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It's time for Congress to make a deal [Most commented]

A rally on Capitol Hill held by Tea Party activists. The clock is ticking and its time for Congress to put aside partisanship and make a deal, The Times' editorial board wrote Wednesday.  House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is struggling for support on a plan that would risk replicating the debt-ceiling debate during the 2012 presidential campaign, while Republicans reject Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-Nev.) plan for shallow cuts from military drawdowns. Here's an excerpt from Wednesday's editorial:

Obama and Boehner didn't help matters with their nationally televised speeches Monday evening. Obama quixotically championed a much larger deficit-reduction deal that includes tax increases and entitlement cuts, a laudable goal but not an achievable one at this stage. And Boehner beat the drum for a rigid "tea party" approach that Senate Democrats have already rejected.

Meanwhile, chances are increasing that the United States' pristine credit rating will be downgraded by at least one of the three major ratings firms, raising interest rates and hurting the economy. Enough is enough. There's a clear compromise available that blends Reid's proposed cuts and debt-ceiling increase with Boehner's proposed mechanism for enforcing those cuts. Lawmakers should embrace it and stop flirting with fiscal disaster. 

Readers on the discussion board are just as divided as Congress on how the country's budgetary future should pan out, but our poll results show that a lot of them are anxious about it. How worried are you about the debt ceiling?

The Republican Party isn't what it used to be: responsible

It's just nuts because the "tea party" wing is acting that way.  Today the dollar fell, we're going to get our credit rating downgraded at a minimum because of it thus driving up interest rates for everyone.

I for one will never forget which party pushed this country to the point of economic disaster and neither will the world.  It sure isn't the responsible party of Reagan and Goldwater anymore.

The ones so concerned about the country going bankrupt are the ones pushing it into bankruptcy as that is exactly what a default is.

--affableman

When have the Republicans offered a compromise?

What have the Republicans offered that was even the slightest compromise?  Compromise is what the American people want, and the last thing we want is for there to be another round of this nonsense before the election

--grapedoc

Americans want a combination of spending cuts and tax increases

"The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll found 80 percent of those surveyed either angry or dissatisfied with events in Washington.  Several polls have also found that a majority of Americans favor a compromise of a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit. For now, the polls also show that voters blame Republicans more than President Obama for a lack of willingness to compromise on the debt issue."And yet, far right "Americans" so ably represented by those deep-thinkers of the Tea Party, who appear to so well represent their corporate bosses, say no to any such compromise. Get ready for 2012, Republicans. You're not going to like it. There is going to be a House cleaning of Tea Party and Republican members like nothing else, to go along with overwhelming Democrat victories in the White House and Senate. Enjoy. Remember, you brought this on yourselves. Shame on ya.

--waltericon

Where is Obama's plan?

I kind of wish Obama would come up with a plan, and not just kibitz, leaving the work to Boehner and Reid. I don't expect his plan to be any good, as he is already in campaign mode and probably doesn't have a clue anyway how to get out of this problem. Besides, it would look good on his resume that he did something for four years aside from playing golf and taking bi-weekly vacations.   

--edwardskizer

If Obama were serious, he would propose actual cuts

"... it's time for Republicans and Democrats to scale down their partisan ambitions..."

Curiously, this editorial doesn't mention any specific, Democratic "partisan ambitions", but several for Republicans.

No matter.  Reid's plan to push the debt ceiling debate past the next presidential election won't work.  At any rate, it won't pass the House.

If the president was really serious about debt reduction, he would have proposed some actual budget cuts.  The only budget this Administration has EVER produced in writing (back in February) actually INCREASED the deficit instead of lowering it.

It was voted down by the Democratically-controlled Senate 97-0

--GregMaragos

And where are the cuts in the Republican budgets? Nowhere, in response to GregMaragos

Hey Greg -- The editorial specifically tells Obama to stop talking about tax increases and a grand bargain, essentially conceding to the cuts-only demand of the GOP.

The "propose some actual cuts" thing is oft-repeated but hard to understand. Where are the actual cuts in "cut, cap and balance"? Where are the actual cuts in the FY 2012 budget the House GOP passed? Where are the actual cuts in the Boehner debt-ceiling proposal? There. Are. None.

And that's not a criticism, really. Deficit reduction is like a reconciliation -- you set targets (preferably by committee of jurisdiction) and leave the committees to figure out where best to cut. You might include an across-the-board cut as a fall-back, a la Gramm-Rudman-Hollings. But isn't it wiser, in this rush to make a deal, to set general but enforceable targets instead of trying to decide all the specifics?

It's also worth noting that the administration put a number of specific ideas for cuts in mandatory programs on the table during the negotiations with congressional leaders. But they didn't put out anything publicly, saying they didn't want to mobilize the interest groups whose oxen would be gored until there was an actual deal to be debated.

--Jon Healey, L.A. Times

The government needs to operate within its means

Any extension of the debt ceiling ( a continuously rising ceiling- perhaps they don't know what the word means) merely kicks the can down the road.

If government wants to operate within the confines of its revenue stream, it merely has to cut programs until revenue equals costs. At this time, this means eliminating 1.5 trillion. If it does this, there will be no default.

That would be the responsible action to take. it would build trust in the dollar, elevating its value and making all of us richer. It would make our currency more valuable, as we would be one of the few countries that is capable of doing so.

As the available capital would not be consumed by government debt, this money could then be loaned out companies that produce products and create jobs. Jobs paid out of profits, not taxes (your wealth). 

If central planning worked, all the world would be wealthy, but instead we find that all the world is awash in debt, financed by bankers, with money created out of thin air, so they can collect interest  and drain the wealth of the citizenry.

All we have to say is no more.

--sean7k

The GOP needs to get on board

The GOP need to stop dragging their feet and get on board with a compromise.  We cannot expect to get out of debt if we do not increase what we take in.  How many government run programs would we have to cut until we are out of debt?  If companies are so opposed to new taxes, saying it will prevent them from creating new jobs, then why has unemployment been rising even with Bush's tax cuts?  Wake up, Boehner, and catch a clue.  Americans will not stand for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

--Mind Tricks

So, who's to blame?

The Democrats….

The Democratic tax and spend Party!

--Socorro V

The Republicans…

The Republican borrow and spend party!

--andytek1

*Spelling errors in the above comments have been corrected.

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--Samantha Schaefer

Photo: "Tea party" activists gather on Capitol Hill for a "Hold the Line" rally on June 27. Credit: Win McNamee / Getty Images

 

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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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