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BLITZER’S BLOG: It’s STILL the economy, stupid
In this December 22, 1995, image, House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton meet at the White House to reach a compromise that will reopen the U.S. Government.
July 27th, 2011
01:43 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: It’s STILL the economy, stupid

Washington (CNN) - At this point during President Bill Clinton’s first term at the White House, he, too, was facing an enormous challenge from emboldened House Republicans, including the then new Speaker, Newt Gingrich. The Republicans had taken the House majority in 1994 with their Contract with America. There was a huge battle over spending, and the government was shut down for a few days. The American public largely blamed Gingrich and the Republicans. Clinton, the following year, was re-elected.

President Obama is now facing a huge challenge from emboldened House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner. The stakes this time are much higher if the government actually were to default on its financial obligations.

Some Democrats look back on the 1995 government shutdown and insist any such similar shutdown now would be good politically for Obama’s re-election prospects. The public, they say, again would blame the Republicans. They do have some recent polling numbers to back them up.

But what they ignore is something much more significant.

I was then CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent and covered this story every step of the way.

The U.S. economy in 1995 and 1996 was strong and growing. Millions of jobs were being created. Unemployment was relatively low. Bill Clinton benefited enormously from the good economic news.

The current U.S. economy, on the other hand, is fragile. The recovery has been slow. Unemployment remains above 9 percent. The prospect of dramatic improvement between now and November of next year, according to most analysts, is not very great.

Bottom line for those recalling then and now: President Obama almost certainly won’t have the solid economy that President Clinton had in helping him get re-elected. And as James Carville famously said in 1992 in promoting Clinton’s presidential campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

RELATED STORY: Debt ceiling: Good going, guys

Post by:
Filed under: 2012 election • Debt • Economy • President Obama • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Winai

    If you itemize (see if your ziemtied deductions on 1040, Schedule A exceed your standard deduction, which is $10,700 for married filing joint, $7850 for head of household, $5350 for single or married filing separate in '07), you may deduct EITHER state and local income taxes OR your state and local general sales taxes. You cannot deduct both. You make your election on line 5 of Schedule A by checking box a for income taxes or box b for general sales taxes. The option to claim sales taxes instead of income taxes will not be allowed following 2007 unless Congress extends the law permitting this option.

    April 5, 2012 at 3:27 am |
  2. United HealthCare Medicare Changes

    Yes, it's the economy and the solid government. One that Pres.Obama doesn't have at present. Unless Pres. Obama finds a good and acceptable solution to the current health care situation, I think his re-election would be bleak.

    September 18, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  3. dan NC

    wow! what i just heard spewing out of Speaker Boehners mouth 45 mins ago made me sick! He talks of compromise. thats funny to me, because it seems if you want to compromise you might need to sit at the table where the negotiations are taking place. Then not to mention his bill states that education would be cut before oil subsidies? when one of those oil companies made 1/7 of what this country has on hand at this very moment, in 3 months? why do they need more of our money? Speaker Boehner is a coward, and a "has been" who needs to grow up and stop whining and crying for political advantages.....

    July 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  4. bleu415

    Amen, but the voting public is like a flock of sheep following the Pied Piper, and the biggest liar. Carl Rove’s philosophy is tell a liar long enough and it becomes the truth

    July 28, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  5. James Reteg

    Everyone agree the economy is the basic problem. It took a long time for the economy to get into its current unacceptable state. How about 8 years of incompetence by the republicans and former President Bush. With such history, I am anxious about how the media does not hold the republicans feet to the fire when they say "President Obama wants to raise taxes on Americans like everyone will have taxes raised. Everyone knows President Obama wants to return taxes to what they previously were for those $250,000 and higher. Do you let them establish this platform BECAUSE ALL OF YOU ARE IN THE $250,000 and above? My neighbor brought this up to me and said the media anchors and commentators are among this... ELITE FINANCIAL GROUP. You will embrace the republicans establishing this platform. He and his friends are looking for a more trustworthy source for information. It is a real shame. Out of 60 managers in the meeting, I talked to 52 that agreed with this outlook. Real shame!

    July 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  6. Mark L.

    I used to be a registered conservative Republican. I switched party affiliation during the George W. Bush years when we witnessed the demise of our great nation's economy. What's more, I am a very well-to-do business man and can honestly state that I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM with tax revenues being increased on the wealthy. So I would have to pay a couple of extra bucks to Uncle Sam. SO WHAT ???? FOR THE GOOD OF MY COUNTRY, I AM WILLING TO MAKE THAT SACRIFICE !!

    With that being said, what the hell is the GOP and Tea Party movement's problem?? I am 100% convinced the Tea Party, which is made up of a bunch of extreme right-wing radicals, the likes of a Timothy McVeigh or Terry Nichols (Oklahoma City bombers), solely have their sights on trying to overthrow our current government and turning this great nation of ours into a complete FASCIST dictatorship !!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • bleu415

      I'm in full agreement here, that's the way I see it. The Tea party's manifestco is Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, the Virtue of Selfishness...

      July 29, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  7. James Bryant

    A day of reckoning on deficit spending has been needed since the days of the New Deal and the Great Society. Political posturing by either side during the debt ceiling debate is unhelpful, to be sure. But to press for sweeping spending cuts without closing tax loopholes is dishonest. Every citizen should pay something: that some lower income residents receive more in tax credits than they pay annually is as scandalous as the generous subsidies lavished on selected industries and agriculture. Not only should government be smaller, more prudent and efficient, but the tax system should cease to be a mechanism for manipulating society. The Balanced Budget Amendment idea is a hoax (it has done little to reform the states where it exists), but this opportunity for real fiscal reform should not be missed, if members of Congress have the requisite character. As Lincoln said, members of Congress and the Administration shall be remembered in spite of themselves. The Nation is waiting to see some true public service.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  8. susanne hudson

    Didn't Clinton leave with a surplus and Bush with a big deficit! And they blame Obama for the debt. Hasn't the debt ceiling been raised 75 times and 5 times by Bush? The Republicans are very vindictive and out to get Obama. What is reassuring to me as a Canadian hleplessly watching the Republicans/Tea Party destroy the government's ability to these last 37 blogs...25 are pro Obama and 8 are pro Republicans! 4 neutral. Way to go to these 25 intelligent informed Americans!!!


