Washington gets failing grade on debt ceiling

The ongoing negotiations to increase the U.S. debt ceiling by August 2 continue to dominate Washington, but the outcome is still uncertain and criticism towards the process is growing.

The warnings of a foreboding disaster if the deb at ceiling is not raised are frequent, as the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in its recent report, which stated that federal spending would be reduced by 44 per cent after August 2.

But despite the warnings, the American public does not seem particularly worried about the future, judging by a poll from the Pew Research Center. It states that even though 40 percent anticipate major problems if the debt ceiling is not raised, nearly as many, 39 percent, predict no major problems at all. The survey also shows that Republicans are much less worried than Democrats. 53 percent of Republicans do not see any major problems if the debt ceiling is not raised, while that figure among the Democrats is 28 percent and among Independents 43 percent.

At the same time, a new CBS poll points to great dissatisfaction among the public for how both political parties, as well as President Obama, have handled the debt crisis. The Republicans in Congress are especially harshly criticized — 71 percent of all respondents disapprove of the way they have handled the matter.  58 percent say that the Democrats and 48 percent say that Obama have failed.

I think the figures in the latest polls indicate above all that people, outside of Washington, are tired of the whole issue and that the politicians cannot resolve the issue. I wonder if they even follow the negotiations in Washington longer, which EJ Dionne in the Washington Post today calls “wasted time” — Congress should instead have been discussing how to get the economy moving again, and how jobs could be created, he writes:

“This entirely artificial, politician-created crisis has kept the government from doing what taxpayers expect it to do: Solve the problems citizens care about.”

I agree.

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