No debt deal yet: GOP, Democrats ready rival plans

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  • common sense55 Springville, UT
    July 26, 2011 11:41 a.m.

    It all comes down to spending your money wisely. If the nation raises the debt ceiling by x amount of dollars, you would think they would counter balance it with x amount of cuts. Is it really any different than a normal family budget? You can only pay what you can pay, and if you take out more debt than you can handle, you're going to go bankrupt. We have too many programs that are worthless, and have proven worthless with the results they return. I propose that we end the worthless spending that both parties have contributed to, and balance the budget. If you think that we are in hard times now with this debt, just think of a time in the not so distant future when everyone will be hurting. We can't help others in need if we can't even help ourselves.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    July 25, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    They're not going to stop the posturing and grandstanding until the markets take a dive. We all know Wall St. controls the folks in DC. When the billionaire investors, banks and big business start to get concerned we'll see action.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 25, 2011 10:31 p.m.


    Right on! Rifleman, you claim the President doesn't have a plan. He has proposed a framework over and over. I would rather start with a framework were we can negotiate from than the non-starter proposals that the republicans make and then refuse to compromise one inch, and then claim the democrats are playing politics.

    I would ask why would anyone believe the republicans are serious, because there idea of a solution is we are right and you can accept our position or we will take our ball and go home. I for one hope that this little game the are playing backfires and costs them big in the 2012 election.

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    July 25, 2011 12:05 p.m.

    Too bad this nasty business caused BO to miss his golf and basketball game yesterday. And with the Posters permission I am going to take Nixon's nickname of Tricky away and give it to Reid. He certainly has earned it.... one of a kind!

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 25, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    Re: Petra | 9:00 a.m. July 25, 2011

    Polls aren't facts or we wouldn't need to hold elections to verify them.

    Obama claimed to have a $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan. The fact is he never had any plan whatsoever. If he is unwilling to reduce the deficit in 2011 why would anyone ever believe he'd be willing to do it next year?

    When people, and governments, spend more than they make sooner or later they go bankrupt.

  • Bugoff Houston, TX
    July 25, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    Now for all of the grand plan budget deals. It is all EnRon Accounting.

    There are few real cuts in these proposals. Gang of 6 was a tax increase. They will not balance anything due to the hidden underlying assumptions. The numbers (supposed savings) are no better than the math that was used to create them. Some might slow down the spending a little.

    Obama is insisting that Obama Care is off limits. He is also insisting on avoiding another debt debate before the election. He knows he will lose if there is one.

    The Reps have not handled this debt debate well but they want the issue hot just before the election (hence a short term deal).

    They want to be able to present to the Elderly a choice between cutting Obama Care and cutting SS/Medicare. They can't do that if they cut a long term deal on SS/Medicare now.

    The Young already figured out Obama is not in their best interest. If the DEMS lose the old vote (and they vote) they are major toast.

    The run up in the FED spending since 2007 is massive. It has to return to normal.

  • Anti Government Alpine, UT
    July 25, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    Here we are one week before the country "supposedly" will default on its debt (nothing but propaganda by democrats) and the pathetic democrats who run the senate and the whitehouse still have not put forth a piece of legislation.


    They have voted no on all the republicans legislation.

    Pagan, I thought Republicans were the party of "no"?

    Democrats have been nothing but pathetic on this serious issue. They have been so busy running to the microphone to play politics they have failed to put forth a shred of legislation to solve this problem.

    Kind of like the democrats have not put forth a budget for the last 2 years so they can continue spending whatever they want.

    Lets not forget though, our president did put forth his budget that would almost double the deficit in the next 10 years.

    The democratic controlled senate voted the presidents budget down 97-0. Our president can't even be taken seriously by his own party. What a pathetic failure.

  • Bugoff Houston, TX
    July 25, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    @Furry and Mormon DEM

    Your points are good. There is a massive miss guided Keynesian spending problem.