    July 28, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  9. Robin in N.C.

    If so many people are unhappy with the laws that( WE THE PEOPLE), elect, to capital hill are making, like the ones that take the American people's jobs and move them over to China and other places around the world. God forbid you think of, (WE THE PEOPLE), who need our job"s back. And I mean put them back in the same state that you took them from .Or (WE THE PEOPLE). WILL TAKE TO THE STREETS, LIKE OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD ARE DOING.And,(WE THE PEOPLE), will vote you out of office come 2012. Don"t play like you don"t know who, we are talking about! You KNOW who you are!!! Remember that there are options at the voting booths, other then Republican or Democrat!!! Now having said that,Jack times have changed so much sense The 1950"s, and There is not a party that represents the huge shift of the working middle class people that has fallen so closer to the poverty line, that the(AMERICAN DREAM), is just that, a dream. We are not in the top 2%, or in the however many % that there is that gets free health care.So, why are americans so scared to go total independent ,or write in who you like???Stop selling America off piece by piece. One election after another.Stop it. Stop it. Stop it. LET'S VOTE THEM ALL OUT!!!!!! Come 2012 and take back our country, that they have held HOSTAGE for far to long!!!

    July 28, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  10. [ Anonymous P@TRi0T (S3KShuN8) ]

    Here's a 1-2 punch combo:

    (1) Lower taxes across the board by about 10% . Leave all tax breaks in place for the crybaby whining Richie Rich's out there flying around in their private corporate jets and such; but DO NOT include them in these NEW tax breaks !

    (2) DOUBLE or even TRIPLE the National Minimum Wage .

    HISTORICAL_CONCEPT: "Dollar a day Wage"

    The rationale is that _IF_ the general public (thats Poor folks like me) can actually AFFORD Commodities and the occasional Luxury, _THEN_ we will spend that newfound income (aside from whatever gets saved for a rainy day). More spending = more tax revenue overall, even with lower per capita tax rates . . .

    July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  11. Joan

    Isn't showing a vulgar, crude movie clip a pretty violent way to try to unify your party? I guess since Matt Damon seems to have gone over to their side they think they can use his good friend Ben Afleck too. The sad thing is that the whole debt ceiling issue should have been done with one clean vote. It has not ever been used as a hostage issue before this and the Republicans are going to have a lot to answer for during the next 18 months. They are using this as a way to try and force their agenda on the country, regardless of the repercussions. Already, the US 's reputation has been tarnished around the world, American democracy is a sham and it looks like a non-elected lobbyist Norquist and the new congressmen are controlling the party. Why would the majority of Americans want such a party to lead their great nation? I think Sen. Reid should add $500-$800 billion in revenue such as cutting loopholes, ending oil subsidies etc. to his plan and pass it in the Senate. Then see what the republicans do when they get it. The ball will be in their court. This whole thing is ridiculous and the media is obviously loving every minute of it. No matter how the Republican pundits try to spin it, everyone around the world knows they tied the spending bill to the debt ceiling and started the whole problem. That's what spoiled kids do.

    July 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  12. Pay It Back

    Anybody who has been elected by the people
    and makes pledges to others, should be tried for treason.
    The Tea Party seems to be backed by people trying to take over America.
    It worked for Hitler.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  13. mdn

    Actually, It is still stupid's (BUSH) economy. Unfortunately, W's dumbing down of America has been successful. It has led to the creation of Sarah Palin and her Tea Party nuts. They think the Earth is flat and was created 6000 years ago so its no surprise that they try to govern in an equally unrealistic manner. Stupid created the mess, the tea baggers are here to guarantee it will get worse. Thanks George Bush!

    July 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
  14. Donnie

    Why is no one in Washington talking about your 14th amendment? It would seem to be the solution to the tea party nut cases. I live in Canada, and worry how your crisis will touch our lives. Our countries are so tied together, when you roll over, we have to move too. The only place I've even heard about this is on a Canadian station. Why?

    July 27, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  15. joe pingry

    I just cant believe that grown men in either party cannot come to an a agreement. Are they grown men or spoiled children. It just reminds me of when i was a child and couldnt ever agree with my siblings. They need to grow up and do what needs to be done and move on.

    July 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  16. kim

    With a completely dysfunctional federal government, does this foretell the end of the USA as we know it?

    July 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  17. Ray

    Please ask the republicans who put us in war if they are willing to have their pay frozen like the military and if they are willing to move their retirement system to the age of retirement. If they are going to cut the military retirement at 20 then bring us all home and let us go.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
  18. E-Ray

    Note that this time the Republican's strategy is to deliberately sabotage the economy, then scream "You failed Obama! This is all your fault!" You don't have to be that smart to see what they're doing, but time will tell if enough other Americans actually are.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  19. usaf2

    Did I hear Blitzer " Wolf in a Armani suit" opening his big mouth again??

    July 27, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  20. Patrick from Sylmar,CA

    The reason republicans don't care about the debt limit and what it will do to many peoples investments such as 401K, is because they don't have their money in there. They long since bought gold and are laughing at all of us. They don't care anything about the country, just putting Obama down for Bush's mess, and getting themselves re-elected. The country can just be colateral damage. Don't we all feel 'well represented' by these selfish clowns?

