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BLITZER'S BLOG: Debate is just beginning
August 1st, 2011
02:07 PM ET

BLITZER'S BLOG: Debate is just beginning

Washington (CNN) - If you liked the debt ceiling debate of recent days, you probably will love the debate that will occur in the days leading up to Thanksgiving this year.

If you hated the current debate, you probably will despise the one coming up in four months.

That’s when the new 12-member special congressional committee is supposed to come up with its proposals for major entitlement and tax reform. Entitlement reform, by the way, is really a nice way of saying cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Tax reform is really a nice way of saying tax increases.

It may be possible to get six Democrats and six Republicans to agree on these kinds of painful choices, but it certainly won’t be easy.

Let’s say they come up with a set of recommendations. Both houses of Congress then will have to vote on the recommendations in a strict up-or-down roll call. If they vote to pass the legislation, Pres. Obama then would have to sign the legislation into law.

Those are all huge “ifs.”

There is a real possibility that won’t happen.

That would mean pulling the trigger on $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, half coming from defense programs and the other half from non-defense programs, including cuts in Medicare payments to health-care providers. Those cuts would begin in 2013.

The conservatives won’t like the Pentagon cuts; the liberals won’t like the Medicare cuts. Maybe that will give them the incentive to support the super committee’s recommendations – assuming the 12 members can come up with recommendations.

In short, the country may have avoided a debt ceiling disaster for now. But this debate is only just beginning.

Post by:
Filed under: Debt • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (213 Responses)
  1. Francis J. Wilhelm

    There is a class war going on in America. And, the very affluent, religious fundamentalist, and evangelicals are winning it. When it is all over with, we will then have a Theocracy/Oligarchy.

    August 10, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • conoclast

      Remember, it's only called Class Warfare when we fight back.

      December 26, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
  2. Colecat

    I think we should vote into office people experienced with successful businesses and some financial sense instead of lawyers. The us government is the largest business we have, and the current congress does positioning and complaining very well, which does nothing to help our current financial crisis. We need common sense, fast!

    August 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Francis J. Wilhelm

      we tried that....remember the Bush administration was primarily made up of businessmen including George W. Bush. That experiment didn't work out too well. Did it?

      August 10, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  3. Fred Schwacke

    Left, Right or Center, everyone I know believes our Congress is out of touch and out of hand. Reform Congress, If you agree, please pass it on.

    I received this from a friend and found it very interesting & timely.

    Please read, and if you agree, forward (as a BCC) to as many folks
    as possible. And then on to your state & federal representatives!!

    "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
    – Patrick Henry –

    I have totally cleaned this e-mail from all other names, sending it
    to you in hopes you will keep it going and keep it clean. Just copy and paste it into a new email. This is something I think is worth fighting for and I hope you will read it all the way through.

    The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took
    only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people
    demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail,
    before cell phones, etc.

    Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or
    less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

    I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty
    people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have
    the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    1. No Tenure / No Pension.
    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay
    when they are out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social
    Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social
    Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
    It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
    Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional
    pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in
    the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American

    7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective
    The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen.
    Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in
    Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned
    citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home
    and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only
    take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the
    message. Maybe it is time.

    THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!!If you agree with the above, pass it

    August 3, 2011 at 5:48 am |
  4. david k lashley


    In 2010, we imported $3,649,439,000,000.00 worth of products from China.
    In 2010, we imported $229,907,900,000.00 worth of product from Mexico.

    For the ease of calculation, lets say all products from China and Mexico had a cost of 50% material, 20 % labor, 30% profit.

    So if we multiply 20% times $4,379,887,800,000.00 we get $875,863,560,000.00

    The average assembly worker in the U.S. is from $50,000.00 to $75,000.00.

    If these products were manufactured in the U.S. then
    $875,863,560,000.00 divided by $50,000.00 equals 17,517,271 jobs
    $875,863,560,000.00 divided by $75,000.00 equals 11,678,180 jobs

    August 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • azusa

      A great way to quantify the problem!