    There is also a revenue problem but that does not stem from taxes being to low. It stems from a structural recessionary economy. The US could and should return to the 2007 spending level. That would not balance the budget but it would buy a lot of time to try to get the economy to fully recover (employment down to 5-6%).

    It normally takes 5 years to recover from a recession caused by to much consumer debt. We are about 1/2 the way thru now.

    Further, there was both a liquidity crisis (Lehman Bros) and a consumer debt crisis (still ongoing in the form of housing defaults).

    The Fed has weakened the currency to get the export part of the economy to recover. That raised China's inflation. It also raised oil prices and the stock market.

    It has a weak wealth effect. People lost money on houses but are regaining their 401K wealth if they have one.

    The massive Keynesian spending by the DEMS (and Bush before them) has a short run effect but a long term price.

  • Bugoff Houston, TX
    July 25, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    At the moment the $ is stronger not weaker. There is no crisis in the market. It is down less than 1% which is random noise and likely profit taking. Ditto for Asia.

    Further, there is a high correlation between the EUR/$ ratio and whether stock are up or down in the short run. If the EUR weakens or the $ strengthens stocks go down. They also go up on a stronger EUR or weaker $.

    At this point there is no direct debt default effect on the market. That could change but technically the Government can't default as they would just print more money to pay the bills (a variation of QE3).

    A prolonged bout of QE3 could move the market as would higher interest rates.

    However, delaying payment on everything except T-Bills, essential employees, and SS/Medicare/Medicaid would probably not move the markets much if a decent deal seemed to be in the works.

    The Government CAN"T run out of money as the Treasury can just print anything they need.

    That would be inflationary and should raise interest rates but the US CAN'T default because they can print (like every other country that has it's own currency).

  • Petra Sanpete County, UT
    July 25, 2011 9:00 a.m.

    For the fact-challenged, here are some more :

    Fact - in a recent CBS poll, 66% agreed that we should have BOTH spending cuts AND revenue increase.

    Fact - in the same poll, 75% say they want an agreement to be reached, rather than allow the US to default on its loans.

    Fact - in a recent CNN poll, 63% say the Republicans have not acted responsibly in this crisis.

    Fact - in that same CNN poll, "more than 70 percent of Americans favor a plan that raises taxes on those who make more than $250 thousand a year, businesses that own private jets, oil and gas companies as well as ending the federal subsidies that those businesses receive."

    Fact - in that same CNN poll, "just 12 percent say they would support cutting the amount spent on Medicare, and only 22 percent would support cuts to Medicaid."

    These conversations between President Obama and leaders of Congress, however, are being run by THE TEA PARTY, not by the American people. The tea party is comprised of 19% of the American public.


  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 25, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    Re: xscribe | 7:37 a.m. July 25, 2011

    Specifically Obama said he wants to decrease our debt level by $2 trillion and he wants to start by increasing our debt level through 2014. Common sense says if you continue deficit spending today it's not likely that you'll be able to start paying down the debt tomorrow.

    If we increase taxes today it can only follow that we will have to double our taxes tomorrow ..... just to break even.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    July 25, 2011 8:08 a.m.

    A plan from the Democrats? That is more than Barry Obama ever did.

  • Petra Sanpete County, UT
    July 25, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    The misinformation and disinformation about this issue so rampant and so very obvious on these boards. There obviously still exist people who only get their news from one source (or worse, from talk shows) and are being told to have no worries, that everything will be fine if we default and "we" (hint : the very far right) cannot budge.

    Fact - Obama has offered 3 to 1 spending cuts over revenue increase and the "revenue increase" was in closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, not raising anyone's taxes. Boehner walked out.

    Fact - Ronald Reagan increased the debt ceiling 18 times and raised taxes 11 times, to rates much higher than today.

    Fact - George Bush II increased the debt ceiling seven times without so much as a squeak coming from the Republicans, all the while waging two unfunded wars and promoting an unfunded Medicare prescription program (which are two HUGE factors in the current request for the debt ceiling to be raised).

