They’re play­ing a game of chicken with Amer­ica

Cherokee County Herald - - VIEWPOINTS -

Folks, this is some­what ur­gent: Can we stop Congress from caus­ing ir­repara­ble dam­age to our nation’s econ­omy? Is it pos­si­ble to raise our na­tional debt limit with­out more of the par­ti­san ran­cor, blame game or name-call­ing?

Or will we de­fault on our debts be­cause one side has ruled out putting ev­ery­thing on the ta­ble even be­fore real se­ri­ous ne­go­ti­a­tions start?

The truth is that we have to raise the debt ceil­ing to pay our bills. We need to bor­row more money to meet our cur­rent debts. We don’t have the money on hand, plain and sim­ple. If we do not bor­row to pay our debts, our in­ter­est rates will rise; loans them­selves will dry up. It will be dis­as­trous.

Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury Tim Gei­th­ner sent lawmakers a letter be­seech­ing their swift ac­tion in pay­ing our bills. A de­fault was “un­think­able,” he said, and added that fail­ure to raise the debt could cost “mil­lions of Amer­i­can jobs.”

How bad is that? Maybe we should ask mil­lions of our fel­low cit­i­zens still strug­gling to make ends meet just how tough the econ­omy is right now.

Nev­er­the­less, some of our nation’s lead­ers are choos­ing to play a game of chicken with Amer­ica. It’s an ex­ceed­ingly dan­ger­ous game. More­over, it is treach­er­ous be­cause both ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties know that just their mak­ing the threat to hold our debt pay­ments pris­oner re­sulted in a lower credit rat­ing.

Let there be no er­ror here. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, knows the reck­less risks he and his party are tak­ing with our na­tional credit, our econ­omy, with mil­lions of Amer­i­can’s jobs — just so they can shape Amer­i­can in their own im­age.

It’s true that as a mem­ber of the U.S. Se­nate, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama once voted against rais­ing the debt ceil­ing. Still Democrats helped to move the ball past the goal posts and raised it un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

Obama ad­mit­ted that his vote was a mis­take. But make no mis­take, we can­not af­ford — com­ing off the worst re­ces­sion in a gen­er­a­tion to play games with frag­ile our eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

Boehner told Fox News’s Chris Wal­lace that fail­ure to pay our debts “...would be a fi­nan­cial disas­ter not only for our coun­try, but for the world­wide econ­omy.” He added, “You can’t cre­ate jobs if you de­fault on the fed­eral debt.”

WAL­LACE: “ So, de­fault­ing on the full faith and credit is un­ac­cept­able to you?”

BOEHNER: “I don’t think — I don’t think it’s a ques­tion that is even on the ta­ble.”

Ter­ri­fy­ingly, play­ing with the debt limit is very much on the ta­ble. The Speaker laid out the Repub­li­can plan to play Rus­sian roulette with our good credit in a speech to Wall Street this week.

The Speaker threat­ened to with­hold Repub­li­can votes to pay on our debt, with­out mas­sive con­ces­sions from the pres­i­dent. In what amounts to a kid­nap­ping note, Boehner de­manded the pres­i­dent hand him ev­ery­thing they com­mand of him — in­clud­ing no tax in­creases for the wealthy.

World busi­ness lead­ers are not amused with the Repub­li­can brinks­man­ship games. The United States “risks erod­ing its stand­ing at the core of the global mon­e­tary sys­tem,” the chief ex­ec­u­tive of PIMCO, Mo­hamed El-Erian, wrote in the Fi­nan­cial Times.

Here is what is ripe about Boehner and Can­tor’s high-noon show down: Wall Street ex­perts dis­agree with the Repub­li­cans. The facts are, for all the tril­lions in cuts Boehner de­mands, the na­tional debt will not be re­duced a red cent.

Spend­ing cuts alone don’t pay down debts. We also need eco­nomic growth and in­creased rev­enue to pay down the na­tional debt. Wed­nes­day we got the news that Obama has re­duced our monthly debt by one-half, com­pared to this time last year. Yet, we still owe $14 tril­lion.

That means the wealthy must forego their ex­tended tax hol­i­day, which if they don’t, will cost the U.S. Trea­sury $1.3 tril­lion in lost rev­enue.

I’ve never been more se­ri­ous: What the Repub­li­cans are risk­ing with this game of chicken is far more dan­ger­ous to our fu­ture eco­nomic vi­a­bil­ity and the dream of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans. Play­ing this game plays dice with our credit. The an­nounce­ment of this Repub­li­can stand­off caused Stan­dard & Poor to down­grade our credit rat­ing April 19.

If the Repub­li­cans per­sist in their game of “dare,” and our credit rat­ing is fur­ther down­graded, it will mean “must do” higher taxes across the board — and job losses.

Our nation’s se­cu­rity — all of it — is at risk now, to­day. The Repub­li­cans must stop this game of bul­ly­ing. Pres­i­dent Obama and the Democrats who still run the U.S. Se­nate must de­mand that we raise the debt ceil­ing now.

At this point, be­ing par­ti­san is sim­ply a game. Let’s not hold our nation’s great­est as­sets — our credit, our jobs and our fu­ture — hostage.

De­mand the par­ti­sans on both sides stop their threats and in­tim­i­da­tion, and vote to pay our bills.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.