      August 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  5. Jim D.- Ontario, Canada

    As a Canadian I can't believe what I am hearing from politians. As a retired businessman I never heard the word PROFIT. Unless Americans are able to purchase a good or service then the level of taxation is rather moot. I never heard of a person spending his money on establishing a good or service based upon the level of taxation only! To suggest that people are holding back financial support to help the economy because of taxes s rediculous.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Allayna

      A little ratioantily lifts the quality of the debate here. Thanks for contributing!

      December 24, 2011 at 5:17 am |
  6. Ted

    Wolf, if you are seriously going to do an approval rating, Poll each person in the United states. I disapprove at the highest levels. We have Tyranny within government at a new degree. Your percentages are so very inaccurate for approval. I know I wasn't asked.

    August 2, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  7. DanJ

    The wealthiest 20% pays 80% of the tax burden. Yet liberals scream they don't pay their fair share. Well, I guess they're right, they pay way over their "fair" share.

    August 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  8. Ted

    I have already done my part to boycott the gov. by not paying taxes due to taking time off of work... Our officials do not deserve to get paid... Boycott all across America will not only hurt Business but also the Government because it will lose revenues and tax dollars... I can survive without money, I can kill my own food, build my own living quarters in the woods, and walk everywhere. What can you all do? Bow to the Mercy of this Government? Tyranny!!!

    August 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  9. Ted

    I like the word play with the "PREAMBLE"... We are seeing Tyranny in a new stage of Government. We need to get back to the basics, The CONSTITUION is not outdated, it did not make our country start failing. It is the Officials that were corrupt. Back to the Basics worked, it was changed because these idiots changed it, interpreted the laws to favor them and big businesses over THE PEOPLE. I said the Pledge of Allegience in school, I grew to be a Soldier and my oath was to protect the Constitution from ENEMIES Foreign or DOMESTIC. Baseless law suits for the church and state seperation making it illegal to do prayer or say the pledge of allegience, they are baseless due to the fact that Governments only seperation is that it is illegal to push any one religion on the citizens. That is seperation of Church and State. Get those Bastards out of office and get back to the Basics!

    August 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  10. Ted

    Oh we do, Congress's ego's are too big. It blocks their common sense and ears from hearing the cries of the people. I'd love to rally up and Fire everyone of the! Government has gotten too big and no longer listens to the people. They want to look good for elections. As far as I am concerned, all of the Morons in office comitted Political Suicide. When the revelution strikes I expect to be called. I am former military and know the Majority rules. Take my country back, and Place the United States Constitution back to the Front and Foremost as it was made of the people, for the people, and by the people. Take my guns? I think not!! Corprate america must DIE

    August 2, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  11. Grant

    I am tired hearing that if we only cut taxes and get rid of regulations then the economy will grow. This assertion assumes there is unmet demand for goods and services that would be met but for high taxes and excess regulations. How many folks truly believe there is sufficient income of the middle class to demand more goods and services form business than is currently met? The most evident thing that has come from the loering of taxes over the decades is a widing wealth gap. The most evident things that have resulted from productivity gains over the past decades are increased business values, increased compensation for corporate executives, shrinkage of the workforce and stagnant wages for workers.

    August 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  12. William

    I want to know why when cities and counties are cutting their budgets, payrolls and salaries, why the federal government can't cut theirs? Lets start with a 25% cut of all salaries of the congressman and senators. Then lets dump their pension plans and put them into Social Security. Then let them get health insurance like everyone else instead of their current special medical plan. Finally lets cut some of the perks we give them. What perks?/ How about all of them! In all of this it seems we can't afford CONGRESS ANYMORE! SO lets fire them!!

