Debt Ceiling Deadlock

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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Where does the public sit? A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted last week revealed that 66 percent of Americans supported the Cut, Cap and Balance Act approach to reining in government excess, and 74 percent favor a balanced budget amendment. Yet despite being passed by the House, Cut, Cap and Balance was blocked from being brought to vote in the Senate on Friday. A “motion to proceed” was tabled by a 51-46 vote along party lines.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who called CC&B “perhaps some of the worst legislation in the history of this country” had originally scheduled a vote on the proposal for Saturday, but moved it to Friday at the last minute. This had many Republicans upset. “Senate Democrats should stop hiding behind a procedural vote to block a plan with two-to-one support from the American public,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). “The Senate and the president are in meltdown,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). “They have not figured out what they’re going to do. They have no plan, they haven’t put anything on a piece of paper. And the clock is ticking.”

Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) was furious. “It is outrageous that every Senate Democrat voted against even allowing a debate on balancing the budget within 10 years, a plan supported by two-thirds of Americans with wide support across all party lines,” he fumed. “Why are Senate Democrats so afraid to debate a balanced budget?” He then reiterated a position proposed by this columnist last week. “I urge Republican leaders to stop letting the President drag you back like children into secret meetings where he pretends to do something constructive…No more closed door meetings, no more phony compromises that don’t solve the problem, no more useless commissions.”

Unfortunately, such openness isn’t likely. On Saturday, the president held another private meeting, this time with Boehner, Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It went nowhere. Another meeting took place in Boehner’s office late Saturday. It included Sen. Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), all of whom were reportedly trying to reach a deal before the Asian stock markets opened late Sunday. 50 minutes later it was over. No deal was reached.

Afterwards, Harry Reid spoke with reporters. “I am deeply disappointed in the status of negotiations with my Republican colleagues,” he said. “I hope that Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell will reconsider their intransigence. Their unwillingness to compromise is pushing us to the brink of default.” That’s a rather remarkable statement from the leader of the Senate, where no budget deal has been passed for over 800 days, and nothing in writing has been proposed by any Democrat in either chamber of Congress to date.

The second meeting was driven by fears of a worldwide stock market selloff. Why Monday in particular? That scenario was promoted by the president himself on Friday. “I think it’s very important that the leadership understands that Wall Street will be opening on Monday, and we better have some answers during the course of the next several days,” he said late that afternoon. The president’s inference of possible market chaos is reminiscent of his remark regarding the possibility that Social Security checks might not go out unless the dispute is resolved. Both statements reflect the “never let a crisis go to waste” fear-mongering that is rapidly becoming this administration’s M.O. An M.O. which has business leaders like Bernie Marcus, Steve Wynn and countless others “sitting n their thumbs.”

As of late Sunday, bipartisan talks had broken down, and both parties were in fallback mode. On the Democrat side it was being reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was working on a $2.5 trillion deficit reduction package that would extend the debt ceiling until 2013. No tax increases were part of the deal. House Speaker Boehner reiterated his support for Cut, Cap and Balance, but with a two-stage process likely to include dollar-for-dollar spending cuts tied to commensurate raises in the debt ceiling. The backdrop for all the partisan maneuvering? As always, the 2012 election.

Will a deal get done? Undoubtedly. And while that’s a good thing, almost irrespective of the details, compromises and political one-upmanship, it is little more than the proverbial tree in a forest of uncertainty — and fear — elucidated by Bernie Marcus and Steve Wynn. In the final analysis, it is the steadfast dedication to big government solutions that will continue to impede job creation, regardless of whatever deal is reached on the debt ceiling. The August 2nd deadline will come and go. But the commitment to Keynesian economics, a weak dollar facilitated by QE2 (and possibly QE3), and massively burdensome regulations will remain.

Unless something unforeseen happens, one can expect the economic status quo to remain largely unchanged. A status quo that is essentially a hiring freeze driven in large part by fear of these economic forces. That’s the big picture. One that has been largely lost in the debt ceiling shuffle.

Arnold Ahlert is a political contributor to the conservative website JewishWorldReview.com.

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  • kblink45

    If anything does get done, it is to the credit of the Tea Party, not the Republican establishment. Legislators are professional cowards.

  • StephenD

    The President is shrewd and should be commended for his loyalty

    …to being Anti-American, self-promoting (extend ceiling to after the next election?!?), Socialist, Islamist leaning puppet he could be.
    I've come up with a mantra of sorts:

    You cannot maintain a Democracy with a President that Bows to a King.

    and…You cannot bring a Democracy to a People that prefer a King.

  • LindaRivera

    An inferior health care plan that no one wants and CANNOT afford to pay. The threat to jail and/or fine those who don't purchase the government enforced plan.

    Massive spending as if there is no tomorrow. Fighting wars we have no money for. Massive borrowing. The Massive giving away of Billions of dollars every year to other countries, including the oil-wealthy Middle East, Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Palestinian Authority organization who fill their war chests, build mansions and laugh all the way to the bank with free infidel money.

    Whilst in America, homeless shelters are filled to capacity; tent cities have sprung up all over the U.S. filled with desperate, jobless, homeless, NEGLECTED Americans.

    Massive debt. The massive printing of paper money out of thin air to DELIBERATELY create out-of-control inflation. There is no question that the total DESTRUCTION of America's economy is planned. The results will be horrifying. In the once wealthy and great nation of America, millions of Americans will become destitute, hungry and homeless with no money or resources to help them.

  • LindaRivera

    Organic, non-gmo avocado, fruit and nut trees and berries must be planted in all of our nation’s cities’ and towns’ parks to help the many millions of Americans who will soon be in a desperate struggle to survive.

    Watch it. And weep for our great nation and people:

    FALL Of The Republic – The Presidency Of Barack H Obama – The Full Movie HQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8LPNRI_6T8&fe

  • LindaRivera

    SCARY……

    Is this REALLY our AMERICA??????

    Know the TRUTH about the Government Health Care Bill H.R.3200 – Key Points http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcBaSP31Be8

  • LindaRivera

    I have tried repeatedly on this and other articles on the economy to post a comment from a specific internet article. My comment containing the article goes on, but when I leave the frontpagemag article and come back to the frontpage article (immediately), the comment is gone! I don't believe frontpagemag is removing the comment containing the article.

    I hope this comment will not be removed. The internet article by Bloomberg is still on the internet. Google:

    Obama Says U.S. Long-Term Debt Load ‘Unsustainable’

  • Supreme_Galooty

    The physical size of the federal government is bulgingly obese; it is unsustainable. That is obviously true and cannot be competently disputed without ceding massive amounts Liberty to the Leviathon. It is theoretically possible for all of us to quit our jobs and go to work for the government: "Government Shoes, Federal Glass Repair; DC Cleaners; Great American Wieners…."

    The salvation of America will include:

    1. Removal of Democrats from office at all levels.
    2. Banning of all teachers' unions.
    3. Across the board lay-offs of government employes at all levels down to your city.
    4. Massive spending cuts at all levels down to your city.
    5. Establishment of a ACTUAL educational program kept separate from today's faux educational miasma.

    Those few steps might go a long way toward restoring some Liberty…not only here, but around the world as well.

  • Amused

    Flat tax and term limits ….will solve 80% of our problems . Otherwise you're just spinning your wheels .

    • boomer46

      Eliminating pensions for Reps and Sens will take care of the term limits.

  • Asher

    The Message from Obama on the Debt Ceiling, was We will spend more of your money and you will get taxed more to pay for our out of control spending. His plan is anything but balanced! Boehner was To the Point, and Pursuasive without all the flowery B.S. rherotic that Obama uses to Deceive his victims!

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