Stephanie's Political Arena

Critiques and Perspectives on National Politics and More

Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling

Deal… No Deal… Deal… No Deal… DEAL!

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As the The New York Times reports this evening:

President Obama and Congressional leaders of both parties said late Sunday that they had agreed to a framework for a budget deal that would cut trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade and clear the way for an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.

Speaking during a press conference earlier this evening, President Obama indicated the deal reached between Republican and Democrat leaders on Capitol Hill would bring federal spending to its lowest levels since the Eisenhower Administration.  It would also create a special bi-partisan Congressional committee tasked with preparing a report to be submitted to Congressional leaders by Thanksgiving for a floor vote within both chambers.  The purpose of the report (not to mention the committee’s existence) is to provide a framework on further reducing the federal deficit.

Yet, President Obama also said it is not the plan he prefers.  “I believe we could have made the tough choices on entitlement reform and tax reform right now, rather than through a special Congressional committee process.”  Hmmm… was he not paying attention during all of those Congressional budget discussions this spring where those very topics came up?  Did he not previously state that such reforms – produced by Republicans, I might add – would only damage, rather than benefit, programs such as Medicare and Social Security in the long run?

If it’s one message he did stick to, however, it’s forcing wealthy Americans to “pay their fair share.”  Apparently, the $787 billion “stimulus package” those wealthy Americans contributed to back in 2009 wasn’t enough to be considered their “fair share.”  

In any case, Congressional leaders will present the deal they reached this evening before their respective caucuses tomorrow prior to both chambers taking a vote – hopefully in time for Tuesday’s deadline. 

The music industry has already launched its lobbying efforts…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoS52fVtVQM

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Written by Stephanie

August 1, 2011 at 3:47 am

Taping the Cracks in the (Debt) Ceiling

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Wow!  Has it really been nearly two months since I posted anything?!  This summer really has been going by fast! 

To the loyal readers of this blog, I offer my apologies for the hiatus as it has been a very busy summer.  It started off with my youngest brother graduating from high school and moving onto basic training with the U.S. Army, and things have not slowed down since.

In complete contrast to my summer schedule, things have certainly slowed down on Capitol Hill these days as Congressional leaders devote their attention and energy to the federal debt ceiling, and the short-term and long-term implications the final agreement reached between both sides could ultimately have on the financial health of the country… not to mention the global economy.  While a deal has yet to come to fruition, Asian markets are already falling amid fears of the U.S. defaulting on its massive loan obligations.

“With just days to go now before the Aug. 2 deadline, investors who had previously written the impasse off as political games are now going to seriously consider the possibility of a default,” Martin Slaney of GFT Global Markets told The Wall Street Journal

“It is time to get serious about stopping the spending in Washington, DC,” House Speaker John Boehner told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.  He then elaborated on the current impasse between Republican and Democrat Congressional leaders in finding common ground on the “debt talks” between the former’s plan to cut spending and the latter’s plan to raise taxes and extend U.S. borrowing authority through 2013. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyF1lYZphcg 

Given my complete lack of substantive knowledge and expertise within the realm of economic and fiscal policy, I would be the very last person I would consult with on government debt negotiations.  However, I do want to point out that when taxes rose under a certain previous administration in Wisconsin, it cost our state close to 200,000 jobs and a number of businesses.  That’s just my small-scale observation to consider within the larger, national picture.

Whether by coincidence or not, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi of the European Central Bank recently published an article in Foreign Affairs titled Avoiding the Next Eurozone Crisis, which focuses on the impact the Greek debt crisis is having on the European economy – specifically the euro – despite Greece’s economy accounting for only two percent of the eurozone’s GDP.  While the U.S. is not part of a “monetary union” per say like the European Union, the strength and weakness of the dollar certainly affects the global marketplace as we’re currently seeing with the Asian markets at this time. 

The Greek example should serve as another testament (if it hasn’t already to some leaders) as to how imperative it is that Washington quickly develop a plan to start reducing our national debt, but without disrupting our still-fragile economy.  And as Speaker Boehner indicated to Wallace today, an election should not factor into such discussions.

In the meantime, I’ll just continue doing my part in at least helping the travel industry stay afloat in this economic environment and during these ongoing summer “debt talks” in Washington… and hopefully finding more time to keep posting updates.

Written by Stephanie

July 25, 2011 at 4:47 am