    August 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  13. josie

    Mr. Blitzer get that negative doom and gloom John King off the tv screen. He doesn't have a clue about the average american person. Has he ever been hungry or prayed that his 16 year old car get him to his job on the coldest day of the year. Thats why Americans don't respect the media. Mr. Jonn King and the rest of you are clueless. You sit in your nice offices and offer opinions. Get a d%$#@ clue. And please ask Mr. King to shut the h&^% UP. Thankyou.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  14. Linda

    While the thing is painful all around, I'm actually encouraged by the vote because I haven't seen such a bipartisan vote in ages. The extreme left and extreme right were told to sit down and shut up while reasonable people did what was necessary.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  15. awacs11

    Right on – The Tea party does blame both parties for the mess we are in. Just because they are using the GOP as a conduit for now in now way endorsed the GOP. Right now if you believe as I believe then you get my vote period. If you don't then you are part of the problem. I firmly believe in removing all elected officials from any form of retirement, Term Limits (2 terms for each), a balanced budget amendment with a veto override requirement to exceed the budget cap, close the Department of education, close the EPA (or limit all decision to require congressional vote), reduce the number of military officers by 50%, Secure all borders (physical and electronic), close the IRS (Flat tax for all), and term limit Federal Judges will put this country back on the right track. Enough said

    August 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  16. Meki60

    Blitzer, the Chief of Garbage

    August 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Meki60

      okay, the Suprv of Garbage

      August 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  17. Chris

    As I was watching the whole debate on debt in this country, I was wondering if I am the only person thinking one thing:
    Cut the majority of foreign aid, shipping out billions and billions of our tax dollars abroad !
    Why does the government in this country not care about its own people ?! With as many problems we have, unemployment, insufficient healthcare, aging infrastructure etc. etc., why does the government not take care of these things?!
    Is there no common sense left in this nation?! Why does nobody demand from its government to focus all efforts (especially financially) on fixing issues right here at home first ! Imagine how much this country and its people would benefit from billions (maybe even trillions) of dollars not being sent out to other countries !

    August 2, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  18. Benjamin

    Here's a controversial, unpopular opinion. Being a non-politician who is not dependent upon the American people for my job, I'm free and clear to state it.

    We keep hearing that the American people want this, the American people want that, and that Congress is doing its best to respond to that.

    But why are the people suddenly considered experts in what's good for this country? At best, the people are probably most knowledgable in what they do for a living. But unless they've spent years extensively studying economics, government, policy and so on, they (and I certainly include myself in "they") actually have no clue what they want.

    And we can't be blamed for our political ignorance. We have real jobs (hopefully), families to raise, lives to lead. We don't have the time to become experts on all of the issues that affect us. Even congressmen, who's full time job is to be fully knowledgable on every issue, have a full time staff that does nothing but research the issues, to say nothing of the Congressional Research Service, which is a body of around 1000 PhDs whose full time job is to do research for Congress. We ordinary Americans don't have a staff, and we don't have CRS. We are lucky if we are even completely informed on just ONE political issue, the one that matters most to us, be it abortion, taxation, or whatever. I imagine most of us are only partly informed on even the one issue that matters most to us: we know the arguments that we like. But we don't even know the other side of the issue.

    Look at the polls. Americans claim they don't want their taxes raises. Unless you phrase it in the form of raising taxes on the wealthy. They do want the wealthy to contribute their fair share. They want to cut spending. Except on the programs that benefit themselves. Can't touch those.

    Politicians are NOT out of touch with the American people. In fact, because they are desperate to get re-elected, they are far TOO in touch with what the American people want.

    There's a reason that in our system, not every issue is decided by referendum. Ours is a representative democracy, not a direct democracy. That's logical, because of the reasons I stated above: ordinary Americans don't have the knowledge base to directly make their own decisions about the country's future (go ahead and argue with me on that one, but if you aren't a PhD in several different areas, including economics, domestic questions, foreign questions, and so on, you'll never convince me that you know enough to lead MY country. I know I don't know enough).

