Thursday, July 21, 2011

Polls Support Balanced Spending, GOP Shuns Gang, Video - Health Politics

Balancing the Approach to Balancing the Books

"Democratic officials are crowing over a string of recent polls showing public opinion rapidly shifting towards support for a debt ceiling increase."  According to DNC Communications Director Brad Woodhouse, "'With the deadline to avoid an historic and catastrophic default on the United States' debt approaching, recent polls all reflect the same conclusion: that the American people overwhelmingly support a balanced approach to addressing our nation's fiscal challenges with both spending cuts and revenue, a position that President Obama is advocating for but that Republicans are refusing to even consider.'"

Here's an interesting chart on the Most Popular Options for Debt Reduction from the ABC News / Washington Post poll:

Personally, I think the poll simply reflects the basic FAIRNESS of the large majority of Americans (and a majority of Republicans).  It simply demonstrates their willingness to share sacrifices.  Of course, there remains a small minority who still don't want to bear their fair share -- who still want unfair tax advantages for themselves and their businesses.  When people are aware of inequity, they disagree.


As expected, top Republicans are pushing away from the Gang of Six Plan.  "In a publicly released memo meant to undermine support for the Gang of Six plan in its current form, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) laments, 'it increases revenues while failing to seriously address exploding federal spending on health care, which is the primary driver of our debt.  There are also serious concerns that the proposal's substance on spending falls far short of what is needed to achieve the savings it claims.'"

First, federal spending on health care is not the primary driver of our debt;  try tax breaks for the wealthy and two wars started by the previous Administration.  It appears that -- once again -- Mr. Ryan is choosing politics over any attempt by himself or other Republicans in the grip of Conservatives to create a solution.  Clearly, much more detail needs to be worked out.

The article continues, "Perhaps most telling of all, a Senate GOP Leadership Aide told Politico, 'Background guidance: The President killed any chance of its [the Gang of Six Plan] success by 1) Embracing it. 2) Hailing the fact that it increases taxes. 3) Saying it mirrors his own plan.'  One imagines that if Obama'd said nothing, GOP aides would be complain just as loudly that the President hasn't publicly embraced any proposal coming out of Congress.  Now that he has, Republicans will run away -- and that's just what we're seeing."

Video:  'Gang Of Six' In The Health Care Spotlight

An interesting discussion:  "The proposal from the Senate’s so-called "Gang of Six" has injected some new life into efforts to raise the debt ceiling and settle on a package of spending cuts that would pass both chambers.  President Obama's enthusiasm was evident at a surprise press room appearance on Tuesday, which also served as an opportunity for him to position Democrats as the party willing to compromise."  "NPR’s Julie Rovner talks with Jackie Judd [Kaiser Family Foundation] about the re-emergence of the 'Gang of Six' senators in the debt-ceiling debate, what their plan means for the CLASS Act, and how missing details are likely to be filled in."

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