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February 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How confident are you D.C. will address our skyrocketing debt?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The facts have been staring us in the face for some time now: our skyrocketing national debt will eventually take us down if Washington refuses to act.

FILE PHOTO: A shot of the National Debt Clock on July 13, 2009
FILE PHOTO: A shot of the National Debt Clock on July 13, 2009

The president of the federal reserve bank of Kansas City warns of a new financial crisis if the U.S. doesn't address its growing debt problems. He says mounting deficits might lead to inflation. If that happens the federal reserve would be forced to raise interest rates which would make paying the interest on our more than $12 trillion debt next to impossible.

The government needs to either cut spending or raise taxes - or both. Those are the only ways to address the expected deficit of $1.6 trillion this year alone. Last Friday behind closed doors President Obama signed a bill raising the national debt ceiling to more than $14 trillion.

Another ominous sign that U.S. debt is unsustainable: foreign demand for U.S. treasuries fell by a record amount in December - with China selling off more than $32 billion in treasuries. China is saturated with U.S. treasuries, which will force us to look elsewhere to finance our debt. Japan; Great Britain? Maybe for awhile... but how long before they say no?

Pres. Obama is planning to sign an executive order tomorrow that would set up a debt panel. This bipartisan commission is meant to come up with ways to reduce the deficit. It's a nice idea... but in reality it's meaningless.

The Senate already rejected a stronger version of this panel which would have had the power to force Congress to act. The president's commission won't have the power to force congress to do anything. In other words - another empty political gesture that means absolutely nothing.

Here’s my question to you: How confident are you Washington will address our skyrocketing debt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

David in Herndon, Virginia writes:
Not confident at all. There are only 3 ways to do it: 1) raise taxes 2) cut spending or 3) devalue currency and just print money. If you're a politician, any of the above will cost you your job.

Thomas in Abilene, Texas writes:
I have little confidence. Once Washington sets up a "panel" or a "commission", you know nothing will ever get done. How stupid do politicians think we are? If they just named a czar, then we're talking serious stuff.

Pete in Georgia writes:
They will only address it after the next election cycle. We'll then get a whole new and improved collection of lies and promises. Some things NEVER change. This happens to be one of them.

Ted in Hillsboro, Oregon writes:
Neither party has any incentive at all to bring down the debt. Arthur Average who makes $35,000 a year has no weapons to fight against individual and corporate Wall Streeters who spend hundreds of millions to maintain the rules just as they are. We vote 'em in, then the money buys them.

Steve in Chapel Hill, North Carolina writes:
I am confident that the people who hold our debt will address it first and it's not going to be good.

J. writes:
Why are your panties in a bunch, Jack? In recession/depression, you spend money to boost the economy; taxes are down because fewer people are paying and the rest are paying less. As the economy improves, tax receipts go up and then it’s time for deficit reduction programs, not now. The sky is not falling.

Peter writes:
Relax, Jack, it is only money. Cheney said deficits don't matter; would he lie to me?


Filed under: National debt • Washington
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Rob of Brooklyn

    The only way that will ever be addressed is if all the idiots in office are on the welfare line themselves. They arent' going to do a damn thing.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  2. james wardlaw Dowagiac MI

    Not very. Most people don't know the difference between the "debt' and the "deficit" and the Republicans are using the current deficit to scare the people. We could reduce, if not eliminate current deficit by eliminating Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. The 12 trillion dollar debt was created by the last three Republican Presidents. Yes, even the great saint Reagan left a 3 trillion dollar debt and bigger government. George I 2.5 and George II 5.5 trillion. Trickle down sucks. Clinton left a 2 billion dollar surplus. Obama is using "trickle up" to clean up this mess, and that takes money, and the Republicans are blocking every effort. Their is also the theory of the "multiplier" effect. Pundits measure the stimulus by jobs created on a single project. Those dollars grow as they work their way through economy. Saved money, like tax cuts for the wealthy, go to Swiss bank accounts and do nothing to stimulate the economy. Ask your own talking heads the difference between debt and deficit, bet you see a dear in the headlights.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  3. Pete - Georgia

    They will only address it after the next election cycle. We'll then get a whole new and improved collection of lies and promises.
    Some things NEVER change. This happens to be one of them.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  4. Melissa

    About as confident that Republicans will start actually caring about people rather than holding money as their god and paying lip service to a closed minded religion. That is to say... I'm not at all confident in it.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  5. JD in NH