    But because of that, we need leaders who are more concerned with the country's welfare, and less concerned with being re-elected. That's what's lacking now. Political courage is eclipsed by political expedience. And that, my fellow Americans, is a huge shame.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  19. sircharles19

    The last eight years has been a dark time for all of us American Citizens; we are paying taxes for and that, our leaders sitting in Washington are spending monies all over the place, giving our tax dollars to whomever they want, when we and our families who are in need, we are bypassed and never get help we need! It is time we not vote again for all our congressmen who are now in office; they can't even work totgether to acheive a common bond; all of this fussing over this and that which make's no sense. We got to do things and they know it; if we fail they all are to blame, whatever the det cealing is; it has divided this entire country because none of us really know's what it is about; and the democrates and republicians don't want us to know. To me, they are really embrassing America for what it stand's far. They are elected by the people for the people and they should do what they are elected to do. There is a lot of mischief on both side of the House Floor, some don't want this and some don't want that, no matter what, in the end, when we all die, it will not matter; but to leave behind work undone say's a lot for our elected officials. I am asking all American citizens not elect the same people back into the congress again, we need new eyes and younger thinkers who know's how to keep America strong and it people working. To much has escaped America for the goods of others and it should not be that way! Time out for the have(s) and the have(s) not(s); we all must set aside our personal feelings and solve all of our differencies and move aggressive to correct our nation of America. We don't have time for those who don't believe in good for all people. When we suffer in a group, we all suffer because we are no different than anyone else. All of these old congressmen must go if we are to have a better America for our children, their future and we must be able to called upon our government when times are hard as it is is now. At a minimum, they government must responde as we have given tax monies for them to do so; other than wasteful spending and sending monies all over the world instead right here in America! No more electing of the same congressmen into office for 113 Congress.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  20. SarahTonin

    Wolf .. what we have seen in Washington this past month is a direct reflection of what the voters did at the polls in 2010. The voters sent in many bold disrespectful representatives (Tea Party) and they got exactly what they voted for. The partisan division was deepened to a point of dysfunction. Unfortunately, it isn't going to change but people need to stop blaming Washington because these guys aren't there on their own.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  21. Lori

    Watching Mitch McConnell makes me want to be sick. He blames everything on the Democrats when his own party is mainly to blame for us even having 3/4 of the deficit that we had when Obama took office. Selective memory Senator McConnell, your Republican president George W. got us into TWO wars that are costing the American people billions of dollars A DAY! You and your party, the tea party want to yell and scream and act like children who had their sandbox peed in but yet do not want to give an inch and sacrifice anything! The only people that are taking yet a bigger bite out of the sacrifice sandwich are the middle and lower class people who are barely treading water as it is. This whole debt ceiling process has defeated me so much as a voting American for the past 22 years that I'm seriously considering not even voting in the next election. What really is the point Mr. McConnell? You and the rest of the people in office never listen to the people who are yelling so loudly. In the end you do what you want and what's in YOUR best interest.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • FoolKiller

      PLEASE don't vote. Give the rest of us a chance to clean up some of the mess you and your party of delusional spoiled children have left for OUR children.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • Loren Smith


      If you want to keep score then you should count all unfunded liability, which, is vastly the doings of democrat party.

      •Medicare: $24.8 trillion
      •Social Security: $21.4 trillion
      •Federal debt: $9.4 trillion
      •Military retirement/disability benefits: $3.6 trillion
      •Federal employee retirement benefits: $2 trillion

      The debate about the debt ceiling and credit downgrade was as much about the unfunded liabilities as it was the federal debt. The Tea Party gets it (despite being very rigid in their solutions) and if you think these cuts are a "Satan Sandwich"
      continue to do nothing.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Mike

      Oh how quickly liberals forget 9/11, then again the targets were targets that conservatives would be more interested in.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
      • VinUSA

        A democratic president did in 2.5 what George W couldn't in 8 yrs...

        August 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  22. Craig Killy

    The Tea Party's reasoning is not such a quagmire if you follow old ideas. Beginning with the election of Obama my swimming buddies at gym changed from diehard democrats (some leaning liberal) into unfamiliar company. To them, at stake was their life styles with investments, and savings, let alone their private empires at home or the country club. It was too much for them to allow such democratization. The thought of someone breaking into there social sphere unbalanced their standards. It seemed that the strength of their convictions was too much to bear so they evolved. A couple of my swimming buddies who attempted to persuade me into considering the tea party had to me, become wet rags. They wanted things the way they were, a separate class and they wanted to own the land not to see our country grow. We still swim at the same hole but on different schedules.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  23. Brett

