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  • On Debt, Don’t Let Politicians Rush Through Another Bad Deal

    Our future should not be determined behind closed doors.  Yet that’s where the White House and Congress are holding secret talks about our debt ceiling and about taxes and spending.

    We deserve openness instead.  We don’t need another farce when the players suddenly burst from their huddle, line up Members of Congress, and rush through their plan on a quick count.

    The two keys are first, frequent and detailed progress reports from the now-secret talks, and second, ample time for review of any agreement.

    We’ve been told that participants supposedly agree on how to save $1-trillion.  But they’ve given zero details.  Their $1-trillion claim is suspect because they could be planning political gimmicks rather than true and immediate spending cuts.

    In addition to ending the secrecy, we need complete and thorough disclosure of any agreement well in advance of any votes.  Those who don’t do their work on time should not claim that things have become too urgent to give us time to study and discuss their agreement.

    President Obama has slow-walked things and made them worse by distancing himself until late in the process.  Sadly, Obama often dodges big issues by asking a commission to study them, or more typically by passing the buck to Vice-President Joe Biden.  President Truman’s famous “The Buck Stops Here” sign belongs in the Oval Office, not on the Vice-President’s desk.

    But President Obama doesn’t deserve all the blame.  The House of Representatives did its job and passed a budget plan on-time this year, accepting the controversy that went with it.  But the Senate has not passed a budget for almost 800 days.

    Congresswoman Anne Marie Buerkle (R, NY) keeps a running clock on her website, showing how long it’s been since the Senate did its duty.  She’s introduced the “Just Do Your Job Act” to deny paychecks to the Senate Budget Committee and to Senate leaders who aren’t getting their work done.

    This Senate and White House foot-dragging is a tired old Washington game to create a sense of urgency.  Then that urgency is used to rush a last-minute proposal through Congress before the public knows the all-important details.

    Congress has made 72 hours their minimum acceptable time frame for legislation to be available before voting.  This should be the complete and final details, not just outlines or drafts of proposals. Additional time would be better because every extra day and hour will reduce the ability to slip things past the public.

    Senators Jeff Sessions (R, AL) and Orrin Hatch (R, UT) wrote President Obama this weekend to urge him to protect the public’s right to know.  First, they asked for full details of what’s being discussed in secret, including “the most recent version of the proposals that were discussed, including a list of any tax increases for which the White House reportedly advocated.”

    Sessions and Hatch also urge that any deal not be rushed.  They request that time be allowed for full analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, for congressional hearings on any proposal, and most importantly for the American public to know and review the details.

    As they wrote to Obama, “Too often, we’ve heard promises of cutting spending and fiscal reform that have been empty and filled with gimmicks. That cannot happen again. A last-minute deal, delivered under the threat of panic, will not be acceptable.”

    Sessions has added his request that the full details of any proposal be available to lawmakers for seven days before they are asked to vote on it.

    Ample time is important.  Can anyone recall when any rushed-through plan ever lived up to its hype?

    The country deserves not only an open negotiation process, with detailed status reports, but also plenty of time to review any agreement.  The current sense of urgency is no excuse to replace today’s crisis with a new set of enormous problems.

    The public deserves to know everything that’s being proposed in talks, and whatever may be included in a deal, with every “i” dotted and every “t” crossed.  No last-minute additions, no pork-barrel and no favors to buy votes.

    It’s time to end the wall of secrecy.  President Obama, tear down this wall!

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    21 Responses to On Debt, Don’t Let Politicians Rush Through Another Bad Deal

    1. Brian Weber says:

      The Federal Budget talks are of grave concern to many Americans, but many could also care less. We as a people have become so very complacent that there aren't many issues that will stir our ire. But with the budget, a sensive chord was touched when discussion continued on 'fixes' to Social Security and Medicare. The public is not as unaware as politicians would like to believe. The fixes being discussed will amount to "reductions" to future and possibly current benefits. It is obvious that there are abuses in both systems that should be addressed but the fear is that the abuses will remain unscaved while those who need, and have paid their dues into the system, will lose benefits under proposals forwarded by the GOP. Let's address the concerns together so that we can obtain a workable solution and, at the same time, have Obama replaced ASAP.