    The debt will never be seriously addressed unless taxes are raised. Everything but military spending, Medicare and Social Security could be cut and we would still be going into debt because the wealthiest among us weasel out of paying taxes. Will any politician step up and do what is required? Not in this lifetime. The U.S. is on a fast track to the bottom of the barrel.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  6. Zach - DC

    The answer is simple but overwhelmingly unpopular. Social Entitlement programs (medicare and social security among others) need to be cut. Unfortunately the only lawmakers with nothing to lose are the soon to be retirees- and there aren't enough, and certainly not enough that care about this country to do something so bold, so brazen, as to think about the long term future of this great country.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
  7. Don

    not at all we should change the leadership of both partys and vote in adults

    February 17, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  8. James Burns in Jacksonville FL

    A bipartisian panel charged with finding ways to reduce spending? Give me a break! I doubt these people can even agree on what to order for lunch. The real question is whether members of Congress are capable of doing ANYTHING in the interest of the people of this country that may thwart the interests of the lobbies that fund their personal and political follies. Short answer: NO. Members of lack the integrity, intelligence, and future-orientated motivation necessary to proactively address our skyrocketing debt any better than they have addressed issues concerning education, health care, bank regulation, immigration...need I go on?

    February 17, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  9. chris

    about the odds of seeing a ufo or getting struck by lightning they can't cut the waste and unneeded spending in every state and washington d.c of course

    February 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  10. Simonsays-Orlando

    Not going to happen. Gutless congressmen are more interested in sending pork back to their districts than saving this country from bankruptcy. It's all about them getting re-elected.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  11. Bryan Price

    Absolutely not. It takes money to run an election, ever more money if you haven't been paying attention, and with the Supreme Court refusing to do anything about slowing the money taps, it's only going to get worse, which means yet even more money spent by politicians to pay those people back for getting them elected in the first place.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  12. Janne from NC

    I am positive they will address the debt by finger pointing, name calling and blaming the other party but addressing the debt and actually doing something about the debt are two different things. Just as I am positive they will address the debt I am equally positive they will not do anything about it except perhaps make it worse.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  13. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Well this has been coming for some time. It is time for everybody to bite the bullet. It is time for people who have been getting the benefits to start paying the Piper. That means everybody not the so called rich.

    It is already happening in indirect taxes for products on the shelves that we all use. The bill will be paid one way or the other. Higher and higher prices for goods or being laid off from a job. There is no free lunch. Where will it all end? Another depression?

    February 17, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  14. Richard Texas

    I have absolutely no faith in anyone in Washington being able to come up with solutions to the problems they themselves created. Too many wars that they authorized and too much money wasted not to mention life and property destroyed by our military in other peoples countries. These people did not ask for our help. Washington invaded two middle eastern countries on a wild goose chase for one religious zealot who after 7 years still has not been caught. This insanity has to stop Jack. We can not afford this goose chase and even if we DID catch Bin laden someone else would only take his place. This is a very expensive game of "Wack A Mole" that Washington can not win at the tax payers expense. Enough already.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  15. Eric - Houston

    Not at all. It is too seductive for politicians to have the country take on debt, a long term problem, in order to give potential voters and financial supporters short term hand outs. The elections are after all never more than a year or so away. Taxes are tough, except sometimes against a minority or industry which at the time is unpopular, since the taxed may start fighting you in the campaign. Inflation is sneakier, it is usually after the next election and hurts old folks and such. We really cannot blame the politicians however until we, the people, stop putting our hands out and stop electing the same folks for filling them.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  16. Terry Gnsbg,IN "Hoosier Hillbilly"

    "WE" borrowed 873,000,000,ooo ( look at all thise zeros ), we've used 2 or 3 billion the rest is to be spread over the next ten years. Why would anyone borrow money unless they knew for sure it would be used. (Interest on that much could send 100s' of people to a paridise Island to live in luxury for life, each on their own Yacht with a fulll crew.
    Thats over 26 billion @ 3% per year. Now that's smart!!
    I guess we won't have to clean house in congress their all going to take the money and leave the country.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:11 pm |
  17. Joe CE

    Not very confident, but , Jack, when a large majority supported the stimulus did thet excpect the debt to be controlled in less than a year. Time to stop acting as though the recent debt was some kind of unexpected outrage and get real. It appears that the emergency spending averted a financial collaspe and the stimulus appears to be helping with unemployment. Instead of moans & groans, let's have some ideas for reducing the deficit. – hear is one: fix Social Security by removing the cap. The SS ptroblem solved and future deficits substantially reduced.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  18. Michael Alexandria, VA

