

If I understand your post, you are proposing the complete elimination of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and all other welfare programs. Is that correct?

I agree that reform is needed for all of these programs, and they probably all need to be reduced, perhaps even phased out over several decades. But cold turkey elimination? That would cause a massive amount of chaos in our society.

Anonymous said...


Let's not forget Reagan raised taxes 11 times during his presidency. He understood that there is a revenue side to the equation as well that needs to be addressed. And while we're talking about the "icon" of conservatives, Reagan also didn't want to hear about the possibility of not raising the debt ceiling. This is a situation that I feel Obama should have stifled from the beginning by using the bully pulpit. Holding the good faith and credit of the U.S. hostage for political posturing is no way to run a country. Always appreciate your accurate nod to the founders Lighthouse :)

Anonymous said...

Chris has selective memory. Much like the Donna.

Chris Miller said...

Let me say that I believe it should be sooner rather then later. The entitlement funds, and particularly Social Security, has been nothing but a slush fund as it was intended to be in my very humble opinion. We certainly all now know that it is a Ponzi scheme much like Madoff's plan. And where exactly is Bernie M. in prison. We are not producing enough children or workers to maintain this fund. Why would you keep it? As to Medicare and Medicaid, the government uses these two programs to beat us and doctors into submission. Is that they way you show your love. I know you don't Alan. You would never threaten members of your family with reducing their food or water intake. This guy in the White House would have no trouble using a whip on us. Oh! let's not forget George W Bush's Plan D drug plan. In all fairness, I will agree that we can't eliminate it over night bue we need to phase out all of the entitlement programs, the one exception being wounded vets and their families. At the same time we get rid of the current tax program and establish either a fair or consumers tax.

Chris Miller said...

Anonymous 2:05PM
Reagan did raise taxes but keep in mind that Paul Volker came in and reduced the money supply. This stopped inflation in its tracks and spurred the economy. Take a look at The Inflation Deception by Craig Smith and Lowell Ponte. Inflation is just another hidden tax. Note that this administrtion has been pumping money to itself with Q1 and Q2. Note also that they tell us that there is no inflation. On that I would say ask the person who buys your groceries about inflation. Obama has been compared to Carter and please keep in mind the Carter economy.
Enjoyed the bipartisanship-flame throwing thought. Will we live to see it.

Chris Miller said...

Anonymous 3:08 PM
You are just the cutest misinformed person I have ever met.

Anonymous said...

Chris, many have tried to respond directly to your posts with great discussion points but O'Hare deletes them as attacks. So there is little to be said about your fractures US history rants.