The strongest statement Obama made last night in making the argument for his”balanced approach” that would include tax increases for the wealthy was using a quote from a GOP legend Ronald Reagan who asked during his presidency: “Would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share or would you rather accept larger budget deficits, higher interest rates, and higher unemployment? And I think I know your answer.” The debt ceiling was raised 18 times when Reagan was in office.
Bottom line: Political gamesmanship has no place in today’s discourse, especially with so much at stake. Yes, the debt debate is crucial but the American people want to hear about jobs. If you put people to work, the government generates more revenue period. Making severe cuts at this point in a tepid recovery would bring more uncertainty and unemployment — a point stressed by several renown economists and business leaders. There’s no evidence, as Boehner stated, that spending cuts will fuel job creation.
In a previous blog, “What the Debt Ceiling Means to Your Financial Future,” I advocated for all of you to reach out to your congressional representatives as the president voiced last night. We have no choice but to pressure those in Washington to act responsibly and fight to protect our financial well-being. We should use the hours we spend tweeting to further galvanize our friends, acquaintances and contacts around this pressing issue. This activism should extend to election time as well.
As evidenced by the spectacle in the Beltway, it’s up to us to demonstrate that politics and partisanship must take a backseat to pragmatism and people.