    "That would mean pulling the trigger on $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts"

    Over TEN YEARS, which is a popcorn fart compared to what is actually needed to do any good. This whole process has been a sham and we, the American people, have been played for saps. The further down the road we push this problem, the worse it will get, by orders of magnitude. What happened in Greece is going to look like a Maypole dance by comparison to what we are headed for.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  24. Dave

    When over 51% of the public pays no federal income taxes, why does the media continue to make a big deal of polls that suggest that a majority of 57% (in one just quoted) think taxes should be raised on the wealthy. Doesn't it seem fairly obvious that the majority of the non-payers would suggest taking it from someone else, so the number may be closer to 6%...or maybe not....but we never see that number. Split the polls by TAX PAYERS/NOT PAYERS if you want to get a feel for relevant opinions. Mike is right....everyone should pay SOMETHING....otherwise they are not vested in how the money is squandered.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • American citizen

      Dave: The wealthy are part of the 51% that you are talking about.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  25. Wes

    When will we place probity above perfidy?

    August 2, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  26. usaf2

    Hello Blitzer!! the Wooolf in a Armani Suit!! why dont you run for the office since you know it all?

    August 2, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  27. American citizen

    November 2012 is a LONG time to wait in politics, many of the American people will forget this in a month or two and start believing the Republican lies and slogans about jobs and "lower taxes" again through the media and by watching Fox news/Fox sports/ Fox sitcoms...etc. The time to act is NOW, start the "Recall process" now and don't wait 14 months. In politics that's an eternity!!!!

    August 2, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Mike

      As an Independent and self employed, lower taxes does foster more growth. The trick is to implement a flat tax rate with no deductions, credits or loopholes for everyone. With such a system no group can be blamed for not doing their fare share in our system. Though I'm starting to believe that liberals aren't interested in a government that treats everyone fairly.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  28. bunkerhiller

    Right from the start, the new Super Committee has an incentive to fail. Let the cuts come "automatically," and no member of Congress will have to be responsible for them! Nice plot to abdicate the role voters sent them to play! This is just a face saving solution, and, frankly, I am outraged that the Democrats went for it.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  29. Cory

    Can someone explain to me how we (the American people) are supposed to trust the GOP when their last 3 adminstrations (Reagan, Bush and Bush) were responsible for 64% of our nation's 14 trillion deficit?

    August 2, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  30. Erich

    Your characterization of the entitlement reform as “cuts” is an inflammatory and headlines driven and at least a partial mischaracterization intended to scare the uninformed, create controversy and drive ratings. Yes, there may be future cuts, but give us the whole story. Very unlikely to be cuts on current recipients or cuts of any significance, if at all, on those due to be recipients in the next 10 or 20 years. Why did you choose instead not to scare those in their 20’s and 30’s who are looking at cuts of 20% or more when they become eligible because the system is defunct.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  31. gordyb

    This entire charade will come back to the GOP in the next election. We ( liberals) will be energized and remember how the Reps play the game. Blackmail, distorting the facts, putting party before country etc. This is only the beginning of a long debate and shame on us if we allow a small minority of wackos run and almost ruin the USA. Wait until these cuts hit the states and the pain starts to be felt. I am also tired of you allowing talking heads and politicians only spout talking points, it was like a broken record, over and over again. The GOP and their backers have been since day one trying to make Obama look bad. Don't you see the truth? This stunt was another attempt to get the black man out of office. How could we have any faith when McConnel states his job is to make the President a one term president? Don't these senators take a oath to support the country first? Anyway, we will not forget this next November.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Flalib

      Amen, brother. I hope we can "sustain the rage" long enough to get rid of the crazies.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Mike

      Sounds pretty much what the liberals were doing under the Bush administration.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  32. James

    Question? The Republicans... including the Tea Party, haven't taken responsibility for driving the country into a ditch during the previous Bush administration. What makes you believe that they have any concerns about the country when they are in the passenger seat? If, under Democrat's watch the country defaults, goes into the ditch while companies like General Electric take jobs overseas with reduced taxes funds from America, they will blame Democrats for policies that THEY required. By the way, media, being a business, is fostering the Republican dangerous lack of responsibility.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  33. One4Wisdom