    Eventually this will have an impact on interest rates, which will induce American investors to buy American debt. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, at that point, we can ask the question of whether it is better to lend to our rich and pay them interest or to simply tax them at a higher rate and not do so.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  19. Bob D, Morrisown, NJ

    I have no confidence at all that congress will do anything constructive about our national debt. As you point out, Republicans don’t even vote for bills they themselves introduce and sponsor. As long as congress puts politics and party dictates (Republicans) and parochial ideology and personal politics (some Democrats) ahead of their country’s interest and their oaths of office, we are headed for the economic doom you describe, and our status as a preeminent world power is headed towards the same fate as the Greek and Roman Empires.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  20. JW Georgia

    On matters of fiscal importance like this, on a scale from one to ten I have ZERO confidence in Congress to move our country to economic discipline and balance. Congress IS the problem. It represents the very forces that over-spend money that isn't theirs, spending such that it advantages them personally without regard to national betterment. There's no reason for Congress to balance the budget, to stop its foolish spending and earmarking, and it takes courage that Congress doesn't have to raise taxes and apply it directly to the debt. Congress never saw a dollar it didn't spend immediately. Therefore the problem will not be solved and America will go the way of debtor countries before it, shamed, broke, and left out of world economic participation.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  21. David in San Diego

    I am extremely confident that Congress, the President (whoever s/he may be), and economic growth will, in time, address the debt in the sense that we will continue to prosper as a nation. That doesn't mean the debt will necessarily be decreased in absolute terms, only that we will flourish anyhow.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  22. Bev -

    Jack
    I am confused, The president has to spend money to create jobs and get people's lives back qualitatively. If he does spend money to do that, you and every other anti-obama political door knob cries out there is too much debt.. Either that or cries about the debt is getting more and more. Then you jump to the job losses and then we hear cries about "job losses up by 10 % , where is the promise of job creation?" Seriously, this president was handed an ocean of rotten eggs to work with, not to mention a party of no ideas who is hell bent on job security as opposed to focussing on ordinary American lives that he has to work with. Frankly I have no idea how this president keeps it together amongst all of this hating going on.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  23. Mark in Houston

    Government is broken Jack....and the pieces are being ground to dust
    I have absolutely NO confidence in DC addressing debt or anything else of importance .
    All you need to do is look at the track record over the past year. These people have only two concerns...get a majority for their party and get re elected. The Republicans do nothing, the Democrats don't have the guts to do anything.
    Their selfish, self centered stance has opened the door for the election of every kind of loud mouthed, finger pointing, blaming , know nothing kook imaginable.
    WAIT......that's what we already have.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  24. alan machtey

    Jack, Not very good. Our Politicians lack the backbone to tell American People the real truth. Future Social Security has to be cut,We will all have to pay higher premiums on Medicare.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  25. Greg H - Minneapolis

    Jack, my confidence in Washington to address the debt is pretty much non-existant! Rather than TRY to solve the problem by cutting spending, their "solution" is to raise the ceiling on the debt. Even the current occupant of the Oval Office is to blame for the problem. While continuing to complain about the mess he "inherited", he goes on to propose the BIGGEST budget ever!!

    The only way to get close to solving the debt issue once and for all is for "we the people" to start the process by REFUSING to REELECT any incumbent, from the White House on down! And make sure that every candidate for office understands this. Solve the problem, rather than BE THE PROBLEM!!

    February 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  26. STEVE TAYLOR

    Dear Jack, I am going to ask the question that nobody will talk about. Why is the private sector paying for government retirements? In private business we do not get a government retirement. The taxpayers are paying for that. We need to do away with it and go and take each government department and make it efficient. The deficit could be turned around. Sincerely Steve Taylor

    February 17, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  27. frankie

    Debt is temporary, losing our American base of production is the permanent problem. Strengthening our economy is the only real way to deal with debt. This can't happen fast, but it would go faster if the Congress acted like adults and cooperated a little better with our elected President.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  28. Soul Leister

    Funny thing, Obama is complaining about Senate bills Senator Obama voted for and somehow blames Bush for being bipartisan and signing Obama's work? Magically, its somehow only Bush's fault. Obama is more than a little dishonest about who is actually to blame.

    ...From my undisclosed bunker...

    February 17, 2010 at 5:25 pm |
  29. David from Herndon, VA

    Not confident at all. There are only 3 ways to do it: 1) raise taxes 2) cut spending or 3) devalue currency and just print money.

