Political Fence Divides Washington, Debt Talks Still A Stalemate

By Efrain Nieves

Last night President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner addressed the country on the debt ceiling debate. After listening to both Boehner and Obama speak one thought came to mind.  Sounds to me like there is no chance of a  bipartisan plan that would satisfy both sides. It has gotten ugly.  

During President Obama’s address last night, he walked us through a few key past events. He reminded us of mistakes made in the past decade that led to this huge deficit. He stated that:

For the last decade, we have spent more money than we take in. In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus. But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card.

Following this statement, Obama gives reason for his spending and introduces a plan. The plan includes cutting domestic spending, defense spending and cutting ” the waste and fraud in health care programs like Medicare – and at the same time, let’s make modest adjustments so that Medicare is still there for future generations.” The plan also includes taxing the “wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.”

President Obama ended his speech urging Americans to call their congressmen/congresswoman to end the political division and finish the deal. Once the president was done giving what I thought was an “invitation to continue to negotiate” speech, Boehner had his turn to give a rebuttal and tell Americans once again why he could not agree with President Obama. In my view Boehner’s speech was nothing more than a complaint. The same complaints he gave since first becoming speaker of the House.

He again focuses on Obama’s spending calling it a “spending binge” and again gives a bashing Obama statement. Boehner stated “President Obama came to Congress in January and requested business as usual — yet another routine increase in the national debt limit — we in the House said ‘not so fast.’ Here was the president, asking for the largest debt increase in American history, on the heels of the largest spending binge in American history.”

This is the same story we hear from Boehner time and time again. Every time I hear Boehner give the same “President Obama is responsible for the impasse” speech” I come to the conclusion that he really has nothing to bring to the table. Just like magic, a few minutes later, Boehner did offer an alternate plan. 

“Last week, the House passed such a plan, and with bipartisan support. It’s called the ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ Act. It CUTS and CAPS government spending and paves the way for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, which we believe is the best way to stop Washington from spending money it doesn’t have. Before we even passed the bill in the House, the President said he would veto it.” Boehner said.

How will the Speaker’s plan stimulate the economy? How will his proposal get our small businesses back on track? How will this create the JOBS Boehner promised to help create?

Conversely, how would President Obama and the Democrats counter with a feasible alternative plan that not only raises taxes but creates an environment ripe for investment and brings confidence to investors? Would the government help business absorb some of the healthcare costs that cripple and limit employment prospects for the majority of Americans? How would the President convince the GOP that time is of essence?

It is time both Democrats and Republicans understand that it’s not just about raising the debt ceiling. It is about making a fundamental decision that affects us all. America is beginning to look weak from within. In the meantime, China roars.

Boehner’s Address to the Nation on Debt Talks

Obama’s Address to the Nation on Debt Talks

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