As we approach the point where we will be putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk by not raising the debt ceiling we had Washington engaged in more gun-slinging, with most involved checking their brain at the door. The President’s weekly message again returned to the theme that any agreement on the debt ceiling must include both spending cuts and some changes to the tax code that will eliminate tax breaks that are no longer defensible. The President was greeted by a fusillade of fire from Republicans after his last press conference, and his weekly video, despite staying on message, sounded a more optimistic note than he did at the press conference.
The President is having to deal with responses like the one crafted today by Senator John McCain on CNN. McCain said that there would be no compromises on raising the debt limit because voters in the last election voted Republican. McCain did not mention the fact that Republicans failed to adopt the Democratic agenda when voters sent Democrats to control in 2008. He neglected to mention that Democrats control the Senate and the White House. John McCain never lets the facts get in the way of a good story: from CNN.
“The principle of not raising taxes is something that we campaigned on last November and the results of the election was the American people don’t want their taxes raised and they wanted us to cut spending,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “They don’t want compromise.”
No question that some on the Republican right do not want compromise. Some on the Democratic left reject compromise as well. It is up to leaders to cut through the nonsense and strike the best deal possible for the country. And whatever your thoughts on the desired result nobody in their right mind could advocate for letting the debt ceiling deadline expire. Well, maybe that does not include John McCain, who seems to advocate in his CNN interview that we blow ourselves up now, because the debt will blow us up down the road. No, I am not kidding:
“I think that this catastrophe or short-term meltdown that we’re facing isn’t nearly as bad as the meltdown that we’re facing unless we get our deficit under control,” McCain said.
So McCain does not deny that failure to deal with the debt limit issue is a catastrophe, but since we are not dealing with the debt issue to his satisfaction then we may as well end it all now. A shocking line of thinking. And by the way McCain never explains how you balance the federal budget without some new revenue without slashing programs that he claims to support, like defense spending.
As usual the best comments of the day came from a Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles:
“I think Washington has its head in the sand.” “Democrats won’t address entitlements, Medicare and Social Security. and Republicans don’t want to talk about revenues or defense spending. And the fact is we’ve got to do all of that,” he said. “You can’t avoid your responsibility of balancing the budget. And in this case, they ought to submit their resignations, frankly, if they put us in a situation where we’re in default.”
The Mayor is right. They ought to grow up, or hand in their resignations. Get the deal done, and make the hard choices that need to be made. And whenever the negotiations occur keep John McCain out of the room. Give him a map and have him pick the next few countries we should invade. (or bomb)