    Fact - if we do not clean up this mess NOW, even the tea party people will suffer in ways they can now not even imagine.



  • Danish American Payson, UT
    July 25, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    Barrack Obama spends $4.1 BILLION a day more than the government brings in. That's $4.1 Billion a day! That real money and it adds up. That's why spending has to be cut.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    July 25, 2011 8:00 a.m.

    Any sum that large would require either cuts to benefit programs that aides said Reid preferred to leave untouched, or savings from the Pentagon, possibly by assuming the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Another smoke and mirror Dem. plan. Assuming the end of the wars. Hah! For you who think the Libs. will put their sacred cows of redistribution of wealth up Reid said he preferred to leave those untouched. Hah! That is double speak for hands off. And as usual Obama has nothing but babble. What a joke.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    July 25, 2011 7:37 a.m.

    @Rifleman: What hard choices are you talking about? Please be specific. Because the president has been on national TV for millions to see, and has said that he IS willing to make tough choices regarding SS, Medicare, etc. So, which "hard choices" are you speaking about?

    A quote fron Boehner to his fellow republicans:

    "Be ready for compromise that is "going to require some of you to make some sacrifices."

    Therein lies the problem: The Republicans are the ones that do not want to make sacrifices and are unwilling to compromise. Even Boehner sees through their facade!

  • Well Read SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 25, 2011 7:33 a.m.

    14th Ammendment:

    Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. . . .

    The Tea Party are in an act of war. President Obama needs to unalateraly declare the debt limit raised because he is charged with protecting the nation against any emergency. the Tea Party have caused just that

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 25, 2011 6:23 a.m.

    Re: amicus | 11:15 p.m. July 24, 2011

    The same principles that govern personal debt also govern our national debt. When you borrow money you have to pay it back with interest. At some point, if spending is not controlled, the interest will crush the individual .... and also the nation.

    People that understand interest earn it while those that don't understand it pay it. If Obama is unwilling to make the hard choices today why should anyone think he'd be willing to make even more hard changes in 2 years?

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 25, 2011 5:59 a.m.

    Re: Screwdriver | 5:45 p.m. July 24, 2011

    One question deserves another: If Obama isn't willing to make the hard choices now what make anyone think he'd be willing to make the hard choices in 2014? Washington jerks us around and the liberals buy what they are trying to sell us hook, line and sinker.

  • Sponge Bob Rockwall, TX
    July 25, 2011 2:02 a.m.

    I know that both Dems and GOP are responsible for this mess but the dems have been playing games with this whole matter for the past 2 years. They should have implemented their budgets and plans last year when they controlled both houses but no... they decided this would be their election year issue to try to win back control. Make the GOP deal with it and we'll just sit back and cry about the mean republicans and how they're pushing grandma off a cliff.

  • Sponge Bob Rockwall, TX
    July 25, 2011 1:54 a.m.

    First, we do not have a revenue problem...we have a spending problem. If I make $200k per yr and am in debt because I can't control my spending...the problem is spending not income. Second, if I max out my credit cards, the fastest way to control spending is to cut up the cards...not increase my limit. Third... Increasing taxes will put another wave of layoff into the market.

    Washington spends every dime that gets in their hands. The government is bloated. Why has every private sector company had to adjust but the federal govt just keeps spending and demanding more? Companies have stopped hiring and investing not because Washington isn't spending enough...its because its spending too much. The fastest way for the jobs market to take off again is to stop Washington from spending so much.

    I also add that the budget was balanced by the Republicans in congress not by Bill Clinton. He was dragged kicking and screaming to it because both houses were controlled by the GOP after 94. Before that, he was proposing raising taxes and increasing spending.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2011 1:51 a.m.

    Harry Reid has a 2.5 trillion dollar deficit reduction proposal that has 0 revenue increases. Apparently we've gotten to the point where Democrats are arguing the Republican position, and yet I still think Republicans would reject Reid's proposal just because a Democrat wrote it.