    If you're a politician, any of the above will cost you your job.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  30. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, NY

    The United States became a more simple-minded, selfish, greedy nation once the Fairness Doctrine was abolished in 1987 by the FCC under the George H.W. Bush administration.
    When issues of public importance no longer had to be presented in an honest, equitable, and balanced manner – narrow agendas took over and loudest and most crass ( think Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes) viewpoints took center stage. Both political parties were unfortunately attracted to the blather.
    Re-education of the American public and respect for all people and all viewpoints need to be restored before we slip slide our way to third world status. Reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine would be a first step.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  31. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, you know that D.C. is totally incapable of cutting spending, regardless of who is in the WH or Congress. That guarantees that taxes will increase and inflation will be the next huge problem we face as a nation, and it will always be "the other party's fault"! Bankruptcy and default on the national debt will follow, and we'll be speaking Chinese in 30 years. Thank God I won't live long enough to see it.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
  32. brett mullins Phoenix,Az

    Jack ,
    I am not confident that this commission will do anything. This should have been done during the 1980's. Reagan tripled the debt, from 934 billion to 2.9 trillion. Bush 41 took over," Mr.READ MY LIPS" added 2 trillion or about that. Then Bush 43 added 5 trillion. How are tax guts working out for America.
    BRETT MULLINS
    Phoenix,AZ

    February 17, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  33. Sterling Greenwood

    In Aspen our city council vowed to watch every dollar. There were layoffs at city hall. Then a city building project came along, a big deal. The architectural firm with the lowest bid by more than $1 million is in Boulder. Our city staff vetted the Boulder firm and nodded approval. The contract was about to be awarded, a million-dollar savings. But then, but then. . . . . there was some local grumbling because a local firm won't get the job. Now our elected city council is reconsidering the situation I don't think skyrocketing debt will be addressed in the U.S. so long as hard choices have to made by elected politicos who can just print more dollars to avoid making them. Of course, in Aspen we can't print our own money, but we can raise real estate taxes on second homeowners here who can't vote. Sterling Greenwood, Aspen

    February 17, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  34. Joanne B

    Jack, LOL ! Far left liberals cut debt? It will take a cleanout of Congress this fall to help that issue.
    We are headed for bankruptcy unless a real man/woman comes along.
    Joanne
    Mn

    February 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  35. Ray in Nashville

    Jack, they're going to have to do something about it because we can't go on like this. The problem is that the government attack on the middle class has left this country in a weak position economically. The largest segment of the population can no longer spend enough money to keep the economy running. Add in two wars, Republicans spending like drunken Democrats, a near collapse of the financial sector caused in large part by deregulation and then, to top it all off, a giant spending package designed to keep us from going into a depression, and you get the United States in 2010. Deep in debt and no real economic base to fall back on.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  36. Allen L Wenger

    It doesn't look good. Both parties want to spend money, but neither has the guts to pay for it. As long as the American public rewards spending and lower taxes, we will continue to dig deeper into this pit of debt. We really are a nation of selfish people.

    Mountain Home ID

    February 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  37. JENNA

    How confident are you Washington will address our skyrocketing debt?

    I am confident that the Democrats will try in ernest to address the issue and that the GOP will do everything they can to water it down and obstruct it.

    It is time for Harry Reid to do the Nuclear Option.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    February 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  38. jim Blevins

    There are two poles in congress with little in-between. One pole wants to cut taxes and wage war, but get rid of all social programs. The other pole wants to tax the rich, stop war and provide for its people. Without a super-majority, there will be no agreement and therefore little debt reduction.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    February 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  39. Jason, Koloa Kauai

    There you go again Jack, worrying about money as if it mattered. The human species has problems so much greater than how a minority of individuals use the monetary system to oppress the masses. A massive globel pandemic or water and food shortages or a devastating natural disaster will happen way before we collapse because of debt.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  40. richp the poconos

    Not at all, they are too busy either bailing out or ducking for cover. These elected officials need to take a high school economics course in how to balance a check book and create a budget.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  41. Darlene Reddington

    Obama took 862 billion dollars from the taxpayers for his stimulus plan, if I was a representative of my state I would try and get any amount of money I could for my state, to try and pay them back and I would brag about it everywhere. It is our money. What don't you get?

    February 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  42. ADS-Seattle

    About as confident that Mtich McConnell will extend an olive branch to Harry Reid so both sides can roll up their sleeves and get something done. As long as the Republicans remain the party of "no," Congress will accomplish nothing because the Rebooblicans in the Senate have brought the legislative process to a grinding halt.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  43. Butch F

    Butch F. in Richmond, Va. writes:

    Who do we owe money to and who were the beneficiaries of the money we borrowed?

