Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

President On The Deficit Crisis: "We're Running Out of Time"

President Tells Reporters "That's My Main Concern"

In day 5 of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, no agreeable solution has been made to raise the debt ceiling to keep America from defaulting on its financial obligations. 
If the deadline passes without a consensus between the parties, the results could be dire.

President Obama speaking during  Friday's press conference in the James Brady briefing room.  Photo/CD Brown.
Chief Advisor to the president, Valerie Jarrett, speaking on the Joe Madison show this week, explains.

"The affect on everyday people will be devastating", Jarrett said.

 "We've already heard from the rating agencies that they will consider downgrading on our debt.  If we default on our obligations, it's just like anyone else who defaults... you're creditors will lose confidence in you."  Jarrett further explained that interest rates could go up which would increase credit rates and mortgage lending rates.

"The stock market would inevitably go down, so people's investments would be at risk".

Senior citizens would also be at risk, possibly losing their social security payments.

"If we can't pay our bills, then how are we going to send out the 70 million checks we send out each month for social security, Medicare, and all the payments for our troops overseas?"

With all that at stake House Republicans are steadfast, saying they are against tax hikes to cut the deficit. 

"Tax hikes destroy jobs", Boehner said in a news conference this week. Boehner and his 'team' suggested that Washington has gone on a spending spree, one that he claims needs to stop.

Anyone following politics knows that Washington has always been on a 'spending spree', and has always raised taxes.  The debt ceiling has been raised 60 times without a mega dramatic episode between the two parties like we're currently witnessing.

While Jarrett described the president as a "patient man", and Obama himself said he's "bent over backwards" to compromise with Republicans, many are still wondering why Republicans would go to such great lengths to bring the country to its knees, despite the fact they claim they "don't want the country to go into default".

The Issue That Looms

Why is it a big deal now with raising the debt ceiling?  Why can't the decision to raise the debt limit be agreed upon now, after having been raised 60 times by previous U.S. presidents, but not with the current president in office?

All this posturing would have one believe one of two things, or perhaps both things. 
Republicans want to continue to enjoy the Bush era tax credits they've been receiving, or/and the Republican's antics are continued measures to try to show the president is weak and unable to lead and therefore should be a one-term president.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson (D-TX) on the Senate floor this week gave light, in a public setting, to the private, water cooler-like speculation that Republicans don't like having an African American president in the White House, thus their plan is to try to discredit him at every turn.

(We love Sheila Jackson-Lee)

"He is no different than any other president that has served, and I beg this House and I beg this Congress to treat him with the dignity that that office deserves,” she concluded. “Get on with our work. Get on with solving the problems of the American people – a diversely, multicultural nation.”
The pressure is on, has been on, to come together to do what is best for the country, but said President Obama yesterday in a news conference, "We're running out of time".

"That's what concerns me the most".

He Has This Hope. Others Not So Hopeful.

"My expectation and hope is, is that everybody, in the coming days, is going to be willing to compromise".

"And I’m hopeful that over the next couple of days we’ll see logjam break -- this logjam broken, because the American people I think understandably want to see Washington do its job".

Despite the deadlock President Obama still has hope.   When asked why he was so hopeful that a deal would be made, he responded, "Don't you remember my campaign?

The president said even after being in Washington for  two-and-a-half years, he continues to have hope.

"You know why I have hope?  It’s because of the American people.  When I talk to them and I meet with them, as frustrated as they are about this town, they still reflect good common sense.  And all we have to do is align with that common sense on this problem, it can get solved".

Not everyone is as hopeful, however.

If you really want to get to the heart of what this town is thinking about Washington politics, just talk to any of the protesters leading their own delegation - just outside the White House. 

Yesterday we saw a DC resident, Barbara Taylor, holding this sign.

Barbara Taylor concerned about the debt, and health care for seniors.  Photo/CD Brown.
She claims that since the president has been in office, for her, things have changed quite a bit.  She told us that because of president's freeze on government employee's pay she has not had a cost of living increase in two years.  Simple items like purchasing food, and basic care have been tough for the Congress Heights native.

Among the other items she dislikes is President's health care plan.   "We have free clinics in DC.  If people don't want to pay for health care, the shouldn't be penalized for not doing so."  She claims the president's current health plan doesn't benefit senior citizens.

Ms. Taylor tell us she has since switched her political affiliation from Democratic to Republican. (She also tells us she is bi-polar).

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