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April 28th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How serious is Congress about reducing natl. debt?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Everything has to be on the table." That's what Pres. Obama says about reducing our skyrocketing deficits. Don't bet on it.

The National Debt Clock in Manhattan.
The National Debt Clock in Manhattan.

For one thing the president refuses to say which programs may be cut. And, other lawmakers have been all over the place lately saying what they want off the table. No value-added tax, no cuts to Social Security, and not allowing tax cuts for low and middle income families to expire.

All this as the president's 18-member bipartisan debt commission gets to work. The commission is meant to bring the federal budget down to three percent of the country's GDP by 2015. Right now the deficit is on track to be double that.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warns that if we don't do something about these deficits they will do "great damage" to the U.S. economy. Bernanke says our debt levels are on an "unsustainable path."

Budget experts point out that new measures will have to rein in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security costs. But we continue to be represented by people who won't make any tough decisions because they're afraid if they do they won't be reelected. Time to vote them out. We can't keep kicking the deficit can down the road any longer.

And don't get too excited about this so-called debt panel created by Pres. Obama, either. It has no legal authority. They need 14 of the 18 members to agree to any recommendations, which can then be ignored by Congress. This is sort of like sitting on the railroad tracks, seeing the train barreling down on you, and refusing to move out of the way.

Here’s my question to you: How serious is Congress about reducing the national debt?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Rick in Seattle writes:
That won't happen until constituents say that they are willing to accept cuts in entitlements in exchange for serious cost-cutting, tax reform and loophole-filling. And when it does happen, I expect that the heaviest burden of cuts will fall on programs that benefit poor and struggling individuals, rather than the tax-incentivized, corporate welfare programs (including defense and agriculture) to which our economy has become addicted.

Sirley writes:
Some of the 18 members of the Debt Commission were on the similar Debt Commission during the Clinton administration. And, if history is correct, they made great strides and left the country debt-free with an actual budget surplus. We can only hope this commission will do half as well.

Ed in California writes:
About as serious as they are when it comes to implementing the already-standing immigration laws.

Dee writes:
Not at all. This is the most corrupt and dishonest Congress I have ever witnessed. No real effort to correct years of misguided fiscal policy, and too willing to increase spending on anything that can keep them elected.

Andy writes:
Until the government actually decides to cut back on military spending, they will never be serious about balancing the budget. We have endless amounts of uproar about welfare, Social Security and health care, but all are dwarfed by what Iraq, Afghanistan and our contracts with the military-industrial complex cost, and until that is addressed, the U.S. will never pull out of debt.

Al in Gorham, New Hampshire writes:
Jack, Congress will never get serious about the debt until someone takes away their printing press. They remind me of my ex-wife… "We can't be out of money. There are still checks in the check book!"


Filed under: Congress • Congressional Spending • National debt
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Russ in PA

    Congress is only interested in looking for more ways to fleece the American public, and blame it on someone else. If Congress – and the President – were truly interested in reducing the debt, they would be speaking about what they can cut, not what they can tax and spend. Is the USPS more efficient than FEDEX or UPS? Nope, so let's end it. Is the Department of Education more efficient than homeschooling? Nope, so let's end it. Is foreign aid gaining us anything? Nope, so let's end it. Is fighting two wars getting us anywhere? Nope, so let's end them...

    But most importantly, we need to END THE FED! After all, why should we be paying interest on worthless dollars produced by a non-government entity?

    April 28, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  2. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack,I love questions like this.It gives me a chance to tell the TRUTH!!
    to the American people who are as we speak out there working hard to make ends meet and fed their children.
    Answer:Congress could care less about the debt.The ONLY thing they will EVER care about is RE_ELECTION AT ANY COST!!!!!! Bellies full of 500 dollar lunches and 300 dollar wine all paid for by our people.
    David

    April 28, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  3. David Gerstenfeld

    Congress & serious in the same sentence is an oxymoron. When the executives of Goldman Sachs are in jail & the company heavily fined, then maybe , just maybe, congress can be considered serious about something. I have no faith in our elected officials to work together on anything.
    David, Las Vegas

    April 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  4. Jan

    When your house needs to be fixed up because it has rotten dry wall or the plumbing leaks, you have to put it on credit cards and figure out the payment. I think this is the same thing. The priority should be fixing our house, then work on the payments.

    April 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  5. tannerie delray beach,fl

    Not at all, nor should they be at this time.They need to get our economy moving since private capital will not.

    April 28, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  6. Donna from Colorado Springs

    The national debt is a huge problem, but you have to pick your priorities. What is more important right now.......immigration reform? financial reform? getting re-elected? No matter which one the President chooses, there will be an army of Republicans lined up to criticize his choice!

