With both parties heavily debating deficit reduction, what do you think is the best way to get the debt ceiling passed?
We all agree that getting our country’s fiscal house in order is not a question of if we do it, but how we do it. Deficit reduction is not an issue exclusive to Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals, but rather is an issue that affects us all—and one we need to face together as a nation.
But as families continue to suffer from the lingering effects of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, we also have a responsibility to address our deficit through a balanced approach that does not place the sole burden on the backs of seniors and the middle class, or hinder economic growth and job creation.
Secondly, and separately, we have an obligation to pay our bills, and to adequately adjust the federal debt ceiling to avoid default—the same way it has been done on over 70 occasions by presidents of both parties.
Defaulting on our debt would send the wrong signal to the rest of the world that America is not good for its debt, that we're not good for our word. We don’t want to be the next Greece, after all.
With the world watching and the stability of our economy hanging in the balance, it is absolutely wrong to play political games while our nation continues to move toward the brink of default. Holding the nation’s full faith and credit hostage is not the way forward, and definitely not a serious way of addressing our nation’s mounting deficit.
From Main Street to Wall Street, there are dire consequences to default. Stock prices could fall, taking a direct hit on families’ 401(k)s,
pensions, and savings. Housing prices could drop further and home sales could plummet. Social Security checks could be withheld and massive numbers of federal workers could be furloughed. And lower-income families would foot the bill, as interest rates rise and their debt payments increase.
But while Republicans have said they agree that we must pay our nation’s bills and argue that deficit reduction is critical to boosting the economy and creating jobs, they continue to fight for tax breaks for the wealthy while ending Medicare, rather than compromising on a balanced agreement. With the Aug. 2 deadline to raise the debt ceiling fast approaching, it is also short-sighted to address the important issues of Medicare and Social Security solvency under the last-minute haste of a fourth-quarter Hail Mary pass. This is especially true with regard to Social Security, which had no role in driving today’s deficits.
Raising the debt ceiling is not agreeing to future spending. It is simply honoring our commitments, and confirming to our partners the United States is true to its word.
Democrats can neither control nor predict how long Republicans are really willing to play chicken with the American economy. However we can state clearly and unequivocally that we take the nation’s full faith and credit seriously, and continuing to hold the debt ceiling hostage is simply dangerous and unacceptable.
It’s time for Republicans to get serious and work with Democrats to ensure America pays its bills.
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