    The Super Wealthy got everything they wanted, no questions asked, with the "TARP-Banks-Wall Street-Auto Industry" bailouts. The Super Wealthy got a humongous Welfare Check last December when the Bush Tax Breaks for the Super Wealthy was renewed. And NOW, we are told, they are getting everything they wanted yet again, namely, a complete exemption from having to share in the onerous burden of reducing the deficit, because there's no potential here for a roll-back of their Bush Tax Breaks (Welfare Benefits) for the wealthy.

    The U.S. media refuses to even deem this to be significant, probably because THEY benefit tremendously from those "Welfare for the Wealthy" hand-outs and they surreptitiously silence the issue by shifting focus to the "Default Crisis" – with the curt remark "something for everyone to hate," and with the errant national anthem "pass anything – anything is better than default." Well there's nothing in this plan for the Super Wealthy to "hate." The super wealthy are the only ones being rigorously represented in Congress, in the White House or in the media.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  34. Moby49

    What if we allowed each representative's compensation and benefits to be determined directly by their constituents? How many of these yahoos would make more than minimum wage?

    August 2, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  35. Hopeful in TX

    One thing we have learned over the past 19 months – trying to negotiate a compromise of a heartfelt fundamental and ideological belief just doesn't work. But, what can work is building a consensus that takes into account all the legitimate concerns raised. Building and reaching a consensus is not the same as compromise. Imagine what would be possible if the new special committee of 12, along with the other members of Congress, would open their typically closed minds to the possibilities. Imagine what could happen if they would move from a belief that they must not compromise to one that they must build consensus, allowing that those of opposing ideology and fundamental beliefs also have valid concerns and issues that must be both accepted and addressed. Wake up Congress and get a clue!

    August 2, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  36. mid_mainer

    The decision in November will NOT be between acceptance of the Gang of 12 plan or accross the board cuts. Rather, the Tea Party will take the Gang of 12 off the table as a viable option, leaving the choice between large cuts or accepting the Balanced Budget Amendment. The threat of draconian cuts will make the Balanced Budget Amendment as the most reasonable alternative.

    August 2, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  37. blf83

    It seems that no one in Congress feels obligated to speak truth. Talking points, whole-cloth fabrications, and pre-ordained biases seem to fill the ether with nonsense while we, the people, get screwed.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:30 am |
  38. Jokesterer

    The unfunded obligation of the govt is currently $60T and the annual tax receipts are currently only $2T for an impossible 30:1 ratio. The only way to even coming close to covering this amount is if tax receipts double and the obligation is cut in half. This gets us down to 7.5:1 which is manageable but it will crowd out lots of other things the govt is currently doing.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:07 am |
  39. bryan2568

    CNN should post a story on Vladimir Putin's recent comments. It should start an interesting discussion among the liberal bloggers.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  40. Donald in CA

    What happened to America, we are letting the right wing of this country turn us into a joke. The rest of the world are laughing at us. The tea party will be known in the history books as a group of people who brought america to its knees.
    Lord help us.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:44 am |
    • Mike

      The right wing can't turn us into the laughing stock of the world. The left wing did that decades ago, now they are working on destroying the last vestiges of America.

      August 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  41. johnmenacherjr

    Oh and by the way... I threw out my tea pot as it smells like a rotten dictator.

    August 2, 2011 at 6:16 am |
  42. johnmenacherjr

    ... And they were worried about bi partisanship? Geez both parties got together and in a Bipartisan movement thru the remaining particles of the middle class under the bus! Ever wish you could even afford to move to another country? no health care no jobs no future in this one except the wealthy and a bunch of dirty scheming politicians!