    April 28, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  7. Carter

    With entitlement spending through the roof, I wouldnt say they are very committed. You cannot extend unemployment benefits for over 2 years, never put a focus on job creation, and call yourself fiscally responsible in our current climate.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  8. pat in michigan

    I don't believe the Congress can be genuinly serious about paring down the debt until they focus on the basics necessary to continue the welfare of the populace. Social Security for the retired and disabled. National Defense in This Country.A functioning coherant policy for the infastructure/roads more importantly Railroads for movement of goods and people.A national education system that rewards achievment .Stop price supports and foriegn aid to convince our enemy not to kill us.For a start!

    April 28, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  9. JD

    They are probably very serious about wanting to reduce the debt, but the political "game" won't allow them to. There are only 2 ways to reduce the debt: raise taxes and/or cut services. Raising taxes is the kiss of death for any politician as is cutting Medicare or Social Security, the largest expenditures in our budget. Until the American people demand higher taxes and old people beg to buy health insurance on the open market, nothing significant will happen to the debt. Personally, I think a VAT tax would be a good way to put a dent in the budget. If you don't want to pay it, don't buy every trinket that passes before your eyes.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  10. Kevin in Dallas

    Congress is like a junkie. They only claim to want to change their ways while they're still high from their last fix.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  11. Herman

    Not very. If they were serious they would not need to form a new commission. They will review the comissions results and either increase taxes or just keep on spending and adress it at a later date. Americans are forced to budget their spending and save for a rainy day. Congress should and can do it.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  12. Jeff in Virginia

    They aren't, they will talk about it until the mid-term elections are over, the they will try to come up with somthing, but what worries me is whenever they come up with somthing, they have to hide more spending in it to get the votes. That is part of the problem. Everyone talks about the Republicans being the party of no, well look at how much more they now say Health Care is going to cost, I think that is part of what the Reps said was going to happen.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  13. Jeff in California

    Trick question? Not at all serious, they are still out there spending like there's no tomorrow. They can't seriously think raising taxes on the rich can possibly cover the massive spending they are doing. Even when they implement a Value added tax......federal sales tax on top of the 8.75% state sales tax we are already paying, that won't be enough to pay the debt down, and that will only succeed to keep people from spending. The double taxation needs to stop. Income tax when we receive our money and tax what they leave us when we spend it and that still isn't enough for them.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  14. richard weinstein

    they're not serious about it at all.
    they know there will always be debt, long after they're gone and long after their grandchildren are gone.
    it makes for good PR to show initiatives that reduce portions of the debt, but then their secretive personal pet projects that get attached to bills only add to the debt.
    besides: if they really fixed the problem of debt, then they would be left with little to do except fundraising barbecues.
    keeping the overall system in disrepair is the best means congress has for job security......

    from:
    richard
    new york city

    April 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  15. Mike in St. Paul

    It will be a top priority...until November 3rd.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  16. Joanne

    Take a look at the Congress since Dems have taken over Jan 2007 (yes 2007). ? Worst record ever in American HIstory...in fact they have beat all the ADM's since Geo Washington. They do have a motive however.....the Obama movtive. Sad motive for Americans.
    Joanne
    Mn

    April 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  17. Ed from Texas

    They would be more serious if it were easy, like cutting taxes was. Remember when the Republicans claimed their party was fiscally responsible; however, when they controlled all branches of government for six years they cut taxes and increased spending, adding $5 trillion to the national debt.

    There is no easy answer. Spending will have to be cut and taxes will have to be raised, but that's hard politically. So, nothing will be done.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  18. Eugene from California

    Jack, with a proven criminal like Senator Chris Dodd running the show, we'll never have reform. The fox is truely gaurding the hen house. Dodd can't run for reelection or he'll be investigated. What a guy.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  19. will

    i dont think that its even crossing their minds, although they are starting to take steps to put controls so the economy does not suffer another recession again, they really have not been paying attention to the growing debt, and i dont see them paying any attention to that anytime soon.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  20. David Alexandria, VA

    Not yet serious yet. Hopefully, if a smart independent panel can tackle this they will start to get the message that Greece, one of the well-springs of modern civilizations may be one of the first modern civilizations to declare bankrupcy - demonstrating that an entitlement-based society which is not accountable to its productivity is doomed.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  21. Jack in Virginia

    Judging from the fact that they have gone for almost every hare-brained spending bill that the White House has ordered up from them, I would have to say not at all. Only when the crushing amount of national debt begins to eat away at our economy (and it is starting to), affecting jobs, inflation and shortages of goods like oil and gas, then we'll get serious. But by then we will be so far overextended that it will be too late.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  22. Sue

    The Democratic side of the aisle are serious about it, but the party of NO are only interested, in being against anything the President tries to get done. They have said they only want to see him fail. They don't care anything about the people that they are supposed to look out for. We will have to remember this in November when they tell the people how much they have done and vote the NO's out.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  23. Larry,Springfield,Ohio

    About as serious as an episode of the Simpsons!!!

