Gazette Editorial Board
It’s reckless and unproductive. The government shutdown and congressional impasse on the debt ceiling, that is. The bitter standoff is in its second week.
As of late Tuesday, Democrats and President Obama weren’t budging on their resistance to negotiating with Republicans, whose leaders weren’t willing to reopen the government and allow the debt ceiling to be lifted beyond the $16.7 trillion level unless the other side of the aisle agreed to deficit-reduction negotiations. Republicans also have made demands to delay parts of Obamacare, the federal health care law, as part of the debt-ceiling conditions.
Meanwhile, many economists are warning of serious financial consequences for the economy if the federal government winds up defaulting on some of its debts after Oct. 17. Markets are getting jittery and so, too, are leaders around the globe. A slide back into global recession is feared.
We certainly agree that this country has far too much debt. But getting the budget back into better balance requires hard work at reforming what are by far the biggest tax-eating programs: Medicare and Social Security. There can be no good outcome for fixing those entitlement programs when lawmakers are fighting each other under the gun of a fast-approaching deadline. And as we’ve noted before, Obamacare is already rolling out, albeit on a bumpy path. Lawmakers should monitor and review it, then propose and debate fixes for its biggest flaws — or even eventually even throw it out if it proves to worsen instead of significantly improving health care and access.
Is this latest debacle the new normal in Washington? Heaven forbid.
Open the government and lift the debt ceiling, at least for the short term. Then do some real governing. Which must include compromise.
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