    The government needs to become free of the military industrial complex that rules the world. We need to bring our defense home to protect us and stop invading the home of others. Stop the “P.T. Barnums” from exploiting “suckers” at home and abroad then hide behind the might of our military capabilities.

    The government needs to be independent and not participate in markets.

    Hopeful but not very optimistic.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  44. Ted, Hillsboro OR

    As long as there is a Congress that is "on the take" nothing will be done about the huge debt both parties have shoveled onto the people. They got theirs, and now the Supreme Court has given them a pre-pardon for any campaign funds theyu can lay their hands on and we ALWAYS get the bill, albeit indirectly.
    Neither party has any incentive at all to bring down the debt. Arthur Average who makes 35.000 a year has no weapons to fight against individual and corporate Wall Streeters who spend hundreds of millions to maintain the rules just as they are. We vote 'em in, then the money buys them.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  45. Loren, Chicago

    I have no confdence in the ability of Congress to address the debt situation. How can Congress address debt when their jobs are dependent on the monies that they funnel to their supporters through government programs and projects? When Senator Evan Bayh can retire from the Senate with a $13 million was chest, which becomes his on his retirement, don't you think that every other Congressman knows where that money came from and the conditions under which it was contributed?

    February 17, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  46. Lang Reynolds

    If Congress can't agree and pass a jobs bill, there is certainly no reason to be confident Congress will fix the National Debt. its a complex challenge that requires much less rhetoric and much more thought than our political leaders in Congress are willing to contribute. Between the stupid wrangling of the Democrats and the spoiled, arrogant obstinacy of the Republicans. I am confident however, that come November, the voters will put the children to bed and let the adults do their work.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  47. Mark

    Don't worry Jack, Washington will be addressing our skyrocketing debt all right...as we speak, they are most certainly trying to find out what numerical word comes AFTER the word Trillion!

    Mark
    Oklahoma City

    February 17, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  48. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    I am not confident at all. The only thing that is transparent in this administration is that there is no transparency. Too much behind closed doors and not holding people accountable. Once the "Good old Boys" and Pelosi get sidelined maybe Congress can finally get down to business. By the way,has Pelosi ever given an itemized accounting for that Copanhagan sojourn?

    February 17, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  49. Rachel

    Durham, NC

    I think there are people in the government who would like to address the national debt, but will fail to do so because it won't win elections. The average American does not understand the debt, although they know it is bad, so they are not willing to accept the sacrifices needed to deal with it. Real reductions in the national debt (just like personal debt) require increasing revenue (taxes) or decreasing expenses (services provided). Americans are not willing to accept responsibility for the debt and make those sacrifices, so congress will not do anything useful for the long term.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  50. David Smith

    I'm not confident at all that Washington will do anything. At least not for another 3 years until America can get a conservative leader in office and perhaps get some new and younger blood in the House and Senate. Everyone blames Bush for increasing the debt but they never mention that 9/11 was the main cause for the increase. We were on our way back to a balanced budget before Obama took office and now look. You can't continue to spend money you don't have. There will come a day you will have to pay the piper and I sure don't won't to be around for that. Enough is enough. Be responsible Washington. Just say "NO!" to spending. Tighten your belt for a few years. When my checking account gets low, that is what I have to do. Suck it up and put some of those pet projects on hold to when times are better.

    David
    Stewartstown, PA

    February 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  51. Tom Bulger

    Our back is against the wall. Republicans must now lose the filibuster and their ability to sabotage our economic recovery. From now on it must be the party the people elected that calls the shots. That is the first step to addressing the job market and eventually the deficit, once America is back to work.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  52. Reggie

    The government will monitize the debt with inflation as they did in the 70's. We traded fiscal responsibility under President Clinton for a $300 tax rebate and lower tax rates under President Bush. The same people who scream for fiscal responsibility scream for lower tax rates. .

    February 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  53. Dennis North Carolina

    I have no faith in either house of congress. I have no faith in the republicans because they put us in 12 trillion in debt plus destroyed our economy to the point that Obama had to add to the debt or let the country fail. the democrats who have been in office too long are guilty on the debt spending. have you ever seen a broke elected official?

    February 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  54. Linda in Arizona

    Oh, I am SO confident. Look, they're setting up a bipartisan debt panel! Can a solution be far behind?

