Power of Story Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -

Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (1 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   2 comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

The Debt Ceiling Impasse: The Myth of Grand Bargains and Win-Win Unicorns

By       Message Arianna Huffington       (Page 2 of 2 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags  Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Author 57344
- Advertisement -

Interestingly, one of the most eloquent voices on the subject has been Larry Summers. "The biggest problem the country has right now is not the budget deficit," he said in an conversation with Walter Isaacson in Aspen. "The biggest problem the country has right now is the jobs deficit."

And he brilliantly summed up the reality that is eluding the negotiating parties in Washington: "an extra percent a year on the growth rate for the next five years will do more for the budget than any amount of the entitlement-cutting that's under discussion." As Summers explained on Charlie Rose, every new dollar of GDP takes 25 to 30 cents out of the deficit in year one. And yet that simple economic truth does not appear to be included in the "everything" that Obama claims is "on the table."

"It is crazy if you think about it," Summers told Isaacson, "that we have schools across this country where we tell our kids that education is the most important thing in the world, but we ask them to study in classrooms where the paint is chipping off the walls."

"I'd rather see us focus on the jobs deficit," said Summers. "I'd rather see us focus on the public investment deficit. I'd rather see us focus on the human capital deficit. Those are deficits that we need to focus on also."

- Advertisement -

Why do people have to leave office before they can unambiguously and unequivocally speak the truth?

As Peter Orszag, now also no longer in office, wrote for Bloomberg View, a sluggish-growth scenario would add $2.5 trillion to the debt by 2021, more than the $2 trillion in cuts being discussed in the debt-ceiling package.

And a way to ensure the sluggish scenario is to do exactly what they're doing in Washington right now. "I only ask... as Congress looks at the timing and composition of its changes to the budget," said Ben Bernanke to the Senate Banking Committee, "that it does take into account that in the very near term the recovery is still rather fragile, and that sharp and excessive cuts in the very short term would be potentially damaging to that recovery."

- Advertisement -

So why aren't we focusing on jobs and growth? Summers' admirably

candid answer to Charlie Rose: because "those without jobs aren't in a position to contribute to political campaigns, and to a disproportionate extent are the people who don't vote."

But it's not like the circus that's rolled into Washington is particularly popular with the people who do vote, either. In the latest Gallup poll, only 16 percent said the deficit was the most important problem facing the country today. Almost twice as many said it was jobs, and more still said it was the economy in general.

Is it any wonder that people have lost trust in the political system and that the vast majority of Americans think we're on the wrong track?

In the meantime, the president is engaging in the cosmetic populism of ending tax loopholes for corporate jets (which he mentioned not once but twice during his White House presser last Friday). I'm all for ending tax breaks for corporate jets, but what we need is not small-time symbolic gestures, but the tools to -- as this president put it not so long ago -- "win the future."

Instead of winning the future, Obama is facing two bad choices: a short-term debt-ceiling extension or going into default (unless he's willing, which he doesn't appear to be, to invoke the 14th Amendment).

So why did Obama go along with the idea that a long-term budget agreement should be tied to the debt ceiling increase instead of using all that time, his bully pulpit, and his considerable rhetorical skills to make the case to the American people that our long-term deficit crisis should be solved with the most powerful means available: a growing economy that puts people to work?

- Advertisement -

By wanting to be the only reasonable guy in the room, Obama is now facing two very unreasonable choices. And it was all entirely unnecessary. Regardless of who scores a political win as a result of this game of debt ceiling chicken, America is the real loser.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. She is also co-host of "Left, Right & Center," public radio's popular political roundtable program, as (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

"Slightly Above Zero": A Slogan for Our Age of Diminished Expectations

The Media Gets It Wrong on WikiLeaks: It's About Broken Trust, Not Broken Condoms

Mitt Romney Brazenly Lies and the Media Lets Him Slide

2011: The Year the Power Went Off in Washington

Postcard From Greece: This Should Not Be About Austerity, It's About The Future Of Democracy

Debating the Two-Party System