Debt ceiling scares and spending

A wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread. This is what Obama, with his fiscal cliff plan, threatens us with.
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Politicians and the media try to scare the public, and Congressional newcomers, into raising the debt ceiling with no real spending cuts. But the public might not be buying it anymore.

Latest debt ceiling maneuvers

Yesterday the man now holding office as President held meetings with the Speaker and Republican Floor Leader of the House of Representatives. Rumors started flying about a new deal—$3 trillion in spending cuts but no new taxes. Then everyone involved flatly denied it later that afternoon, and still deny it.

In addition, Standard and Poor sent some accountants to lecture the House, and especially House freshmen. The message: raise the debt ceiling, or else. (That Standard and Poor failed to warn of the Recession of 2008, no one saw fit to mention.)

Conservatives, understandably, do not trust Barack H. Obama. But now, liberals don’t trust him either. Maybe Obama could use a deal, to show that he can make one. But Democrats need an issue to run on. Heartless Republicans threatening to push everyone and his grandmother off the cliff is their perfect issue. They don’t want Obama to give that away. If he makes a deal that includes any spending cuts, he will.

Media bias

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, author of the Cut Cap Balance Act of 2011, a debt ceiling remedy

Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-6), author of the Cut Cap Balance Act of 2011. Photo: United States House of Representatives

The clear biases of the media are showing. CNN and ORC International polled 1009 adults on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Most of the results are what one would expect of a mainstream media poll. For instance, 64 percent of respondents prefer a deal to raise the debt ceiling with both spending cuts and tax increases, against 34 percent for a deal with spending cuts alone. (No one ask them specifically about a deal with tax increases alone.) The sample also accuses Republicans of acting irresponsibly on the debt ceiling. On whether Obama has acted responsibly, the sample splits almost down the middle.

But CNN and ORC got one result that they won’t even talk about. 66 percent of respondents favored the “Balance” part of the “Cut, Cap, Balance” plan that passed the House on Monday. (The Senate voted to lay that measure on the table at 10:50 a.m. Today.) Those same respondents opposed the measure that the “Gang of Six” proposed.

Conservative reaction

Conservative groups urged their mailing-list targets to call their Senators to urge them to pass the “Cut, Cap, Balance” bill. How they will react to the Senate’s laying that on the table is anyone’s guess.

Concerned Women for America created a new TV spot to show how they feel about a government that spends too much. In it, a woman endorses a new patent medicine called “Spenditol,” as “Congress’ answer to everything.” (Apologies to Geritol and to entertainer Ted Mack, who made it famous.)

Spenditol—makes you feel better now, and pushes off the really bad stuff [until] later!

Frank Luntz, in a special to Fox News, released a test of that ad. He found that Democrats, even more than Republicans, liked it.

Eleven days remain until the Treasury Department must choose what the government will pay out, and what it won’t. The man now holding office as President has scheduled yet another press conference.

Featured image: the classic Weimar-era illustration of wheeling a barrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread.

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