    2. OhioHistorian says:

      I am sure that the American people will richly reward Obama and his negotiators from the Republican side when they complete negotiations with no substantive cuts and a huge ceiling increase. Both parties think that they can win elections if they take it "off the table" until after the elections.

      Don't know about the rest, but I won't vote for anyone who supports increasing the deficit by more that 5 percent, and only then with $2 trillion in cuts from government spending. The GDP-government spending continuously declines, and these fools don't get it.

      • Oldguy1776 says:

        Perhaps "We the People' haven't made it clear enough that we don't want the debt ceiling raised yet again.

        I personally will consider any vote for raising the debt ceiling again as a request from those voting to raise those voting 'Yea' to the increased spending as a request to have their services as legislators terminated.

        Being an independent, I think such requests from both Parties should be honored!

    3. Jeff, Illinois says:

      Most americans believe / know that a common-sense solution to the debt crisis must include some additional tax revenue. The GOP has proclaimed that a non starter. In the past, raising the debt ceiling was a necessary given, done several times during the last administration. The only reason the debt ceiling is a topic this time is because of a deep-rooted hatred for the present administration by the GOP. This is a dangerous and idiotic game, that can not help the elusive quality of economic confidence. Even former GOP electorate acknowledge the present GOP bunch are out of line . . playing a political game with a fiscal imperative. They are banking on fear mongering of the informed . . . aka the Tea Party et. al. instead of getting on board and supporting OUR president who has a near impossible task of turning around the economy devastated by de-regulation, free trade and insane wars, from previous administrations starting with Reagan.

    4. Jeff, Illinois says:

      Yes there is a large debt and a whole host of challenges . . Solution, . . increase tax revenue to that of the Clinton administration at the very least, reduce the defense buget, get us quickly out of world conflicts, rebuild our infrastructure, protect our industrial base by tackling the trade imbalance. Enforce regulations on the Wall Street and the Banking industry, keep states from competing with other states over jobs (a microcosm of the world economic trade imbalance). Re-enforce the Sherman Anti-trust laws. Stop subsizing the oil industry. The stimulus pkge did not go far enough given the economic mess inherited, but what was done saved the american auto industry and many many jobs that would have been lost with out it in general.

    5. Chris says:

      debt? reduce debt? 20 billion dollars a year to provide air conditioning in Afghanistan? 300 billion for that failure known as the WAR on drugs? John Boehner's bar tab at the country club? This ain't no Tea Party this is a full scale Class War and the aristocrats are kicking the American PEOPLE in the gutter with the help of the Republican Party. Eat the rich, NOW!

      • Ruth says:

        That's true someone will have to take the fall for the government's failures. It's not going to be the rich or even the poor. The Christians will be vilified in the world's eyes. The Jews are already being vilified as occupiers in Israel. Christians will be seen as radicals and right winged.

    6. Jeff, Illinois says:

      Correction . . fear mongering of the UN-informed . . aka the Tea Party . . .

    7. Pam, Texas says:

      While it's nice to see both liberals and conservatives read articles on the Foundry, it seems the point of this article has been lost on a few of those offering comments. Regardless of where you place your trust politically, the economic state of this country is undeniably on the brink. How we resolve this situation will determine the future of this country and most probably, the world. I believe most Americans take pride in our freedoms, and given a choice, want to know exactly what promises are being bartered in the back room by the people we have elected to represent us. How else do we know if we're truly being represented, or if our elected officials are representing the interests of their private agendas and/or biggest donors?

    8. Eba says:

      Hitch the horses to the post, take the suggestions of Senators Sessions and Hatch, then the informed public might, just might, listen.

    9. Ruth says:

      Being informed is half the battle. Obama and his cronies don't want us to know what they're doing. They are making up as they go or they have a long term goal in mind.

      In addition to ending the secrecy, we need complete and thorough disclosure of any agreement well in advance of any votes. Those who don’t do their work on time should not claim that things have become too urgent to give us time to study and discuss their agreement. The country deserves not only an open negotiation process, with detailed status reports, but also plenty of time to review any agreement. The current sense of urgency is no excuse to replace today’s crisis with a new set of enormous problems.