    Quick solution: pass a debt ceiling measure with a simple majority vote. This nonsense of ceiling tied to budget has to stop now.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  21. charlie from the North

    Yeh it is different. Tea Party was just a pleasant gathering. They have thrown a monkey wrench into everything. They kind of remind me of those eco-terrorists who drive spikes into trees to "save the forest" what the idiots don't realize is that the tree comes down anyway and then it destroys a machine at the saw mill and kills the poor guy runiing the machine. In a misguided effort to save they old growth forest these SOB's end up killing people. In a misguided effort to reign in spending the idiot tea baggers are costing us more money than the could imagine.

    These folks will ruin the GOP. (don't laugh Dmes. once they destroy the GOP they will get to work on the whole nation.
    No one is safe from them.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
  22. chris

    Two full years of Democrats controlling the white house, senate and house. If they were so concerned about the debt ceiling why didn't they do anything then?!?

    July 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  23. Jean Z

    This has to be the biggest waste of time i've seen the government argue about yet...
    may not be popular but we could tax all that lobbyist money that goes to our so called "representatives" it's not like that money is going to anything productive anyway and it's bound to raise quite a bit of revenue.
    we can take away all the republicans healthcare... they are in favor of private insurance why dont they live by their ideology??
    yes we can even cut some of the entitlement programs... stuff like means testing it will cut spending on those for people that dont need it.
    bottom line this is a waste of time.. do we really want to stop paying our veterans, soldiers, elderly etc. before we think of cutting money to congress for sitting in a room arguing about who's turn it is to play on the swingset?

    July 27, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Mirta

      there had to have been things of value in the etatse that should have been sold to pay the etatse taxes before you are legally allowed to pass anything on to heirs you better get that stuff back and sell it and pay the taxes

      April 5, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  24. susanne hudson

    You're obviously a Republican...a top Republican once gave me his take on why he was unsympathetic to those below or at the poverty level...(many are single mothers)..'we make our money and we keep it'. Pretty shameful!

    July 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
  25. Jenny Adam

    Wolf, I am not surprised at all about what these republicans are doing....after all they stated right from the start that they wanted Obama to fail, "Obama will be a one term president" is Bachmann's slogan! How can one work with a president that he/she hates? Unfortunately it might bring us all down. However i believe that these republicans are digging their own graves and they will all be buried in it if they don't get their acts and thoughts together. Shame on them!!!

    July 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  26. Jane

    Is it just a coincidence that August 2 is the date set by President Obama to have the debt ceiling raised, and that his big fundraiser/birthday bash is the next day? If the debt ceiling is not raised by August 2, will this President cancel this mega-fundraiser, where so many rich liberals will be in attendance?

    July 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • akromper

      Why don't you wait and see before you pop off.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Jenny Adam

      Did you not hear or read about the fact that the president canceled some fundraisers over the weekend to deal with the debt issues? I don't think he forsaw this debacle and timed it around his birthday. He has bigger things to deal with. Finally, regardless of what happens, people that believe in him and respect him for who he is will contribute to his fundraiser be it 1 dollar or 100,000 dollars because guess what, he is a decent politician who has this country at heart.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • AmericanCitizen

      Rich liberals? The top 2% of the country are Republicans in majority. They own the companies that ship out jobs. They are also the ones that don't want to pay the same tax rate as the rest of the country. They are out for themselves; just a bunch of greedy people turning the U.S. into a third world country. That's why they don't roll back the Bush Cuts. They want to keep all those Billions to themselves. If you want a better economy then have those wealthy folks pay up the same way did back when Clinton was in office. If you want some money back then stop throwing away billions in a war against Afghanistan and Iraq. If you want jobs... then put tariffs on companies like WalMart, Target. When we answer the phone to pay a bill we should be talking to an American person; not someone in India or Mexico. Open your eyes...!

      July 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Josh

      I believe it was Timothy Geithner and the Treasury Department who set the August 2nd deadline... Rush Limbaugh has a way of saying ridiculous things to put ideas in peoples heads that aren't technically true... e.g. "The Obama administration's date they set for default is Aug 2nd, the day before his big fundraiser!" And he does this very well knowing his listeners will go out in masses paraphrasing what he said and getting it incorrect and spreading the crazy conspiracy he came up with.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Hi! I'm Jane. I'm an Idiot.

      What my name says.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Steven C. Price Sr.

      This is ALL beginning to make me real sick... The sad thing is that the DNP has no other candidate.

      And, I will surely NOT vote for any of those that have created this scare... A "War-of-The-Words..." (Politics-101)

      July 27, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  27. Omar Siddiquee

    What stuns me, beyond all of this, is this one simple fact: Fox News has become a MASSIVE influence on the American people. To the point of threatening our economy, and directing policy.

    Let's not kid ourselves. Fox News and several of its anchors played a prominent role in creating the Tea Party, or at the very least turning it from a number of angry activists formed into a gathering, into a national demographic. They've bolstered the argument that the deficit was the glaring problem of our time, not infrastructure or education or innovation or trade. Deficits. They've not only successfully sold the message that President Obama is some Muslim Kenyan with evil intentions for the fate of America, but that moderate Republicans were "in name only", and that only the most far right of the party with the most hard core views regarding "small government", could combat the "liberals" and save America from Obama's program of destruction.

    It seems to be an unwritten law that media doesn't criticize other media. A sober gathering and review of facts tells us that Fox News is an effective propaganda machine dressed to look like a news network. With hysteria and paranoia they captured an audience that dwarfs the other news networks combined. And it's long reached the point where they can effectively direct the course of American politics and policy.

    July 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • E-Ray

      Very good point. I'm not sure if Fox News was around then or not, but if they were they were just getting started and were probably at that point at least trying to pretend they were a legitimate, unbiased news source.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • james A.

