Keller @ Large: The Debt Ceiling Debate

BOSTON (CBS) – This is a showdown no one can afford to lose.

On Monday, President Barack Obama warned that the United States could slip into another recession if Congress fails to reach a deal that lowers the federal deficit and raises the debt limit.

Lawmakers have until early August to come up with a plan before the country defaults on its loans. But, what will it take to get something done?

I’m getting dizzy from all the spin coming out of this negotiation. And for a debate where each side accuses the other of not having the courage to do the right thing, both sides are noticeably lacking in the courage to tell the truth.

“Nobody’s looking to raise taxes right now,” said President Obama on Monday.

WBZ’s Jon Keller is at large:

With all due respect, who does he think he’s kidding?

The White House plan does raise taxes by closing tax loopholes, spun by the president as a pittance extracted from the mega-rich.

“We have gotten rid of some of these egregious loopholes that are benefiting corporate jet owners or oil companies,” said

Popular targets, yes, but they add up to a drop in the debt bucket. And the AP reports other targeted loopholes could mean higher taxes on small business and the middle-class.

“We’re talking about 2013 and the out years,” said President Obama.

As if that renders the tax hikes painless.

The spin-o-meter says the president’s revenue spin doesn’t pass the smell test.

“The American people understand that tax hikes destroy jobs,” said House Speaker John Boehner.

But, the Republican spin that taxes are the devil’s work rings just as hollow.

They said the sky would fall when Bill Clinton raised taxes in the early 90’s, but it didn’t. In fact, an economic boom wiped out the deficit.

Speaker Boehner was reportedly ready to cut a deal for cuts and taxes, but was shot down by hard-line conservatives in his house.

“To prevent a default, a bill must pass the Congress, and a bill that doesn’t meet these tests can’t pass the House of Representatives,” said House Speaker Boehner.

Translation: it’s political reality, not the truth of his spin that brought Boehner to heel.

Too bad this crew can’t legislate as cleverly as they fabricate.

One true fact both the president and speaker agree on: a default next month would be a damaging fiasco. But, does either side have the nerve to drop the bogus spin and do the right thing before then?

President Obama and congressional leaders will meet again Tuesday afternoon to try to reach a deal on the debt ceiling.

More from Jon Keller
  • emom

    We Don’t want to bankrupt this country Oh but its almost already to late, if we default on our loans WHO will come in and take over,,, CHINA, Canada, WHO…. If what Clinton did back in the 90’s worked and folks had jobs and money , then what did he do to achieve that. What is it we need to do to bring down the deficit. Yes making cuts on the rich and political world will only make a small ding … that’s because there are far more lower and middle class folks in this country…So it been far easier to tax them to hell , take away what’s good for them and make them suffer. God forbid we take to much from the rich and the political world…. They would not be able to live…Make them all pay a huge portion of their health insurance, take away corporate credit cards. Stop the bleeding of our wallets and bleed them… But wait, if the Federal decides to tax us watch out , because the states will then put their spin on their tax-o-meter and take even more. In the end it becomes a bleeding economy due to greed.

  • tsal

    I am so sick of the words from the top 1% that we have to “share” the burden. I am also sick of hearing the term raise taxes as if it is across the board. And further irritating is the comment that closing the loopholes and raising taxes on those who have prospered in the last decade while the majority have suffered is only a drop in the bucket. The comment seems to imply that because it doesn’t cover the entire deficit we should simply continue to allow the fraud to continue. There is not one band-aide here. Giving back some of that average annual increase of 24% by the top 1% over the last decade (the rest of us saw less than 4%) and doing away with tax loopholes for big business absolutely has to be on the table.

    Boehner and family want to get rid of entitlements. Guess where those cuts end up? You are right – on the backs of the middle class. Although Boehner and crew don’t want to raise taxes on the top 1% and fix the corporate greed because it might hurt who? The top 1% of course.

    Does the dems proposal have problems and raise questions – you bet it does – but it at least takes the average American into consideration and not just those who line their pockets at election time.

    emom, your last sentence said it all and said it well. The one word that collapsed all other great empires —- greed.

  • massman

    tsal – Well said. Here are a couple of links to some stats, which should really make your heart bleed for the wealthy.

  • Denise

    Why doesn’t the government start treating themselves like the rest of the world – they should pay into their health insurance like the rest of us! No more life time anything… one way to fix problems is to take away the exemption status for those that have it and are making the rules and laws.

    And why should the US continue to support others when they can’t support themselves! Come on… Who balances their check books at home? Stop taking from those hard working AMERICANS!!!! Stop handing out to those that have never contributed to anything other than our debt!!!!! Why should those that have worked their whole lifes and/or served to protect our rights be the ones that have to tighten their belts because the “government” needs to WHAT? Continue spending the way they always have and not “give” anything back? Some of us have had to take unpaid time – because that’s what the companies required to stay afloat! What do they get 5 months off w/ pay – and what have they done… put us in more debt???? I’ld fire my accountant if they were this bad! What’s wrong w/ these people?