    10. RennyG says:

      I won't vote for anyone who votes for a debt increase, "under any circumstance!!!"

    11. Spiritof76 says:

      Jeff, from Illinois illustrates why we have a debt problem. The debt got to this bankrupting level because of people like Jeff that seem to think it is a Republican or Democratic Party problem. It is my problem and most unfortunately, my children's and their children's problem, foisted on them by the greedy people of this country. Jeff, what right do you have to confiscate the earnings of people on the pretext of their standing? Did they rob you to make that money? It is disgusting that a whole lot of Americans think that their lifestyle must be supported by confiscation through political power. We celebrate July 4th and then we go right back to legally plundering minority of Americans and burden those that are not even born yet. I say freeze the debt and make the government live within what it takes-$2.2Trillion. I also say that before we raise taxes, we confiscate the wealth of all the Hollywood lefties, Pelosi's millions, Soros's billions and Michael Moore's wealth. After all, ins't that waht they promote. Let us make them put their money where their mouths are.

      • Lee says:

        Makes sense. Why not have the Hollywood types fund the National Endowment for the Arts and PBS. There are others who voluntarily contribute to these as well. This would save the taxpayer. Government grants should exclude wasteful research like 'treadmills for shrimp' (if that is a real one). No riders put on bills that have nothing to do with the original bill ( kill the 'pork'). Over time it all mounts up.

    12. papacan says:

      I completely agree with your post. You hit the nail on the head with regards to a large part of the problem that we have in this country. When we have people with insane belief's like those of Jeff from Ill. These are not rational thought's, they are the idea's or belief's of our uncareing reps. in congress who only care about being returned to office.

    13. Charles says:

      Jeff, grow up! If you think that Mr. Obamas socialist class war policies and ideas are so great, you are free to move to Venezula or Cuba or any other country that believes in that system. Oh and feel free to take Mr. Obama, Michelle Antoinette, and the girls with you!

    14. Rich W. says:

      Well said, Ernest! I will be surprised if they do anything significant. With the last budget for the remainder of 2011 the republicans claimed $38 billion in savings, but the CBO calculated only $352 million. Seems like all of these guys and gals have only a bigger federal government in mind. Over the past two decades, federal spending has increased nearly 300%, which is more than 10 times greater than our median income has gone up. It has got to stop!

    15. Tired says:

      The answer is simple. The USA government does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem! You can’t keep spending what you don’t have. Do not increase the limit. WE ALL SAY NO. We love this country & this should not be an issue (paid by us) for employees of the taxpayers. I don't know of any companies that give employees better benefits then the owners have. We however do with our government. Think about it!!! The government employees do not even abide by the same rules that we do. I am tired of this———————-

    16. robert says:

      It really, really disturbs me that citizens like Jeff can't see the light. He REALLY believes what he says and that is the scary part. There are so many misguided that allowed this socialist president to get in the white house and he is RAPIDLY destroying OUR America and replacing it with a socialist group of states under central control. It should be obvious by now (to everyone) that this is an intentional, calculated and well coordinated effort !!!!!!!!! I am really hoping that REAL Americans will wake up before it's too late, but I fear we may have passed that point. I really hate to die knowing what we have done to our future generations. So Jeff, if you voted for obama to fundamentally change America to the United Socialist States Republic (USSR), you are achieving that goal and America is truly lost.

    17. Pete Houston,Texas says:

      This could be even easier. If you don't pay taxes, you don't vote on a national level. If you don't own property, you don't vote on a local level. Since we all pay sales tax, that allows you to vote on a state level. Since most revenue comes property taxes for schools and most government income comes from revenue from income. Then the spending would be done in accordance to the wishs of those contributing the revenue. Today we have people spending the revenue that don't put into the collection plate. This is not a cold hearted country but those of us that work, do not mind helping those that are helping themselves. Those that are not trying to make their situation any better, I don't really worry/care about. How do you care about someone that does not care about themselves.

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