    April 28, 2010 at 2:06 pm |
  24. bob z fr ,pa.

    obama wants the vat tax and who will pay the most if that is passed the ones who are below 100,000 the manu. will just raise the price on goods

    April 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
  25. DON, TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN

    Not one little bit!

    April 28, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  26. Kevin of San Diego

    When they reduce local, state, and federal wages to minimum for all employees, and officials and only give them increases for actually succeeding at their jobs instead of constantly failing then we will know they are serious! If these morons increase another tax then you know they are still not taking the blame for what they have caused, and omitted to.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  27. Ed from California

    About as serious as implementing the already standing immigration laws.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
  28. Tony from Southport

    The majority of those in Congress have no interest in reducing the national debt. The minority might be. Let's see if the minority can become the majority in November and see if they've learned a lesson.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  29. Dee

    Serious? Are you serious?

    You really think Congress has any intention whatsoever of reducing our debt? Not going to happen.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  30. Sue Los Angeles, CA

    I would say they are pretty serious about reducing the rich to middle class and middle class to poverty. There is no way they can reduce the debt while the spending spree continues. Even if they had their way and we handed over our paychecks to them, it still wouldn't be enough for them.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  31. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    If only we could turn back the clock just a bit. Economists and politicians can argue about why we ran surpluses in 1999 and 2000, but they cannot dispute the fact that we did. Then came 'W' with his tax cuts on the rich, and two wars with no purpose or success. What we got from all that is massive debt and the seeds to the bubbles that eventually burst, which we're all paying for now. Congress has been 535 milquetoasts either aiding and abetting or blindly watching the destruction of our national wealth and the future of our children. I'm looking forward to November!

    Rick,
    Medina,OH

    April 28, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  32. JGB

    Next up-there will no longer be the need for anyone to leave a will or have a trust. The government will declare a right to your property when you die........the 50% or so now, just isn't enough for them.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  33. Sue from Ct

    I imagine that they are serious enough about this issue, but can either party do anything about it? Has the national debt grown so much and so fast is is possible to get a handle on it without serious sacrifices being made? These sacrifices may be the Waterloo in fixing the problem.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  34. chris

    oh about as serious as congress not taking any campaign money from banks, big oil or the health insurance industry

    April 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
  35. Proud to be Conservative California

    Congress is in "re-election" mode this year. Nothing serious is going to happen until 2011 with a new Congress. We can pretty much throw out this year because we can find members of Congress in their home state trying to get themselves re-elected and not in Washington working hard to solve America's problems.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  36. Al Brown

    Jack,
    Gongress will never get serious about the debt until someone takes away their printing press. They remind me of my ex wife – we can't be out of money – there are still checks in the check book!
    Al
    Gorham, NH

    April 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  37. francap

    I believe the Democrats are very serious. For the Republicans it's still just say, "Hell No", the last thing they want is to irritate their bosses in the wall st/big corporation cabal.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  38. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    If they were serious they would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and stop giving money to other countries today. So I guess in my eyes this is just more smoke.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  39. Chandra in Las Vegas, NV

    Very serious, providing medical coverage for millions more Americans is going to reduce the deficit.........NOT! Those outrageous comments as well as their continued spending like drunken sailors prove their only concern is shoving through as much as they can before they are voted out in November...then it will be someone else's problem to deal with.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  40. Pete from Georgia

    About as serious as a Dave Letterman's "Top Ten List".

    April 28, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  41. Jane (Minnesota)

    Only if it gets them re-elected.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  42. Edwin A Hoffman

    Not serious at all. The DEMs need it to pay for their big entitlement programs. GOP need it because they are effectively DEM-light.

