A BIPARTISAN LOOK AT THE RECENT DEBT CEILING COMPROMISE

Posted: 08/10/2011 in General Information, Where We Stand
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To Our Members …

For an easy read of a bipartisan look at the recent debt ceiling compromise, please take a look at this short article from our partner, BIPAC. Come back to our website and visit us. We will be providing you insight from BIPAC on issues that are important, and that affect us all.

Bob

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With the debt ceiling deal done, it is time to get serious
By Greg S. Casey

It has been just over a week since the debt ceiling compromise was passed.  It is a lot more complicated than it appears and we will get to the analysis of those intricacies later.  For now, whether or not you liked the deal, the fact remains the outcome only postponed the tough decisions on fiscal and tax reform that must still be made.

I spent the days since the “debt deal” in real America, talking with dozens of people from all political persuasions, from all over the country, employees and employers, rural and urban.  I wanted to know what they thought before I said anything more.  I found their disdain for the partisanship and their frustration with Washington is greater than I imagined.  It is greater than anything I’ve seen before.  Repeatedly I heard, “I’ve been a lifelong (fill in the blank) but I’m not going to be anymore.” Yesterday, Gallup said public disapproval of Congress is the lowest it has been since they started asking the question.

Simply put, Americans have lost faith in the Federal government’s ability to honestly address, let alone fix, our economic woes. They yearn for statesmanlike leadership and a serious conversation where there isn’t any reference to either political party. To them, the three-letter word standing in the way of a solution is neither GDP, nor TAX but EGO.

Few Americans were subsequently surprised by Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S credit rating.  For months, credit rating organizations signaled a downgrade was possible if policy makers didn’t do something substantive to resolve our nation’s systemic addition to deficit spending.  Rather than dicker with the details or castigate the messenger, most Americans wondered
what had taken so long.  Although the debt deal finally enacted might have been the best that could be accomplished under the circumstances, it didn’t meet the substantive change standard.  And it wasn’t just the way it happened that so troubled the S&P.  We shouldn’t forget a downgrade seemed possible BEFORE the debt ceiling became the vehicle fiscal hawks used to force some kind of deficit reduction.  In all likelihood, a “clean” debt ceiling bill without deficit reduction would have resulted in the same downgrade.  Unfortunately, true to form, some in Washington have now chosen to label this a “tea party downgrade.”  That is precisely the kind of political finger-pointing and denial of realty that so infuriates Americans.

Between now and the end of November, the President, Congress and those with influence in the process, must find a way to deal with reality.  In order for this nation to get its house in order and  facilitate economic growth, we need fiscal reform that addresses entitlements and tax reform that addresses rates and exemptions.  Without fundamental spending reform, entitlement spending will consume ALL federal revenues within the next three decades.  Without tax reform, the U.S. will be at a competitive disadvantage that will pinch every corner of our economy.  For both sides, the resulting economic growth is worth the trade.

I am not picking sides.  I am not embracing any scheme over another. I am, however, reflecting the frustration of a very angry public, willing to throw the rascals out if a truly meaningful resolution is not reached. I sense Americans have simply lost their patience with partisan bickering and inside the beltway deal making.

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