      This is a very good characterization of FOX News and most all of the other media outlets. Our democracy is being threatened by “Domestic Enemies” (see: United States Uniformed Services Oath of Office) – they are unelected, self appointed individuals that have almost direct control over the makeup of the entire Republican caucus, and thus the direction of the entire country. (i.e. Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist, Roger Ailes, etc.) Legitimate news outlets, in the name of unbiased reporting, are dancing all around this 8,000,000 lb gorilla in the room, but they won’t address it directly.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Kevin

      You have got to be joking? The media in general; including CNN, MSNBC, Comedy Central, daytime talk shows, and all of Hollywood has been trying to imbed their liberal outlook on our society since before the Clinton era. The media outlets love to jump on any slightest misstep of a Republican, yet will let an affair in the White House go unreported if it will make the Democrats look bad. I live in Illinois and our state is broke due to the liberal run Chicago zip code that controls our state, any Californian could say the same. However, it is these same broken policies and ideals that are trying to be forced upon us by this media backed president we have in office today.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
      • Omar Siddiquee

        Count the number of former Republican cabinet members, governors, and other high-ranking figures that either host on Fox, or perform as "contributors" where they're essentially given the floor to promote their views. Other networks may trend more liberal, but all of them combined don't have as many liberal/democratic activists as Fox does Republican. I don't see CNN taking one side or the other, even when the OBJECTIVE thing to point out is that it's the Republicans who've taken the debt ceiling issue hostage and made it about the deficit.

        MSNBC is biased, but that's a deliberate attempt to mimic Fox News in terms of being a political platform. Still, MSNBC doesn't shamelessly lie as much as Fox does. It's not working as well, as liberals tend to reason for themselves, unlike conservatives who need Limbaughs and Becks to chew their food for them and spit it back into their mouths for them to be able to digest it.

        And it's not just that Fox is Republican, it's that Fox is dishonest and deliberately promotes lies. It's become routine on Fox now to state that Obama deliberately wants to destroy America because of some hidden agenda. Hannity, Greta, Beck, Wallace, all have either directly or through unchallenged "contributors" pressed the lie that Obama is not American, that he has ties to radical Islam – during the 08 election Hannity even claimed Obama had ties to Saddam Hussein.

        To suggest we're heading towards socialism is a lie, a lie Fox promotes every day. To suggest Obama deliberately wants to harm America for some obscure conspiracy is a lie.

        July 28, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Dan Clark

      Yep and CNN is unbiased? Come on, CNN is as liberal as they go. I watch one until I cannot handle the slant, then I go to the other.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Steven C. Price Sr.

      Thank God for the CNN News Team for;.

      "Keeping them Honest!"

      Steven C. Price Sr.
      Principle, Organizational & Leadership Development Analyst
      The G.R.I.P. Research Foundation

      "Get A GRIP!"

      July 27, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
  28. Kurt Lapham

    So frustrated over so many aspects of this debt ceiling situation, if the Tea Party believes nothing will happen that it is just Scare tactic not to raise the debt ceiling, well when the money is limited stop their pay first, maybe they will listen to what those who really know what is going on (actually stop all Congress' pay). Boehner is quick to place all the blame on Obama he doesn't remind people he and his party voted for the wars, the Bush tax cuts and the Bush prescription program which brought about 3.5 trillion in debt, remember that is what the debt ceiling is, paying what we already owe. This is like a really bad sit-com sadly though we can't just change the channel.

    July 27, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
    • Dan Clark

      Kurt, maybe you would remember that the congress that passed those budgets was a democrat heavy congress. I may not know much, but I find it funny everyone blames everyone else. The Dems blame the Bush era, the Repubs want to blame the Democrat spending, and all of us on here want to point out how the other person is ignorant.

      All politicians are just pushing their agenda to get re-elected. That is the bottom line.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  29. Helen Hilgenfeldt

    I think President Obama should enact a 20/10 Plan on all State and Federal and Government departments across the board. He should cut the administrative staffers, i.e., CEO's, (the ones who receive the most pay) by 20% and the support staffers, i.e., assistants, office staff (the ones who receive the lowest pay) by 10% for two years or more for however long it takes for the federal deficit to regain stability. If the employees think that they cannot financially survive with a 20% or 10% cut in their pay, then they need to tighten their own financial belts. Every American needs to do their own part in tightening their belts. No employee should be fired or let go though, because that would cause more unemployment, which is not an option right now. To promote more businesses to move their businesses back to the U.S. to provide more jobs, the President should decrease the corporate tax rate. That is why so many businesses have moved their businesses to the foreign countries that give them a great tax break to run their businesses in their countries. You do not necessarily have to tax the rich to pay the poor. There are so many ideas out there on decreasing the national debt. The American taxpayers need to come forward with their ideas and not be afraid to voice their ideas and opinions. Even though the Democrats and Republicans do not want to listen to the voters that elected them in the first place, they better start listening.

    July 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Not so

      American business didn't move their headquarters to oversea. They moved their factories and work to oversea. That is not because of tax rate. That is because of labor rate. GE pay 0 tax on billion dollars of profit How can you say we have the highest rate? On paper we are high, but with all the loophole, we have one of the lowest rate. We can lower corporate rate and eliminate the loophole. The actual rate will then be higher. Business won't hire just because it has lower rate. They will hire if they need more people and the labor rate are cheap. If you are willing to accept a job for minimum rate, they will hire you in a second.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Peter

      I hope you do realize that many of those who you want to cut 10% of their salary, only make $25k to begin with. So with your plan they would make $2.5K. Would you be willing to make $22.5k and be working 50-60 hours a week? I doubt you right now would whine if your boss tomorrow said sorry were cutting your pay by 10%.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  30. Reid from Los Angeles

    It's always ridiculous to hear politicians like Boehner and "wannabe" politicians like Trump compare the economy with businesses that they ran. Then they turn around and say we absolutely cannot raise taxes. That's like saying they ran their businesses without any desire for more income. We know that's not true.

