There could not have been a more disagreeable duo than President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner in their talks last night about how to deal with the looming debt ceiling. This deep rift is the focus all over the news, and everyone is choosing sides before the storm.
President Obama began with a brief history of the debt discussion and kept coming back to these two words: balanced approach. An approach that will encompass reduced spending and increased revenue. He implored the top two percent of America’s wealthiest (those earning more than $250,000) to pitch in, both by appealing to their patriotism and lauding previous efforts to contribute every time the government tried to reduce the deficit. He calmly and rationally divulged that Congress’ stalemate is a “dangerous game we’ve never played before, and we can’t afford to play it now.”
Learn About the Debt Ceiling Here.
John Boehner’s response to the President’s speech could not have demonstrated a more different attitude in the House. His resolutions were firm, his mind made up: one trillion dollars of spending must be cut. The only thing the two combatants agreed on was not defaulting on our debt. But, as our President said, if the “partisan three-ring circus here in Washington” can’t pass a resolution, the real crisis will be an even more thoroughly divided government.
Whether or not a balanced approach is possible or even feasible is now up to the House. Boehner showed Obama that America will not stand for any new ‘stimulus plans’ or Medicare expansions. Boehner relished in explaining how Obama made some bad decisions in face of a huge mess, but the former was the one who broke off talks on Friday. If he loses faith in our leader whom we elected to office in such a blatant way, who then can we rely on?
While Obama and Boehner fight over a “balanced approach,” the real balance has to be struck between political factions. Who’s to blame if we don’t pass a sustainable solution? Who cares? Drastic measures are not what we need. You can’t slowly pile on debt piece by piece and then knock it all down in one fell swoop. No, obviously this country needs a long term plan; something that will reverse all the money Congress has needlessly and, frankly, somewhat wrongfully spent over the decade.
So who has the answer? The President who cannot seem to garner enough faith in his House? The Speaker who edges away from compromise andcan’t return a phone call? There is no room anymore for this power struggle. It seems more like childish play. As the high-stakes negotiations with Congress to avoid financial default Aug. 2 slowly deteriorate, Obama takes his case to the public, and we wait for a response.