    August 2, 2011 at 6:15 am |
  43. Manumission

    Hey people, this is a huge, huge win for Obama and the Democrats. First of all the nut jobs in the Tea Bagger party were hoping that there would be no increase in the debt ceiling. They were literally wanting the country to fail financially, now. The Bachman's in the party were calling for the government to default, which is not going to happen. Sorry to the Tea Buggers – you lose. Even more so, has anyone noticed that if the debt commission does not succeed, then there will be HUGE cuts to defense? This is an automatic trigger – HUGE cuts to defense. This is an Obama win, all the way round. Sorry Bachman, you can take your racist, bigoted, white antics somewhere else – the American people won today, and the extremists in the Tea Bugger party lost!

    August 2, 2011 at 5:08 am |
  44. Paul Ballard

    Congress needs to realize you cannot cure unemployment by cutting massively government services when demand is weak and banks are not lending nearly enough to small businesses for them to hire more people. Faced with the immediate pressing problem of flagging private demand and growing unemployment, government needs temporarily to provide a strong renewed stimulus to the economy now.

    This is a serious problem : In recent days all major banks on Wall St have announced tens of thousands of layoffs to come. HSBC alone is laying off 30,000! Increasing numbers of Fortune 500 firms in manufacturing and services are shedding thousands of workers.

    But, rather than stimulating the economy, Congress – in its wisdom – has decided to sharpen the recession. Cuts to Federal, state and local government budgets will have caused a million of more layoffs of government employees this year alone. That's excluding government contractors who will also layoff people – as governments tighten their budgets.

    So, we will be faced with a real "perfect" but manmade (or politician made) storm. Both government and the private sector are laying massive numbers of people off simultaneously!

    The reasonable pragmatic response to this emerging employment crisis should be for the government to temporarily increase spending to stimulate an immediate reversal to higher economic growth. This is not that difficult to do – even though the 2009 Stimulus was poorly designed, with too much given over to tax cuts (even though unemployed people tend not to pay taxes!) and infrastructure (even though it takes too long to launch larger projects!).

    To give a strong immediate stimulus to the US economy, the Federal Government needs urgently to : (a) restore and continue fiscal support to states and localities to stem government employee layoffs and generate local demand through increased spending; (b) continue the payroll tax holiday for at least two years and extend it to the employers' portion too; (c) issue a time-dated non-depositable check for $1000 for all Americans whose AGI is $75,000 or less, and avsimilar check for an additional $1000 to every American who is currently unemployed.

    In addition, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve should exert moral suasion to encourage American banks – especially the large ones – to expand lending immediately to American small businesses. One way to do this could be to use the U.S. taxpayers' shareholder rights and creditor rights to call for banks where the U.S. still holds equity and debt to do so. The logjam that is causing the biggest U.S. companies to be awash in cash but unwilling to hire due to demand too low for their size, while small firms are starved of cash even for working capital, has to be broken before demand can be restored.

    If we truly want to avoid a lost decade (a la Japan) as well as a lost generation of long-term unemployed youth, the Federal Government needs to support states through efforts to increase spending on education now. It is truly sad and counter-productive that there are many university students now taking six plus years to graduate from four-year college programs because of state university cutbacks in core courses!

    So there are things that the Congress and the White House could be doing now to directly and forcefully address the impending economic crisis we're facing. It's incredibly sad that they are so blinded by ideology and an empty debate about out-of-date issues (such as tax and spending cuts will magically create economic growth – they won't!), that they cannot see what actually needs to be done.

    Let's hope they all wake up before the situation gets too much worse. The national debate we really need to be having – and which they should lead – is about the issues outlined above, not about the debt and the deficit – which will need addressing only later once our economy is growing strongly again and many more of us are employed again.

    August 2, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • Benjamin

      Totally agree. That's why I believe that Republicans are actually not interested in curing our unemployment ills. They'd rather have high unemployment so they can blame Obama for it and win the White House next election. It's not accident they haven't passed a single jobs bill. Not that the Dems have been much better; they NEED to foucs more on jobs as well. I have no idea what motivates their lack of focus.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  45. Stuart G

    There seems to be very few heroes in this manufactured "crises". The moderates from both parties seemed to be the only ones that made any sense at all. They will probably be banished to the corn field for putting America's interests ahead of their party. Easy money could be found by adjusting Social Security benefits to be provided for only those that need the safety net it was intended to provide. Increase the cap slightly on FICA. Eliminate Obama's health care until the country can afford it. Last, eliminate pork barrel spending. Now you have a meaningful start to structural changes with immediate quantifiable savings. Since politicians are only motivated by two things, reelection and raising funds for reelection, which one of the structural changes do you think they would reject first?