    Our tax rates are at their lowest levels since the 50s, yet costs of everything have gone up since then, and two wars are still going on. How could we NOT go into debt.

    I make nowhere near the $250,000 a year tax bracket the president says he wants to raise taxes on, but I'm absolutely willing to increase my share if it will make this country better, stronger. For goodness sake, we have roads and bridges that are reaching their expected lifespans and have no money for new ones. I don't understand anyone who says they aren't willing to pay their fair share, if they do love this country. Somewhere along the way, Americans forgot the notion that nothing comes for free.

    Denmark has among the highest tax rates in the world, yet for the last several years, they have been voted the "happiest country in the world" with the most satisfied citizens (America is around 15th). Google it. It's because they know their country will take care of them (from birth till death) in return. I certainly don't want to lead the world with the highest tax rates, but there may be something Americans can learn from this. We need to learn something from somewhere or soon, the saying "America is the greatest country in the world" will only be refering to attitude and ideology and NOTHING else.

    July 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • afrommi

      You are right & the policy makers for over 20 years have been making policies that protect the wealth of the top 2-10% of the population who controls 90-98% of the wealth. While the rest of us 90% of the population controls only 10% of the wealth are taxed to the max and pay the salaries of those so called "elected" officials who represent that section of the population. It is time those who have enjoy the protection the policies afford them, share 90% of the sacrifice. Now, the retarded congress is not working for the majority, The majority is losing their 401K investment and the top 2% who does not have a 401k have prepared by buying gold.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  31. Steven C. Price Sr.


    Just thought I would let you know that; I just got my small Veterans Disability Payment.

    I sure hope I get my Social Security payment, considering that, my VA Payment of 30% is only $380 after the deductions for my prescription and other deductions.

    If by chance, mine or my 83 year old mother, who is widowed and lives alone, SS checks do not arrive... There WILL... surely Hell to pay, by the Republican Leadership. No Loyal Patriot or Veteran will stand for the Governments failure to compromise...

    Disabled or not I will be sure to join the battle, protest or the “revolution” that will take surely place in order to ensure that the appropriate leaders are made aware of our countries embarrassment, disgrace and the appearance of weakness and lack of ability to compromise that is being displayed by our Leadership.

    I volunteered, and defended this GREAT countries Freedom and Democratic Process!

    This lack of “Democracy” is unacceptable!

    Steven C. Price Sr.
    Principle Analyst/Organizational & Leadership Development
    The G.R.I.P. Research Foundation.

    "Get A GRIP!"

    July 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Susan Smith

      Thank you for your service Steven, and I hope you and your mother do not have to deal with the trauma and humiliation of not getting your well earned and deserved monies.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
      • Steven C. Price Sr.

        Thanks! Another reprieve...?

        August 3, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  32. Robert Marvez

    Wolf, These people should be thrown in jail for Criminal stupidity if they allow the nation to default on any of its obligations. But, since they are there and we have to keep it simple for them, lets go to a flat tax, no loop holes no deductions just multiply gross income by 23% for example and write your check to Uncle Sam. Seems like this would be a fair way to do it. Might put a lot of accountants out of work but they probably can't understand the tax code anyway.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • afrommi

      They should be put in jail for not following the oath of the office they are holding. They made a pledge designed by a criminal (Norquist who is a money launderer, who was caught in 1997, and I don't know how come is is not in jail) Instead of pledging loyalty to the USA and all its people. They were elected under their promise of Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and their priority became "to make sure Obama fails". Well, if Obama fails, so will all of us, 90% of the population. The FAA just closed and are not paying taxes because they had to let go airline personnel. It is costing the US millions per day in revenues. I can't believe the Republican base does not wake up. They are not looking after them either.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  33. Joshua

    How ironic is the selected title, because the United states economy controls every domain from private sectors to public venues to international democratic enforced policies. "Stupid" can viewed as an word that belittles our intelligence as an country on the brink of historic let downs in Congress. As I stated earlier Americans have concluded that our concept has to be similiar to the Obama administration. "Fair" and "compromise" will enable this country to survive hard times, such as war, recession, and electing politicians. Our voice has to be the voice of the President, if not our civilian population will bear the consequences of an leader like the Germans under Adolf Hitler.

    Bethel, North Carolina

    July 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  34. Steven C. Price Sr.


    Just thought I would let you know that; I just got my small Veterans Disability Payment.

    I sure hope I get my Social Security payment, considering that, my VA Payment of 30% is only $380 after the deductions for my prescription and other deductions.

    If by chance, mine or my 83 year old mother, who is widowed and lives alone, SS checks do not arrive... There WILL... surely Hell to pay, by the Republican Leadership. No Loyal Patriot or Veteran will stand for the Governments failure to compromise...

    Disabled or not I will be sure to join the battle, protest or the “revolution” that will take surely place in order to ensure that the appropriate leaders are made aware of our countries embarrassment, disgrace and the appearance of weakness and lack of ability to compromise that is being displayed by our Leadership.

    I volunteer, and defended this GREAT countries Freedom and Democratic Process!

    This lack of “Democracy” is unacceptable!

    Steven C. Price Sr.
    Principle Analyst/Organizational & Leadership Development
    The G.R.I.P. Research Foundation.

    "Get A GRIP!"

    July 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  35. Carol

    Wolf, thanks for trying to remind these politicians that how this can be accomplished. Maybe it's time for Pres. Obama to rethink the 14th amendment issue. By the time the Supreme court deals with it, things hopefully would be dealt with. I'm hoping that Pres. Obama and Mr. Clinton are on speed dial. Why is everyone so afraid of the "tea party" other then their obvious ignorance? I put them in the category of "UNAMERICAN".

    July 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  36. Lee in Chicago

    Wolf is right. What I don't understand is why the Republican party allows itself to be held hostage by a minority of "tea party" members on raising the debt ceiling issue? Does the whole Republican Party thinks that if it listens to the tea party members, it will win back the White House and the Senate in 2012? Does it know that most Americans are not as extreme as the tea party members? The irrationality is unfathomable!