    We need conservative constitutionalists in place.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
  43. Bizz Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Congress isn't about to get serious about reducing the national debt. If they did they would not get reelected. It would mean cutting programs, raising taxes and stop all unnecessary spending. No more pork being added to bills. I just don't think we have that kind of leadership in the Congress today. So we will just keep traveling down the road until there is no more road to travel on.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
  44. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Silly boy Jack, how many years have we increased the national debt, and it will continue to grow as long as the idiots in congress are spending money like it is growing on a tree.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  45. Scott - San Diego, CA

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh. If they were serious about reducing the debt they would quit spending money we don't have. That's a big fat NO. Attempting to sneak in NEW taxes, like the VAT won't do anything to help the economy recover or pay down the debt, it will just prevent people from making frivilous purchases.......the kind that keep the economy growing. We'll be lucky if they leave us enough money to pay our utilities and buy gas for our car....which are also loaded with taxes.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  46. Dennis north carolina

    If you remove the republicans from office, you would see the democrats work on it after the economy was straight. If you look back on the past forty years, the only president to balance the budget and pay down the debt was Bill Clinton(democrat). Regan, Bush SR. and Bush JR. all took the debt sky high and they are republicans conservatives which stands for self serve for your own benefit.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
  47. Lori in Ohio

    Jack, do you know who holds most of the USA debts? Well, it isn't China, or Japan or even Germany - it's the Social Security Trust Fund.

    Regan doubled the Social Security taxes back in 1983 so that there would be enough money in the fund to pay for the Boomers retirement. Instead Congress has pissed it all away on tax breaks to the wealthy and two illegal undeclared wars.

    When any member of Congress says they want to cut Social Security benefits, what they really mean is that they don't want to raise taxes on their wealthy buddies - everybody who earns UNDER $106K a year pays their full share to SS, anyone who makes more than that doesn't.

    As far as I'm concerned ALL INCOME should be subject to the Social Security tax - it's the only way to make the fat cats pay their fair share.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  48. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, they aren't serious at all. You will know when they get serious, because the only way the Democrats will do anything to reduce the debt will be to increase our taxes to cover their spending. Just check next year's tax return, and keep track of all the hidden taxes they institute across the country and you WILL know when they get serious.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  49. Kevin from Webster

    it would appear they are costantly willing to spend money which I guess will stimulate the economy. Once they get the VAT money coming in they will spend more. So I would say congress is truely doing their part to RAISE the national debt.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  50. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    HOW can you use 'SERIOUS" and "CONGRESS" in the same sentence, Jack?

    April 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  51. Andy in Vancouver, BC

    Until the government actually decides to cut back on military spending, they will never be serious about balancing the budget. We have endless amounts of uproar about welfare, social security and health care, but all are dwarfed by what Iraq, Afghanistan and our contracts with the military-industrial complex cost, and until that is addressed, the US will never pull out of debt.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  52. Simon/Orlando

    You've got to be kidding. They spend money to keep themselves in power. This has nothing to do with saving the country. They just want to appear like they care. This is all about saving their own butts.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  53. Kathie

    get real Jack. The only thing congress is concerned about is their own self serving interests, their political affiliation and their own reelection. Congress is owned by the special interests and corporate America thanks to the Supreme Court.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  54. frank in Valparaiso Indiana

    Want to make Social Security and Medicare solvent? Remove the income cap.

    Want to reduce the debt? Over $10 million in income it is taxed at 90%. Only allowable deduction is creating of jobs, and this is audited by the IRS. No offshore accounts allowed, penalty is permanent loss of US citizenship.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
  55. Janet, MD

    Jack,

    Congress is only serious about reducing the National Debt when the opposite party is in charge. When the majority party is in charge, they're not serious.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  56. jeff from pa

    Jack: Not serious at all. How much do we spend on catering to illegal immigrants? welfare, free medical and the list goes on. So no jack their not serious at all!

    April 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
  57. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    As about as serious as I am about having a sex change.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
  58. Minesh - Troy, MI

    Not at all serious, Jack.

    They could cut the debt today by repealing the health care reform law, reduce the federal budget by 5% a year for the next few years by eliminating certain departments or lay off people like the ones at SEC who were watching porn.

    The best way to reduce the debt will be to make our legislature part-time so these people can't get together to spend our hard-earned money as often. The more laws they make, the more debt we have.

    Minesh, Troy, MI

    April 28, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  59. Tina Tx

    Ask them just as soon as they get their cost of living raise.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  60. John from Alabama

    Jack; The Republicans and Democrats sound like alot of barking dogs. They both make alot of noise, but that's about all it is, "noise." No one is serious about the national debt.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  61. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    It is somewhat serious, since it is participating in the debt commission. The Republicans were for it until they were against it and now they are for it again. For now, reducing the debt should take a backseat to encouraging the recovery – however when the recovery is firmly in place it will be time for a broad based tax reform so that we all pay for expansion in healthcare for both seniors and the working poor that have already been passed. We could also likely do without a few weapons programs – although Congress does not like to hear that one at all. Perhaps we need a Defense Weapons Cancellation Commission to go with a Base Closure Commission.