    February 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  55. Chris in Philadelphia

    I am confident that anything that involves Congress will NOT deal with the skyrocketing debts and other real problems. The issues are too divisive, involve hard decisions and unpopular options. In short solutions would make reelection difficult so forget it.... not gonna happen.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  56. greg, new hartford, ny

    Fat chance that fat cats in fat city will put anything on a diet not withstanding the volume of baloney they "bloviate" about.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  57. John DeMartini

    My confidence level is 0%. We are in a completely different situation than we were in the last depression. We went from a lender nation to a debtor nation and let all opportunities to repay the debt vacate the country in the interest of profit. At this point in time even if the government felt inclined to do something about the debt, it is so bad that we couldn't emerge from this without undergoing tremendous pain and change.

    The end result is probably going to end up with a one world currency, and the implications are of a vastly different world than we now know.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  58. Anthony Russo

    The democrats are spending 10 times worse then the previous Administration and congress. We cannot sustain this and its just a matter of time before our economy collapses!

    February 17, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  59. Jimmy in Greenville, NC

    I think global warming will get us first.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
  60. Kevin SW Michigan

    Please remember that former President Clinton left a surplus in real dollars just 9 years ago. The GOP under George W. Bush racked up the debt by going to war in Iraq over WMD's that did not exist. The GOP blocks every move on health care and jobs bills that could help the USA. I have little faith that the GOP will do anything at all. Remember that this (GOP) under George W. Bush created the problem of big time debt and history willshow this and that 9/11 happened under W. Bush/Chenney's watch. I blame the GOP which wanted Sara Palin to be 1 heart beat away from the Oval Office.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  61. John, Fort Collins, CO

    Economic analysts have been very consistent on how to salvage the U.S. economy: the only solution being to both reduce spending and raise taxes. I am absolutely confident there is not a single politician in Washington with the stones to stand up and recommend this be done. To our mutual peril, they are all going to continue to ignore the elephant in the room and focus on the only thing really important to them - getting reelected.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  62. david doherty

    Jack as long as we continue to import everything we use in this country instead of making it here, in the USA. where we could start putting things like income tax back into our own system, we will never get a handle on it! Gee just think of it jobs and income tax, paying taxes isn't all that bad when you have a job. How can the US expect to pay it's deficit when they don't collect tax on 70% of the thing sold in this country! This is such a no brain-er, income tax is where the real money is, but we're giving it all away.
    Dave from Peterborough, NH.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  63. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    As a Californian, I can say, "look to California for the future of America." In this case, it's insolvency. Government is beholden to special interests and unions, because that's where the money is and how they get elected. They all talk a good game but telling me you will freeze spending, next year, is like saying you will quit smoking next year. The radical leftists are going to kill us with all with their waste and bureaucracy. In the meantime they will continue to work for their big money interests and cram through what ever they can to try to buy their future off with favors.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  64. Don, Las Vegas NV

    I wish we could get Steve Jobs, Donald Trump and George Foreman on a panel to solve this. Instead, we let salesmen make important decisions? The government has lost the trust of its people. The seats on Capitol Hill are too powerful.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  65. John from Fort Worth

    Not confident. To address the debt, the folks in Washington will have to either cut spending (which will cost them votes) or increase taxes (which will cost the votes). Unfortunately, our politicians feel that it is their mandate to maintain popularity and to be re-elected. Instead the mandate should be do what is best for our country – by the way, it is going to hurt a little.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  66. Scott Stodden

    Jack Im sure everyone in this country definitly knows about our national debt but in order for this country to sustain and recover we have to spend money in order for revenue to come in! This debt panel is a good idea in my opinion to figure out how to reduce the debt!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  67. Ian - La Crosse, Wisconsin

    Washington pretty much doesn't have any choice but to address the debt. But if the stimulus package IS a clear success and it DID save our economy from falling into an abyss, why is everybody complaining about Its contribution to the debt? This is better than the alternative of another depression. It seems to me that there is no pleasing the American people

    February 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  68. Bill

    Jack , the members of Congress (particularly the GOP) do not care for the American people. If they did they would have worked with the President on health care and 280 some bille being held up now. taking the money with one hand, while pointing the finger with the other hand. JOBS, appointments, trades bills, and the health care bills. The Dem. are equally the blame! I believe the Congress just doesn't want this President success!!!