  • amicus Ann Arbor, MI
    July 24, 2011 11:15 p.m.

    The consequences of not raising the debt ceiling would be disastrous. Im continually surprised by the lack of basic financial-market understanding by commenters. Please stop comparing the U.S.s balance sheet to your personal credit cards. Our economy would suffer that is a fact, not an elitist, fear-mongering conspiracy.

    We need to fundamentally change the debt structure of our nations balance sheet, but playing chicken with the debt ceiling is foolish. If the debt ceiling is not raised, the conservative cause will suffer a major setback. It may take decades to recover.

    As conservative voters, we need to demand real solutions from our representatives. Many fellow conservatives need to get their heads out of the clouds. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would not solve our nations debt problems, but rather, make the situation worse.

  • MormonDem Provo, UT
    July 24, 2011 9:50 p.m.

    DN Subscriber. They've presented plans repeatedly. Obama presented a plan more ambitious than the Republicans' plan--$4billion vs. $2billion. But it included repeal of tax cuts for millionaires, so the GOP shut it down.

    To say the Dems have not put forth a plan is simply disingenuous.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    July 24, 2011 9:40 p.m.

    Let the default happen. We can recover. Just maybe we force the balanced budget Amendment to keep the Democrats and over spending Republicans in line. Without it, both will continue to spend until we are bled out. This is a crisis. It is a crisis in leadership - something we do not have in Barack Obama. We will be better off in the long run, especially if we can break the Democrat's back and shame the Republicans into doing the right thing. The only way to save our country is to put the Democrats up against the proverbial wall and give them no way out.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 24, 2011 9:05 p.m.

    We will finally see something in writing from the Democrats on what they would like to do?

    It is about time! So far they have only demagogued the Republican plans (Ryan plan and Cut, Cap and Balance which both passed the House). But, they have NEVER laid out an actual plan. Oh, they have said vague stuff about cutting spending (like maybe a little bit over 10 years, starting in about 9 years...) or cutting fraud and waste in some programs (why didn't they do that 20 years ago?), or slashing military spending (but not a dime from any social programs or entitlements). But none of that is in writing, so it is hard to nail them on what they really intend to do.

    Obama meanwhile talks about cutting spending but just ran up another 1.5 TRILLION deficit, so his words are meaningless or deceptive. But, he, like the other Democrats has not proposed a real plan.

    Until spending is cut (for FY 2011, 2012, 2013, not 10 yeare from now), granting a debt increase or higher taxes just compounds our already desperate debt problem.

    Stop the spending first. Then we can talk about other things.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2011 8:49 p.m.

    Believe this the world's economy and that of the USA will not come to and end if there is a default. Apparently, the administration, also knows this and is willing to let it happen in order to reject the outcome of the 2010 election and continue with the spend, add debt, and kick the can down the road practices of the past. Yes, the last time the budget was balanced was when Mr. Clinton was in the White House and pushed by the loss of the House in the 2004 election to become a pragmist, compromise with the new house and balance the budget. In doing so, he insured his re-election. Perhaps, this President would be do well to follow that lead. @Farmintown very creative!!!

  • Farmintown Salt Lake City, Utah
    July 24, 2011 6:55 p.m.

    When I was young and say a piece of cake was to be divided between me and my sibling we would often fight over who gets which piece. Mom, being wise devised a plan, one could divide the cake and the other got first choice. Both of us had incentive to play fair. I have been trying to figure a similar way to solve this current dilemma facing the "cut spending" vs. "increase taxes arguments". The closest I have come so far is to say allow your national voting count based on a percentage of the federal income tax you pay. Those who pay none or have figured out loopholes to reduce their taxes, etc. get no or lessor votes, but those who pay more as a percentage of their income get more votes.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    July 24, 2011 6:21 p.m.