    • tsal

      Exactly, Denise. Why does the government get the benefits we do not and how will they ever take it seriously if they don’t see AND LIVE the real problem? Minnesota is shut down yet some “essential” people are still being paid. Those “essential” people include (according to CBS news) the governor’s housekeeper and chef. This is beyond absurd. Of course in Minnesota as in the entire country, the question is whether to take more money from middle class or get rid of the tax breaks for the top 1%.

  • Willow

    How many people would be out of work if the company they worked for ran it the same as the way the government handles finances. I agree that members of congress need to get with reality and experience what the rest of us do. Let them pay for their own health care, and what’s with the exhorbitant pensions, as well as health care, for life? Of course, we can complain all we want, and none of that is going to change. The debt will continue to grow, and the working class Americans will suffer to keep up with the debt payments.

  • emom

    What is the middle class amount, $24k, $50k, or $100k. It seems what is considered middle class is very broad. Yet the lower income to poverty level is so small. Does Washington see that someone that only makes under $25k struggles , does not have the opportunity to have what others have, they are also making to much to be considered poverty and there for will not get any kind of assistance, even as much as food stamps… For some that live struggling, Taxes are more than they can bare.. I have been in those situations and struggling takes a toll. When all politicians can and will do is dictate what THEY want from US, its more than most can bare. MORE taxes, gas, products, excise, property, ‘not to mention cigarettes, alcohol, restaurants, taxes on our bills, electricity, gas, phones, cable, from where I see it I pay 10 times more TAXES to this state and this country YET I get nothing out of it… I can not claim the majority of these taxes on my income taxes, But I have to pay them still,,,, I estimate I pay on an average of about $6000 – $8000 in taxes which include payroll this maybe either low or a bit high but with what I have taken out from my pay and an average of what I pay thru varies bills and other places it seems very plausible. To me its to much and since most of it we can not recoup its to much…..Washington and our state government NEEDS to truly see how the average person struggles to survive, but every day they turn a blind eye to the well fare of their people and take more and more with little regard to HOW these people will be able to do so… I want all of Washington and every states political force to live like the average person or better yet live life on the edge , the brink of poverty to see and witness how a government can be so callous , uncaring, BLIND, unforgiving , and heartless when this country is on a crisis, with no immediate resolution to solve this problem… Just think in the next 12 years when the next generation of preschoolers enter into this bankrupt world what they would say to their government,,,,, Why didn’t You care enough to PREVENT the bankruptcy of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA……………… What a legacy to past forward to our children’, grand children and great grand children …. OUR FUTURE IS BLEEK AT BEST…. I frankly am sick of it GOD HELP US………..

  • Jim M

    I am SOOO SICK of politicians complaining about the other side and blaming the opposition for the state of things! I think they should all be fired. In fact when the next election comes I am adopting the philosophy, “If they are in office I am voting for who ever the other guy is! These people don’t understand they are there for the best interests of the country and to represent the populace not foster their own agenda.

    I wrote to my senators and representatives to tell them how I thought they should vote on the issue of tax credits for the Oil Companies. For the record I am in favor of repealing those tax credits and want the oil companies to use their own profits to grow their business that is how it is supposed to be! One senator replied that she had voted to repeal those tax breaks but that the bill was not likely to pass the house. The other Senator finally after several weeks wrote back to say in a VERY LONG WINDED way that she had voted against the repeal and went on to say why it would hurt jobs if the massive profits of the oil companies were infringed on by increased taxes. I say, “Hog wash!”

    I wrote to my representative with the same message and he has not responded even though I received a survey from him in the mean time.

    I HATE it that the politicians are playing Chicken with the national economy like they are. Last time they did this they came to a temporary agreement at the very last possible minute. Why won’t they learn that the country needs to extend its borrowing to stay in business while they hammer out some agreement to cut spending AND increase taxes on the most wealthy of businesses and tax payers. I bet wealthy individuals don’t even mind that much.

    To the politicians I say: Learn compromise! Stop playing chicken with the economy! STOP digging your heals in and stonewalling this process! The name calling, the finger pointing, it is childish and foolish. You do not have my respect any more.

    Jim M

    • tsal

      Great comments Jim M. Compromise is the key but I just came across a survey done by YouGov asking republicans and democrats whether they prefer a congressperson who compromises or if they prefer a congressperson who sticks to his/her position no matter what the cost. I was floored by the results.

      53% of all respondents prefer compromise

      when broken down by party:

      68% of republicans prefer no compromise

      34% of democrats prefer no compromise

      How can a two party system – how can so much as a family – operate without compromise? Isn’t that how dictatorships operate?

blog comments powered by Disqus
Taz Show
Download Weather App

Listen Live