    February 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  69. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    Confident? Are you kidding me Jack. Recent history has shown how inept our Gov't is in maintaining any kind of order in its finanancial affairs. The rich are still getting richer by any means they seem fit, legal, illegal, or unethical.
    When the stuff hits the fan, the middle class will take the whack as usual,by paying higher taxes. The Gov't knows no other way. To them its the best way because in the short term it is the most efficient way.
    If our Gov't was the teacher of a class all its pupils would be juvenile delinquents.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  70. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Washington is paralyzed with partisan fighting and oneupmanship. Congress does not care about the American people or what they might need or want. I can"t see that they would do more about our debt than they've done about healthcare or anything else. I don't plan to vote for any incumbent candidate in November. Washington needs new blood.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  71. EugeneWiese

    The debt has been addressed,and I'm sure the Republicans and half-assed Republicans(Independents,Liberterians,Neocons,Bluedogs and Teabaggers) will have plenty to say,you know,fiscal responsibility,and too much reckless and irresponsible spending by the Obama administration. Can you imagine what it would be like if the above mentioned conservatives were in office. President Obama is unequivocally the best person to be in office at this time in our history.Stay steady and stay focused. I remember 1929 and what a depression was like,and it was not a pretty picture. Relief has happened,Jobs are on the wayand hopefully the wars ae winding down.If the Illustrious conservatives take the congress and/or the presidency,you can kiss democracy good bye.May God bless us. Gene

    February 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  72. steve- virginia beach

    I'm sure they will, as soon as Tinkerbell sprinkles pixie dust on them. In the meanwhile, they'll continue as they have for decades, using accounting gimmicks instead of fiscal responsibility.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  73. Katja in Bradenton, Florida

    Hi Jack, I'm about as confident that Washington will address our debt, as I am that they will see to it that our borders and ports are secured.
    Nothing will change, except maybe Pelosi's suit color!

    February 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  74. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Responsibility is defined by psychologists as telling the absolute truth and being self-disciplined.

    Self-discipline is further defined as; a) bracketing ego needs for the sake of spiritual growth, b) being dedicated to reality, c) delaying gratification, and d) accepting responsibility for self.

    Courage may be defined as: doing something that you do not want to do but know is right no matter the cost.

    How confident am I in Washington about doing anything? I cannot think of one politician that is responsible or courageous, only those who are obsessed with power and greed.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  75. A. in DFW Texas

    Washington will not address the issue until the U.S. defaults on It's debt.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  76. bill in TX

    Jack,
    Any human- person that thinks for one moment that our corporate-person owned legislators are going to do anything but continue paying deficit dollars to their war profiteering patrons is wrong.
    Two deficit funded wars with no enemy that is any threat to the U.S. has not caught our attention. We have been successfully propagandized into a coma.
    Every man, woman and child is now $65,000 in debt. Before our deficit funded wars it was only $32,000. Try and stop our wars or raise our taxes to pay for them.
    No Jack, not till we spend every penny anyone will lend us will we face reality.
    As the ancients wrote in their scriptures GREED is unbounded be it human or corporate.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  77. ron - american living in Copenhagen

    Unti the U.S. Government and Congress start working together for the people instead of their stupid partisan politics - nothing will happen - so how confident am I?? I would say about minus 100 on a scale of 1 to 10

    February 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  78. Peter Lepper

    Relax Jack it is only money. Cheney said deficits don't mater would he lie to me?

    February 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  79. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    I have no question that congress will address our dept after it is too late .

    February 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  80. Homeless D in Atlanta

    D.C. has already addressed our skyrocketing debt.

    They have sent our troops to two wars, which helps on a daily basis to make the debt increase.

    They have BORROWED from other coutries to finance those wars (Chine pretty well owns us)

    They have lowered taxes and allowed loopholes, so that our INCOME has decreased.

    Any time your INCOME is less than your EXPENDITURES, your debt will increase.

    Hasn't D.C. done ENOUGH!

    What i want is for the government to (1) get us out of war, (2) stop giving the rich all the breaks. they are the ones who must pay the taxes (our government's only source of income) because they are the ones with the money, and (3) quit "fighting" for our best interests. I think they have done enough damage with the fioghting they are always doing!

    February 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  81. Bob D, Morrisown, NJ

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I have no confidence at all that congress will do anything constructive about our national debt. As you point out, Republicans don’t even vote for bills they themselves introduce and sponsor. As long as congress puts politics and party dictates (Republicans) and parochial ideology and personal politics (some Democrats) ahead of their country’s interest and their oaths of office, we are headed for the economic doom you describe, and our status as a preeminent world power is headed towards the same fate as the Greek and Roman Empires.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  82. Jeffery Matthews

    Sell the gold in Fort Knox!