    The rancorous debate over the debt belies a fundamental truth of our economy that it is run for the few at the expense of the many, that our entire government has been turned into a machine which takes the wealth of a mass of Americans and accelerates it into the hands of the few. Wall Street cashes in whether we have a default or not. Fifty percent of our discretionary spending goes for the Pentagon. A massive transfer of wealth into the hands of a few while the American people lack sufficient jobs, health care, housing, retirement security. Our energy policies take the wealth from the American people and put it into the hands of the oil companies. We could be looking at $150 a barrel for oil in the near future. Our environmental policy takes the wealth of the people, clean air, clean water, and puts it in the hands of the polluters. It's a transfer of wealth, not only from the present but from future generations as our environment is ruined. Insurance companies, take the wealth from the American people, put-it into the-hands of-few. Raise this debt ceiling, and tax the elite wealthy.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    July 24, 2011 6:20 p.m.

    The debt ceiling looms. Confusion reigns. Schemes abound. We are deep in a hole. Ronald Reagan might as well be sitting in on the troubled debt talks, so frequently is his memory invoked by both sides. Authoritarianism is characterized by highly concentrated, and centralized power maintained by political repression and the exclusion of potential challengers. It uses political parties and mass organizations to mobilize people around the goals of the regime. Authoritarianism is a form of elite social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy. In politics, an authoritarian government is one in which political authority is concentrated in a small group of political elite, typically unelected by the people (but not necessarily), who possess exclusive, most of the time unaccountable, and arbitrary power. Seems as if "WE THE PEOPLE" have no say anymore what's going on in Congress. Raise this debt ceiling, and tax the elite wealthy. Debt talks between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner came to a grinding halt when Boehner abruptly broke them off, raising new uncertainties that a deal could be struck to avert a threatened government default. Who runs him is the Koch Brothers. Not us.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    July 24, 2011 6:18 p.m.

    Why Does the Tea Party Want America to Fail?. Associated Press reported that it called for $60 billion in cuts, which, if so, would represent a significant defeat for the tea party caucus. Even at that level, the cuts will likely produce direct job losses of 650,000 in government layoffs, which would likely trigger to another 325,000 layoffs, mostly in the retail and service sectors nearly 1 million jobs altogether according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress. Whatever the job loss is whether it's 1 million, 800,000 or 650,000 the tea party's 180-degree flipflop on jobs is remarkable. Just a few months ago, they won the House by convincing swing voters that their number-one issue would be "Jobs, jobs, jobs." Boehner went around the country campaigning for them, lamenting, "Mr. President, where are the jobs?." But all of that was forgotten last week as details about the tea party budget cuts emerged. Not only will their bill kill hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs, it offers nothing that addresses the need for "Jobs, jobs, jobs." Loss of 1 Million Jobs Would Trigger the Second Republican Recession since 2008.

  • Trev Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2011 6:14 p.m.

    Ever wonder why this country is even tinkering with default? Its because Americans don't work anymore. A growing majority of them depend on entitlement programs to pay for their pleasure seeking. The government they've got is one that represents their interests- keep those freebies coming! The country simply cannot keep subsidizing this ever expanding population of freeloaders who hail from Democrat, Republican, and Teaparty ideologies.

  • Well Read SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 24, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    14th Ammendment:

    Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. . . .

    The Tea Party are in an act of war. President Obama needs to unalateraly declare the debt limit raised because he is charged with protecting the nation against any emergency. the Tea Party have caused just that

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    July 24, 2011 5:45 p.m.

    If the Bush tax cuts were so important, why weren't they made permanent in the first place?

    The Republicans are willing to bring us to the brink of financial default on tax cuts THEY didn't make permanent?

  • MormonDem Provo, UT
    July 24, 2011 5:41 p.m.

    David said: "Republicans have correctly identified the spending problem congress has." That's certainly a friendly way to spin it! The Republicans should have no problem identifying the spending problem since they are they are largely responsible for the spending problem. Two unfunded wars. An unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefit. And thirty years of lowering the taxes for the wealthy.

    The only president to have a balanced budget in the last 30 years was Clinton, a Democrat. Reagan double the national debt. So did Bush II.

