In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama said: "Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit." Seven years later, the nation's debt has doubled. Today, a U.S. government shutdown is continuing for the second week with no clear end in sight.
"What do Republicans want in exchange for ending the government shutdown? If you know the answer, congratulations -- because Republicans sure don't," claimed columnist Marc A. Thiessen in his latest Washington Post column, but Republicans claim that President Obama refused to negotiate on issues of debt and spending but worse, he has not shown any sign of engaging with Congress at all.
While both sides have been blaming each other, the political debate has now pivoted to the debt ceiling. Currently, everyone is concerned over whether the government will be able to increase the spending limit by Oct. 17.
However, many Americans are thinking: "For three years now, Congress and the White House have been piling up problems little by little, building up to this moment. The debt limit and Obamacare are just a pretext, but in the big picture we see that Washington is dysfunctional and that this must end soon."
A CBS News poll found that Americans blame congressional Republicans more than President Obama for causing the government shutdown. According to the poll conducted last week, 44 percent blame the Republicans in Congress for the shutdown more than Obama or the Democrats (35 percent). Moreover, a Fox News poll of registered voters showed that 42 percent feel either Republican leaders or Tea Party Republicans are responsible, while only 32 percent blamed either Obama or Democratic leaders. Another recent Washington Post-ABC poll found that 70 percent of the public disapproves of Republicans' tactics compared to 51 percent who disapprove of Obama's tactics.
I hope the debt ceiling will be raised by Oct. 17. If not, we will face many problems such as climbing interest rates and plummeting stock prices, which will then affect the global economy badly. It will then begin spiraling downward, and millions of Americans won't be able to receive their Social Security and Medicare.
Many experts feel that President Obama and the Democrats must not give in. They suggest that if Oct. 17 arrives without negotiation between Republicans and Democrats, the president has only one option: Mr. Obama has to ignore the debt ceiling and order the Treasury to continue to pay all of the nation's bills.
As you might remember, in 2011, Congress authorized a raise in the debt ceiling in exchange for a $2.4 trillion deficit reduction for the next 10 years. It's time to redo this again: The debt ceiling has to be increased to avoid a default, and they should be determined in forcing a debt fix within a certain timeframe, such as three months or so. However, this time the growth in spending shouldn't be reduced. Instead, spending should be reduced.
One way or another, the problem has to be solved as soon as possible. Both parties have to remember that the U.S. has many problems that it needs to solve and does not need this chaos to deal with as well.
Also, postponing a solution is not without problems. I am not sure if the sides are bluffing or not.
If so, they should remind themselves more often that they cannot just gamble on America's future.
For more Arzu Kaya-Uranli click