    July 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Cumulonimbus

      Add to that why democrats in congress are so opposed to any revision of social security and medicare, which are clearly unsustainable.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  37. chad

    Why is it that people in Washington only do things for their " political" good and not the good of AMERICANS? Both sides do this all the time and now they are looking like kids who want to play with the same toy ( our votes). And if they keep this up they will get no votes from Americans because we will be called China since they own our debt.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  38. Jewels

    They're irrational and are looking out for their pocket of supporters. The junior Reps. in the house that represent this group will be affected by this next election - and rightfully so. Your "my way or the highway" will take you only so far.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Jewels

      I was referring to the Tea Party.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  39. Juan Casillas

    Both parties are at fault. When the democrats had control of both the congress and senate they had the ability to pass a bill to prevent the current situation we are in. If the wanted to increase taxes on the rich they would have been able to do it when the had a Democratic Congress, Senate, and Presdent, however, they passed their stimulus plans and decided to wait until Washington was balanced with both democrats and republicans. Now as the president put on the table the programs that democrats do not want Obama to place on the table republicans still are not coming to some common ground. Then you have republican presidental nominees saying that if we pass our August 2 deadline we have nothing to worry about. Apparently there is a huge divide in our government and an even bigger divide in the republican party as some of these Tea Party members are even disagreeing with Senator Boehner. It is sad to say but our government has forgotten about the American people. Why not take away tax breaks for oil Companies? Why not take away loopholoes for companies who give other countries jobs and not jobs for the American people? Who by the way are paying taxes and who and are American citizens, what happened to taking care of america before anything else. I just hope we see the true colors of the republican party

    July 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • hp

      What you miss is that yes the Dems had the majority but the Senate Republicans filibustered pretty much every attempt and made near impossible to pass anything.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Brian

      The answer to this question is simple. The Democrats did not impose their will upon the entire body, because they understand that congress represents ALL people, not just their own constituents. This is something that post-Reagan Republicans do not understand. GW Bush was elected without a plurality of the public vote, yet felt he had a clear mandate somehow. This, from a guy who spoke of Fuzzy Math. Boehner, Cantor et all also seem to forget that there is slightly over 50% of the population that does not think like them.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  40. Mike

    What a hatchet-job by Wolf Blitzer... The CLEAREST difference between today and 1994 is that the USA is in much so that it must BORROW money to pay the interest on its borrowed money. The FACTS are that the USA has spent itself into inconsequence. The World Business Community, including the USA, looks to China for the future because the USA cannot make a difference, except in failure. In the same manner as previous businesses flocked to the USA to escape excessively burdensome business environments in Europe, future businesses are flocking to China, India, Asia and other third world countries because they are "apparently' more business friendly. In this environment, you cannot have a growing economy because the organic growth is elsewhere. If you subtract Government spending based on BORROWED money, you will expose the ONE THING that none of the liberals and politicians demanding higher taxes do not want us to see...that the gross GDP of the USA has been shrinking for over a decade. I live in California and have watched its slow decline into near-bankruptcy due to the policies of the Left...profitable businesses with high-paying jobs (except for those in Silicon Valley) have left while populations seeking entitlements have entered, and Liberals have continued to spend...spend...spend, so much so that the current spending exceeds revenue by more than 25%, with no relief in sight. I remember what it was like before the Liberals got their Great was better when most Americans took responsibility for themselves rather the demanding assistance and support from the State. Compare the economies of CA and TX to see what works and what doesn't.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • dare777

      Awesome comment. I hope more people read your comment and understand. We continually spend more then we make. It is not fiscally responsible. the public sector is growing too large for the private sector to pay for. we are doomed.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • lmlight77

      I've lived in the state since 1973. CA's biggest mistake was actually a conservative one – Prop 13. This single initiative completely (IMO at least ) screwed up the state. It has little to do w/ liberal vs. conservative policies since then. We went from a property-tax based revenue system to an income-based. Guess what happens when the economy sinks and the tax base gets depressed. Another effect of Prop 13 was massive house value inflation. This is in fact the single biggest reason why businesses are fleeing the state – it costs WAY TOO much to live here. When housing is pricey, salaries have to be high to compensate. This leads to everything else being expensive. It's a visicious cycle w/ no end in sight.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Independant in Indiana

      We spend more than we take in because the Repub's cut taxes, remember those unpaid for tax cuts called "the Bush Tax cuts"? Funny when you cut taxes/revenues but don’t stop spending a deficit occurs. Crazy. Here's an idea, roll back the "Bush tax cuts" for everybody AND cut good chunk of spending, BAM, back to a surplus. Wow, amazing... The problem is the Repub's only want to cut spending, cause heaven forbid we fix the economy in a balanced way, goodness no. Let’s just stomp our feet and yell "MY OR THE HIGHWAY!".

      July 27, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Susan Smith

      yes, it was the liberals starting two unfunded wars, and at the same time giving the upper tax bracket a cut that caused this problem.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Light In The Black

      The Tea party backed by the Koch Brothers now hold America hostage.
      This plan has been in the works for some time.
      (See "PNAC"..plan for new American century")
      The last great depression in the 30's was also well planned.
      History repeats itself.

      The United States Of America
      is NOT a country,
      Its a corporation, run by big business.
      Every 4 years you get to pick from column A, or column B,
      But both have to be pre-approved by those who control us.
      Those who control us dont care if America defaults,
      when stocks crash, the rich buy them up cheap.
      Dont you see how this game works ?

      Sad day for Americans.
      It will also affect the rest of this planet.