    August 2, 2011 at 2:21 am |
  46. Paul Ballard

    This debate seems quite irrelevant to the pressing immediate problems our country and the world face today. The economy is sliding into a second – perhaps deeper – recession (depression ?). 17% of American workers are jobless or on short-time – that's over 20 million people plus their families are affected, so say closer to 60 million people plus. Why ? Consumer demand is depressed. This is due to unemployment, the housing crisis. But also the banks we taxpayers bailed out at such great expense are not returning the favor – they are holding off lending to small businesses so they can hire more people. Meantime our schools are laying off tens of thousands of teachers – even though we're told education is vital for our country's future. Our infrastructure is crumbling – roads are more potholed than ever!

    By one estimate, if the economy grows at below 2% – as it is now, slow growth will increase the deficit and the debt even more than the cuts just passed by Congress.

    What we desperately need now is a new group of political leaders – ones who put the country first above their own petty squabbles and power-for-me-first approaches. We need leaders to truly address the real problems we are facing.

    Sure we will eventually need to handle the problems of the debt and the deficit. But we must first set our economy on a strong growth path. This will create lots more jobs so more people can pay taxes, thus increasing tax revenues.

    You're right Wolf! The thought of months more of this sad, politically motivated, irrelevant debate is enough to bring one to tears for our country.

    How can 535 men and women who have power, privileges and staff to help them know the facts, systematically focus on the wrong things at such a critical stage ? Really it beggars belief!

    August 2, 2011 at 2:01 am |
  47. Amy

    I am sick of politicians going to Washington and doing what THEY want, not what their CONSTITUENTS want! How many times will the Democrats cave in to the Republicans' demands? There might as well be a Republican Senate and a Republican president. It's too bad term limits for Congress members will never be passed. That's the FIRST reform that should be done. If Congress members could only serve 8-12 years, there would be less corruption and self-interests. Maybe next time the Obama administration will get out in front of important issues months in advance - rather than weeks - and start educating and rallying the public. How many times must Obama learn this lesson? Maybe the administration will learn to LEAD and put their ideas out for public consumption, rather than leaving everything to Congress. Maybe the next time an important issue is to be decided, it should be debated in public, rather than behind closed doors among only a few "leaders". The more people are informed and involved, the more they are likely to support an idea or concept.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Benjamin

      Unfortunately, we the People are not in a position to be sufficiently informed on the issues to make good, solid decisions for policy in this country. That's why politicians all have a staff – (even a congressman from a small district might have a staff of 6 or 8 people) to keep them informed on all the issues. On the other hand, I do agree with you that the Dems have been caving way to much to the Republicans. We need political courage which extends beyond simply the desperate need to get re-elected. Politicians need to put the good of the country before their own selfish desires. Maybe the answer is to have a term limit of one term on every office. That way, no one can ever get re-elected.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • Paul Ballard

      @Amy, Right On with your comment! We need more leadership from the White House. President Obama needs to start using his famous communications skills and get out there telling the American people how to create jobs and reinvigorate the economy. Cutting spending and wallowing in austerity won't cut it! Liked your comment!

      August 2, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  48. Mike

    Tax reform should encompass the simplification of the tax code. That is do away with all deductions, all credits and all loopholes for everyone with a the same tax percentage for everyone. Every American family should pay their fair share of taxes, anything less is un-American. The overall tax rate for those who currently pay taxes will go down, true those who don't currently pay a net of income taxes now will start to pay their fair share, but they need to start paying their fair share. There are families from all income levels that somehow don't pay a positive amount in income taxes this has to stop.
    For those idiots who continually harp on Tea Partiers, they are doing exactly what their constituents voted them in to do.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:06 am |
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