    Now that they're suddenly panicking about the national debt they want to balance the budget solely on the backs of the poor and the elderly. They won't even consider returning tax rates on the wealthy to the sensible levels of the past.

    Warren Buffett himself even laments how perverse it is that his secretary pays a higher portion of her income on tax than he does.

    The Republicans aren't trying to prevent an economic apocalypse. The current Republican leadership IS the economic apocalypse.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    July 24, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    Funny how nobody considers work and land redistrubution of wealth. Only redistribution of fiat currency as important in the discussion.

    I'm sure God meant for there to be an elete class that owns and controls everything and isn't required to sweat or even pay taxes in fiat currency. Please give me the reference when you find it.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    July 24, 2011 5:17 p.m.

    The plan that Obama has proposed seems reasonable and sound; make cuts and raise taxes. Why must we keep subsidizing the wealthy? Taxes are the lowest in 60 years, yet no matter how horrible the economy, the GOP keeps calling for more cuts, in what the "haves" must pay. It looks to me like the GOP is more about making Obama look bad than they are about solving the problem; in fact, I believe that they are willing to destroy our economy for political gain. McConnell's and Boehner's ridiculous statements that "Obama must go before we can fix this" or that "Obama is the single, greatest impediment to the economy" are merely preludes to the horror of what will be 2012 elections, courtesy of the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision. Reasonable people can find solutions, if they want to do so. Perhaps when Michelle Bachmann begins investigating "anti-American" politicians in Washington, she might begin with her own party. BTW, I voted for Nader.

  • Furry1993 Somewhere in Utah, UT
    July 24, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    We have both a spending problem AND an income problem. A rational and appropriate plan must address both. The Democrats are willing to address both, including putting some of their "sacred cows" on the table. The Republicans are only willing to play politics, and to heck with the country'sf welfare. As a registured Republican, albeit one who is disgusted with what her party is doing right now, my message to my political leaders and party is this -- stop acting like children, start acting like adults, and work with the Democrats to get this problem fixed.

  • Petra Sanpete County, UT
    July 24, 2011 4:52 p.m.

    These people need to stop with the politics and the posturing and GET TO WORK. They need to disconnect the debt ceiling thing from all the other political mumbo-jumbo garbage and STOP OUR COUNTRY FROM GOING INTO DEFAULT. Time is running out.

    Has everyone in Washington just gone insane???? Does no one understand that this is ALREADY APPROVED SPENDING by a Congress from years ago and the bill is just now coming due??? Does no one understand that this is NOT the Obama administration's debt, but BUSH'S administration???

    Does no one understand the consequences, both financial to the US (would INCREASE our debt because we'd have to pay more interest in addition to the principle) and globally (could easily throw us into a REAL depression)???

    Grow up, Washington. Fix this mess NOW.

  • David Centerville, UT
    July 24, 2011 3:43 p.m.

    If I were an investor in the US, I would have already lost confidence in the undisciplined spending of the past 2 decades. I would actually feel relieved that efforts are currently being made to correct this problem.

    So the damage has been done by Democratic and Republican congresses, and presidents.

    Republicans have correctly identified the spending problem congress has. By rejecting tax increases and focusing on reducing spending we return to a course of sanity.

    Libs want to increase taxes on the wealthy. This is to rally their base for the upcoming election, and to continue redistribution of wealth in the country. They state that federal income taxes are only 14.4%, where they traditionally average 18%. What Libs won't tell you is that 14.4% only applies to income taxes. If you look at all taxes we pay (state income, gas, energy, cable, cell/land line phone, property, garbage water, recycling, sales, social security, medicare, drivers license, car registration, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. ....etc.) I am sure we would find that our total tax burden approaches 50% or more!

    Obama can't lead or govern. Boehner was wise to get this done without Obama.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    July 24, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    Yes, and if every non-Tea Party politician in Washington magically disappears tomorrow morning, this'll mean something. Otherwise, this is just more grandstanding.

    How much longer can we afford to play games, guys?