      I dont care what you call them.....Illuminatti
      free masons, there is a group that makes these choices....
      Rothchilds, Billderbergs,
      These people control the worlds trade organizations, the media, oil, banking,
      how do you fight them ?
      There are 3 ways to control this planet.
      Military, financial, and religion.

      There are 3 places on earth that do not answer to the countries that they are located.

      Vatican (Religion)
      Baker Street London (Financial)
      Washington DC (Military)
      These three entities control this planet,
      but who is behind this is the question.

      You have two games running here at the same time.
      Monopoly and Risk.
      But they are being played with real money, and real armies.
      Until people understand,
      I dont see a very good future for anybody.

      So go hide your head behind your political party,
      call people "conspiracy nuts"
      and hope that there is a god to save your azz.

      You gotta give them credit, they have kept us at each others throat
      divided for long enuf to pull this grand idea off.

      You fell for it.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • WesH

      @Mike I agree with you on spending issue in this country. However, you can't blame the left for all your problems. The right-wing, your peeps I'm assuming, has dragged us through two failed wars, as well as a domestic war against drugs that is also failing. And during that they gave tax exemptions to the wealthiest in this country who didn't need or want it.

      July 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  41. Mark L.

    Congress is, and has always been, interested in the welfare of the lobbyists, special interest groups, Wall St. "fat-cats," etc. The welfare of the American people and the nation as a whole does not even come into the picture....

    July 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • dare777

      Spending is from entitlement programs not wall st fat cats. Even you taxed the living daylights out of your so called fat cats we still spend too much for entitlements programs

      July 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  42. gandoman

    For those candidates looking for HELP from the Tea Party ..... Big Mistake!

    The Tea Party is really the ..... TEA POTTY ..... & I am not talking about the BOSTON ACCENT.
    The TEA POTTY is where all good ideas get washed down the toilet, leaving only a few skid marks to be turned into TEA POTTY rhetoric.
    The TEA POTTY sect wishes to relive a certain incident which occurred in Boston Harbor on Dec.16,1773.
    They somehow equate the American Colony's protest against a 'tax on tea' with the current political situation.
    In other words, they wish to overthrow the current Government & set up a White Supremacist Nation where Liberals, Gays, Blacks, Jews, darker skinned Latinos, Muslims, Buddhists & all NON-Christians will have some semblance of democracy until they are slowly & inevitably exterminated.
    Except of course for those UNEQUALS who are unusually well trained & educated & can become useful in the new America.
    Professional Athletes for example!
    The TEA POTTY movement (think bowel) needs to be flushed down the proverbial sewer where it sprang up from.
    Like a new infectious disease which gathers strength quickly & mutates, the TEA POTTIERS will eventually be destroyed by a combination of disinfectants such as the MAJORITY of the American People will supply.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • bleu415

      The Tea party, if only the truth could be known. I wish the next time CNN interviews a Tea Party member ask the question, if they had read "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • dare777

      We have to borrow money to pay off interest to another foreign power, how is raising taxes going to really help. the middle class is shrinking, poverty is growing. the top 2% of incomes cannot pay all 100% of taxes. 50% of the population does not pay taxes. We need to increase the middle class by getting the poverty class working strongly so they can chip in at least 5% of their gross income into the system. We need to move more people out of lower income into higher income brackets by supporting job growth. Job growth happens when business' know of stable tax laws and stable health care plans. Everything right now is in flux. I own a business and do not hire anyone because I am unsure of how much I will be taxed and what effect obamacare will have on me, hence I take care of my family first and not anyone elses.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • flat tax

      raising taxes on the wealthy is NOT the answer... that was a classic lazy American response. the rich can't continue to support and bail out all of the lazy losers like you in this country. get a job and contribute some of your income to the government while you learn to live within your means. get an education and use your brain. oh, and sell your Camaro that you bought with that 6.0% auto loan... it gets terrible gas mileage.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  43. Mark L.

    "To be, or not to be, that is the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
    And by opposing end them."

    July 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  44. king

    lesson 2 wars and their was no tax increase to pay for it. medicare part D still no tax increase to pay for it, the whole homeland security agency no tax increase to pay for it, the bush tax cuts which is about half a trillion dollars a year and still no tax increase to pay for it. lesson when my family had problems with finance they just didnt cut what they were relying on because they still owed money. they had to go out and work to get fresh money to pay for the things they owed eventually, thats the only way your going to start paying off what you owe folks. we cannot have the lowest taxes in 60 years and expect to come out of this debt crisis. i am long for the Reagan and Bush tax days to help us out. because there is no way to get out of this crisis with such a low revenue intake.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • dare777

      We don't pay off tax breaks, the money was never there to begin with. Tax breaks have to be taken into account for the next years budget balance. Hey guys we will not have this much money coming in so do not allocate any programs or jobs from it. Basic economics. This mess is about balancing a budget and actually decreasing expenditures so we can pay off debt.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  45. Glenn Rumbell

    As far as the economy goes, here is what the Republicans are missing. A deficit is a fiscal stimulus. In a recession it can be just as damaging to remove a stimulus as it is to raise taxes. Even more so. If you raise taxes on the rich a small amount (and lets face that is all Obama is really talking about) you tend to remove discretionary dollars from their pockets that would have been spent on luxury items, such as holidays abroad, imported cars, imported wines, electronics etc. When you cut social security, you remove money people live on. Money that is used to purchase necessities like food, and shelter and medicine. Things that are made in the USA. Which dollar helps the economy more, the dollar spent on an
    imported luxury items, or the dollar spent on things still made in the USA.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      Glenn, the Repub. mantra that taxes are job killers & govt. expenditures are a complete drag on the economy is so ingrained into their marrow, they are incabable of receiving any info. that could change that mentality. Even if you pointed out that tax rates were 39% when the Clinton Economy was kicking butt.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Sharon from Illinois

      couldn't have said it better myself!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  46. sonny chapman

    Four years of George H.W. Bush's effect on the Economy was nothing compared to what Eight years of what W. did to the Economy ,as well as the spiritual health of this Country.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  47. FedUp

    The economy was the problem when Jimmy Carter was Presdient, too. Any links here????