    February 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  83. Turner In Washington

    Jack,

    Until the Senate Fillibuster is removed there will be no action on any front. The mainstream media has given the Senate Republicans a free ride when it comes to reporting on the Hypocrasy they practice.
    Obama can do very little to effectively attack the problems facing us in the current political climate. When the Republicans and the Tea Party regain control of Congress we will see the begginings of a second Great Depression to follow. The National Debt wont be an issue when they are forming soup lines.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  84. David Segal

    from. West Palm Beach, Fl.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, how low can you go?

    February 17, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  85. Larry

    Is there a number less than zero?

    February 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  86. dorothy schellhase

    Republicans make me laugh acting so holier than thou regarding the financial mess! It's so convenient to blame the Obama administration. Those people who go ahead and elect Republicans in the next election have to be the biggest fools in the universe to let the foxes back in the henhouse again. If you think things are bad now, wait until they get in and see the catastrophe we will have all over again. Is there anyone dumber than the American electorate?

    February 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  87. tom depasque

    jack,

    im sure that once the republicans take over, they will give tax breaks to the rich and all the problems will be solved

    February 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  88. Steve - Chapel Hill, NC

    I am confident that the people who hold our debt will address it first and it's not going to be good.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  89. Sam H

    We are in the middle of fiscal insanity. We buy more of own debt than anyone else. We are a Ponzi scheme that would make Bernie Maddoff bush.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  90. J Travers Devine

    why are your panties in a bunch Jack? In recession/depression you spend money to boost the economy, taxes are down because fewer people are paying and the rest are paying less. As the economy improves, tax receipts go up and then is the time for deficit reduction programs, not now. The sky is not falling. Remember the last time there was a budget surplus was when a Democrat was in the White House. Give the President reasonable time to turn things around and he will then get the deficit under control.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  91. John Stevens

    It was not the Senate who rejected the bipartisan panel for debt reduction, it was the members of the Senate who belong to the Party of No, Jack. It appears the GOP has taken to heart Rush Limpbaugh's call to ensure the country fails, purely for political gain. Am I the only one who finds the GOP is a party of disgusting traitors?

    February 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  92. Donna Marion, IL

    They won't address the debt, that would mean that they would have to cut spending, and they aren't willing to do that. Here's a start, have Pelosi give up her jet that holds 200 people and takes her to CA every Friday and back to Washington on Monday to the tune of $60,000 one way for fuel alone.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  93. Tony

    I'm confident that the government will solve this problem, but it will take some time AND some willingness on the part of Americans to sacrifice, and that will have to include the richest Americans, who have disproportionately benefited from the "voodoo economics" that have gripped our government's fiscal policy since 1981.

    My question for you, Jack, and all the others frightened about the mounting debt: Where were you from 2001 to 2009 while the debt went from five trillion dollars to eleven trillion dollars? I must have missed all the nervous whining then.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  94. vince cami

    Anyone who has been in an executive position at any public corporation understands this is an awful joke and nothing will get done. A good start would be to have a cross the board 15% cut in all depts plus, a 20% cut in federal workers.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  95. steven

    nobody cared when Bush was running up the debt on purpose trying to destroy what they call entitlements

    February 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  96. Michael

    Jack, there is no chance in hell! Congress is to worried about who is currently in control, they are not concerned about the nation. Notice that all the moderates are jumping ship, leaving only the zealots.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  97. Hank

    The Republicans seem to think that they have all the answers now. I say let them have it and let's see how much better they do.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  98. RickFromDetroit

    The way to address the debt is to put people to work. Working Americans pay taxes and laid off Americans collect entitlement programs. The Obama Administration has already addressed the problem, but the conservatives continue to stand in the way.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  99. Jane (Minnesota)

    I'm about as confident that Washington will address it as I am that I will win the PowerBall Drawing. The odds of me winning that are actually better with the partisan environment that exists on the Beltway.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  100. ronvan

    Jack: Van, Columbus GA. I think that I am a little older than you, sadly, I think both of us will watch with horror as our country continues to destroy itself! Our "elected children" are only conerned about what they can put in their pockets.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  101. IKHAN from san jose ca

    Jack I don't feel too confident.
    Our traditional lenders like China are rethinking their strategy. Both Japan & G.Britain have their own economic woes & cannot be relied upon to opt for US treasuries.That leaves the relatively rich Arab countries & there too our influence has been waning since the Bush days in the backdrop of our lopsided alliance with Israel.
    Now what is left ,cutting back on spending or raising taxes both are counterproductive to a healthy economy. The govt could cut back on unproductive spending & doling out pork but that wouldn't be sufficient.
    There are no signs that our lust for wars is going away & that being the biggest drain on our resources,I am giving up hope.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm |