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Gary Shapiro

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Enough Already!

Posted: 07/31/11 04:50 PM ET

Enough already! Americans want our political leaders to stop fighting and cut a debt limit deal. While Americans are concerned about jobs, our leaders are destroying the dollar, the economy and the nation by their failure to compromise and extend the debt limit.

Leadership requires compromise. Compromise has always been a substitute for violence. We compromise with our friends and within our families. We do it in our jobs and business relationships. Our forefathers did it in drafting and approving the Constitution.

Our leaders must compromise now, not only to save the dollar, but to save the country. A downgraded dollar means higher interest rates, which means everyone will pay for Washington's failure. Equally disturbing, the dollar's fall as the world's reserve currency would be devastating to our economy. The consequences are not only economic; our stature in the world and its confidence in America would plummet if we don't resolve this silly situation.

The president and all members of Congress swear to uphold the Constitution and they pledge allegiance to the United States -- not to preserve Medicare, lower taxes or any specific interest group. Other pledges are serious but must be subservient, especially when their interpretation is arbitrary, arguable, foolish and by one unelected individual. Whether closing tax loopholes or ending temporary tax benefits are actions that should be considered, tax increases are debatable; however, God has not spoken on these issues nor are there any legal doctrines at play. Even Republicans disagree on the best way forward.

So how is it that one unelected person can make a Biblical pronouncement and inspire such fear in Republicans?

If they are serious about the deficit, Republicans have to step up and offer something in exchange for large spending cuts. The most obvious is to eliminate the Bush tax cuts on the top earners. The deficit is so bad and our tax share of GDP is at such historic lows that it is difficult to justify letting these tax cuts continue.

Democrats have to step up also. They talk a good game about seeking cuts in the deficit, but they have offered little other than unspecified cuts far in the future. More, President Obama's attack on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's budget proposal and on distractions like corporate jets is simply foolish and divisive. This type of rhetoric is unhelpful as it is inaccurate. It builds distrust by fomenting class warfare and makes finding solutions to the big spending programs problematic.

Every day, business leaders negotiate deals because they know it is in the interests of their companies. But our political leaders, whose company is the entire nation, are negotiating in the best interests of their party and the next election rather than putting needs of the nation first.

While they try to game each other, America and Americans will suffer. If this unpatriotic rhetoric and partisanship continues, I suspect Americans will put a pox on both their parties and all three of their houses and look for alternatives in November 2012.

This is not a Democratic or Republican country; it is our country. And as long as we are sending kids overseas to risk life and limb defending it, we can at least ask, expect and even demand our leaders act like adults. It appears that both parties' failure to address the tough cost-cutting issues means that neither party truly cares about our children, born and unborn, who will bear the burden of our mistakes today.

King Solomon wisely tried to resolve two mothers' claim to a baby by proposing the baby be cut in half. This forced the real mother to come forward, while the bogus mother thought it a fair compromise to kill the baby. Our nation is about to be cut in half -- when will someone step forward to save it?

Unfortunately, I fear both parties will destroy the country rather than compromise with the other side. For shame!

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the U.S. trade association representing some 2,000 consumer electronics companies, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, "The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream."

 
 
 

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