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8.01.2011

On the Debt Ceiling...

When I turned in for bed last night, I was a little disgusted. $2.8 trillion on a debt projected to be over $20 trillion by 2020 is like putting a band-aid on an arterial wound.

After weeks of political turmoil, I thought that meaningful change would take place. I thought this might be the catalyst that would change our course (Ah, the "Grand Bargain"!) for the better--some legislation that would signal the positive reform in spending and the tax codes that would plot the course for a more prosperous future.

Entitlement reform. A decrease in defense spending. Re-thinking our approach to foreign aid.

I was excited to see how we might rethink a few of these issues.

Instead, we get a quick salve that gives us a rubber stamp in the eyes of our foreign debt holders. The deal allows us to pay our bills (last night, NBC Nightly News showed hundreds of our military service personnel wondering out loud whether they would be paid--I mean, sheesh!) and honor our obligations.

That said, and as the pundits have opined here, I feel like this was a squandered opportunity by our leaders. If President Obama doesn't have the political capital to roll back the $1.6 trillion in tax breaks that President Bush gave our wealthiest citizens and corporations, then things don't look good for a second term.

And I'm sad to see that.

But last year's midterm elections showed the American public's sentiment toward his first two years in office. He stepped into a politically loaded situation. Like George H.W. Bush, he'll likely be a martyr (when Bush's dad raised taxes to pay our debts, he was roundly thumped by Bill Clinton).

That's if this thing gets passed. As our local political writer Ronald Littlepage likes to say, stay tuned, folks...

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