    July 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  48. REG in AZ

    Who controls our government? Is it ... politicians .... the voters ... lobbyists ... or others? We see the ongoing Deficit Crisis negotiations and readily recognize a polarized and stubborn standoff, with the polls clearly indicating that voters actually support a position more consistent with the President, yet the Republicans literally won’t budge an inch ... why? Polls say 69% of the people see raising taxes for the very wealthy as being reasonable ... but the Republicans contradict that and say “the people don’t want any tax increases”. Both parties and the American people have expressed strong support for substantial deficit reduction but the Republicans are willing to throw that to the side to protect the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy ... why? How can there even be that stubborn, closed minded difference ... don’t they understand who they represent ... who elected them? Do they really think they can just force their will on the people? Again, who really controls our government?

    The Republican Party, more than the Democrats because of their ideology differences, has literally come to be owned and controlled by “big money”, with that status having dynamically progressed over the last two decades to now be complete. They simply don’t depend on support from the public, they depend on the support from “big money” to con and manipulate the voters and they then just give the public subterfuge to rationalize and justify. The deficit negotiations and the constant cocky confidence and arrogant stubbornness are current examples; the manipulation of the Christian block (2000), the Swift-boat propaganda (2004) and the Tea Party extremes (2010 and now) are more, all demonstrating well designed, well financed and well organized manipulations of the public. To google “Grover Norguist / Anti-Tax pledge” on a computer provides a great insight into just how “big money” literally achieves its control; there they even brag how they “make and break” politicians to gain their complete control and they are not alone in doing it. It would be naive to think it stops with just one issue, taxes or anything else, as really with the complete control they have they literally exercise their will. When they wanted to attack Iraq, we attacked Iraq; when they wanted no-bid contracts for Halliburton, Halliburton got no-bid contracts; when they wanted tax breaks and concessions for oil companies, oil companies got them; when they wanted favorable policy and laws for the energy industry, they got them; now they want all reforms to be fought and they are getting that; on and on with the control working aggressively to favor the select few without any regard for the costs or value to the majority. The actual result is that the Republican representatives are literally “puppets” and we, the public, are effectively “pawns” with only the very powerful few running the game. To ignore that realty, to deny it in order to maintain loyalty, just perpetuates and encourages all of the costs going to the majority, including the significant loses to the total middle-class. Under the Republicans it is no longer a “government of the people, by the people for the people”, it is simply the government of the few and we are literally their dutiful subjects.

    The only weak point in their execution, if there actually is one, is that they are really dependent on being able to con and manipulate the public; they still need our votes. As an ex-long term Republican I don’t want to see their demise but I just can’t identify with or accept what they are now. I really want to see them encouraged to return to the Grand Ole Party and to have real concern for the people, as they once did. The only way that will ever happen is when the voters totally reject what they have become, to literally make their dependency on “big money” ineffective. The people have to check their emotions and deny them the ability to con and manipulate with their well financed, organized and deceptive appeals to biases, prejudices, fears and limited issues – understanding that when they are successful in getting support for even just one issue, they then have effectively gained support for everything they will do. The goal needs to be for the voters to take back control and make the politicians dependent on really satisfying the people and not on just satisfying those who successfully con and manipulate the people. We really can’t take another go around of “more of the same”, Bush-Cheney style, which is exactly what they are striving for.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  49. Rich

    Your points are well taken Wolf. The problem is that people only see what they want to see and right now they see republicans holding up the political process and that is what they will remember in the next election.

    It is very easy to blame a party for the economy but it is harder to prove it. Both parties waste money and everything in Washington is voted on so if anything passes and is put into law it had more support then it did refusal. That goes for the wars too. Any of those wars could have been ended had congress cut off money to it and they did not do that. Both Parties voted for the wars all except Libya and that one they ended up signing on to. It is a quagmire of fault but that fault lies squarely on the shoulders of our politicians.

    Here is what I am having a hard time with Wolf. Our government has put us in a terrible situation leaving us with a poor economy, high unemployment and no jobs in sight. Our government has run business out of America and into the waiting arms of other countries with taxes and policy that was adverse for business. Those businesses are not coming back. They are gone for good. We have 3 wars going on right now with no clear end in sight and the possibility of starting more wars in other countries where terrorists have relocated and are growing in number. Meanwhile America is broke and has to borrow money to pay its bills. Now these same politicians who got us into the mess want us to believe that they some how can wave a magic wand and get us out of it. That is a political fairy tale Wolf. It isn't going to happen as long as they keep spending. Our government has gotten way too big and the working class in this country can no longer afford the taxes it requires to keep it going. 2 trillion dollars a year plus to operate our government. That is our problem and until America starts putting people back to work we can not afford any more debt increase because we have no way to pay for it.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  50. susanne hudson

    As a Canadian it is shocking to watch the debt ceiling fiasco play out. Why does the Tea Party have the power to stop a deal from happening? The House Leader is not much of a salesman...can't he convince them that to not raise the debt ceiling will be a disaster for all Americans. Do these so-called grass roots Tea Party activists not understand that cutting the taxes and loop holes for the rich is also a part of the mix that makes sense? We the US now on an inevitable decline?

    Susanne Hudson

    July 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      The power of hate to blind is overwhelming. The Repubs. HATE Obama. They don't accept him as President & they're willing to take down the whole country to try & defeat him. The Tea Party Gang is so blinded by their hatred they can't even see that this is killing them politically with the Independent Voters. McConnell sees it & is trying to steer this runaway horse. Maybe King George III was right;self-rule is a folly.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • susanne hudson

      Correction...raising the taxes for the rich! Susanne

      July 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm |

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