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Posted 7/13/11 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Tick tock, tick tock.
The clock is quickly ticking off the seconds as the United States rushes toward an August 2 deadline by which time Congress and President Obama must reach an accord on whether or not they are going to raise the county’s $14.3 trillion federal debt ceiling. And so far neither the Republicans nor President Obama and the Democrats have been able to field a plan that will bring a form of economic sanity to the discussion table that anyone on the other side of the debate will consider.
The battle lines between the political parties are clearly drawn. Republicans are demanding that significant cuts in federal spending be made if they are going to support increasing the debt ceiling. President Obama and the Democrats, on the other hand, want to increase revenues (which means increased taxes) and more government spending as part of any budget-cutting package.
And so the political gridlock continues in Washington, D.C. Both parties blaming the other that nothing is getting done just so they can use what ever happens as political fodder during the 2012 elections.
So while Congress and Obama play politics, Americans are worried sick about what is happening to their country. They are worried about high unemployment, a stagnant economy and whether or not they will have a job tomorrow.
And yes, they are even concerned about the ramifications on their lives depending on whether or not Congress raises the debt limit.
According to a recent Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll, 47 percent of the people who responded to the poll expressed deep concern that if Congress raises the debt limit it will simply spur more spending and ever higher debt.
And the average citizen, who was part of this poll, is probably correct. After all, Americans, as of late, have become very aware of how Washington uses, and misuses, their tax dollars. They know how to separate political fear mongering from reality just as they know that our military and key government services are going to be funded if budget cuts need to made. And they know where government programs can be slashed and eliminated because they have seen the wasteful and ineffective spending.
Most Americans, who are being forced to learn to live with less, now believe that it is time for government to start trimming its budget as well. And they want to see Congress reform the way that Washington does business and put a halt to the continuous buildup of this country’s debt.
That is the message that Americans have been sending to Congress. The question is, “Is Washington listening?”
We will soon know.