As the debt-ceiling deadline approaches, it is time for me to chime in with my perspective as an independent moderate.
Democrats are right by considering additional revenues. Republicans are right regarding the importance of cuts.
Democrats are right by categorizing House Republicans as noncompromising ideologues. Republicans are right by wondering why President Obama did not embrace the Deficit Commission’s report earlier.
Democrats are correct that Republicans are protecting loopholes and taxes for the upper income. Republicans are correct that the Democrats are protecting entitlements. Interestingly, entitlements are not the issue because fixing programs as Social Security and Medicare would not be that difficult.
We have a climate that if President Obama gave the Republicans what they wanted, the Republicans would turn it down because they must disagree with him. Let us not forget that Senator McConnell (R-KY) restated his 2009 pledge of doing what he can to make President Obama a one-term president.
At this late hour, plans from separate camps are still dominating the scene. We have partisan plans that cannot pass the other chamber. A large Republican block opposes their Speaker’s plan. Minority Leader McConnell describes the majority leader’s plan as “pulling the wool over the eyes of the American people.”
In order to make the debt a campaign issue, Speaker Boehner (R-OH) aims for a six-month solution; thus the Senator Reid (D-NV) plan aims for 2013, thus off the campaign-season table.
As conservative columnist George Will proclaims that Congress is right to take a stand, let us not forget that it is also Congress’s responsibility to act responsibly for the nation. Maybe this satirical headline says it best: Congress Continues to Debate Whether or Not Nation Should be Economically Ruined. (The Onion).
As for President Obama, although he did not make the details of his ideas public (and I’m ok with that), he has tried to work a compromise. He is correct that the time has come to stop kicking the can down the road; therefore, I still encourage him to walk away from the ongoing conversations – thus placing the responsibility on Capitol Hill’s back.
As the economy continues to struggle, Washington continues to focus on the fall rather the leading the country forward. As House Minority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) says we must all sacrifice, I wonder if the middle and lower class has not sacrificed enough by the loss of employment, falling house prices, and losses to retirement accounts.
In a time when the nonfederal government sector (states, cities, counties, townships, and villages) face additional layoffs, cut in services, and an infrastructure in need of repair, what will be the source for needed revenue? In order to stimulate a new economic base, how do we invest in training, research and development, and innovation?
How are we going to differentiate, let alone fund, wars of choice vs. wars of necessity? How are we going to compete in today’s global economy with a twentieth century mindset? What will guide our global policy? How are we going to restore our place in the world, not isolate from it?
I have long proclaimed that the Democrats misread the 2008 election results, and the same is true for the Republicans in 2010. Although President Obama is vulnerable in 2012, the Republicans are doing what they can to push independent moderates away.
Meanwhile, as Rome burns, our decision makers continue to fiddle to the tune of self-interests and passing on a prime opportunity to make a difference.
Americans are rightly angry, frustrated and more than a little scared by this debt fight. It has only confirmed that our politics have taken a terrible turn. And how striking it is to have an emergency that has not been caused by our foes — but is entirely a self-inflicted wound. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to listen to more arguments from politicians — as well as pundits — and could actually wake up to a bold, courageous, bipartisan solution? David Gergen
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