    April 28, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  62. John from San Antonio

    Congress has no intention of reducing the national debt. To do so will require sacrifice on everyone's part and that will not be done until we are forced to through the market place. Much better to wait and magnify the suffering than to admit we are in trouble and bite the bullet now.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  63. ben stockton, calif

    given the approval rating the congress is in right now, i dont trust congress to do anything to help the average american.. they are only interested in their own well being .we need to get these career politicians out of there and get new face and new ideas.. term limit is the way to get these people out of there. most of them are in bed with the banking industry and with corporate america . the hell with main street america is their motto

    April 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  64. Pete

    It is hard to believe that Congress is serious about decreaseing the debt since it is Congress that created the debt to begin with. I hope that they will reduce the debt by reducing expenses rather than reducing debt by finding new ways to tax Americans.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  65. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Let's Hope so. Obama has appointed the National Debt Commision headed by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. The country need to cut down all spending or look forward to another depression. The County here is loooking for ways to trim it's budget because of falling revenues so thinga are not looking any better.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  66. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Jack Cafferty and CNN friends,

    Congress is very serious about reducing the national debt,
    otherwise there will be No Tomorrow!

    Greetings,
    Jurgen R. Brul

    April 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  67. Ray in Nashville

    The members of Congress are as serious about this as a heart attack, Jack. Unless, of course, the spending cuts come from anything that affects ones own state (or re-election chances.)

    April 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  68. Ronald Holst

    Jack Are you Joking there are politicians and each side will fight tooth and nail to get credit for the bill So Hum let me see aww No, Nope, Nada.olny worried about there own job.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  69. Brian - Cleveland, Ohio

    Everything is on the table? Does that include resignation and impeachment?

    April 28, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
  70. Greg H - Minneapolis

    Jack, nothing will ever be done about the national debt as long as the average member of Congress cares more about reelection than what they were elected for in the first place. Dealing with this problem is not going to be popular with most voters, who cannot look ahead to the long-term benefits. And that is why Congress is not serious about solving the problem of the debt.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  71. Sue from Ct.

    Are the Republicans EVER serious about change?

    April 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  72. Bob in Tampa, Fl

    Since the GOP cosigners of the Senate plan to formalize a committee to do that, you have to wonder if the GOP has a real interest in anything other than political. Of course the Democrats don't do much that isn't politically motivated, either. So, the answer to the question Jack, is good question.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
  73. Charlie in NJ

    Not serious enough. Getting the federal budget down to three percent of the GDP by 2015 says it all. That will not work. By that point the deficit will balloon to what 15 Trillion. We need a balanced budget right now, not 2015. It will hurt. It will hurt alot and hurt alot of people, but this hurt is nothing compared to what might happen if the US can't pay back what we owe. Then our monetary system will be worthless. Everyone (not just the rich) needs to sacrifice right now. And we need to reign in spending right now. All departments and all entitlements. NOW!!!!

    April 28, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  74. Nita from Detroit

    I really dont know how serious Congress is or can be about reducing the National debt. After all , the Republicans in the House of Senate are not going to participate in sharing any ideas and whatever the Democrats come up with the Repubs are going to vote NO. So its as if they could all just go back to their respective districts and let the House of Representatives do all the work. Then we would at least feel as if something is getting accomplished for the large salaries they're getting paid.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  75. Conor in Chicago

    How serious are all of you about ending the Empire? That's our damn problem. No Empire, no deficit. It's pretty simple but you'd never know it reading the news in teh United States.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  76. JENNA

    How serious is Congress about reducing the national debt?

    Democrats are – Republicans are not

    One only needs to look at history. Reagan/GHW Bush left a huge debt for Clinton and he cleaned it up and GW Bush left a huge debt for Obama and he is cleaning up the debt

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    April 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
  77. RichP, easton, pa

    I guess it depends on whether they can make any money doing so or if it will get them re-elected, then they might, no incentive to do so otherwise.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm |
  78. Sheena WI

    They created the hugh deficit with the health care reform, which will tax us greatly, they never bothered to put insurance premium regulation in that so called bill, now they want to tax us more to pay for their mistakes and spending. This government is out of control and needs to be stopped before they do any more damage.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  79. Joe CE

    The only real intrest reducing the debt is the lip service that politicans think will decceiver the voters.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  80. IKHAN san jose ca

    Hi Jack,
    first of all for a lay man like myself, it needs to be clarified as to how much is myth & what portion of the debt is actually real.

    The way Congress goes about spreading largess to Egypt & Israel & funding wars, I'm a little confused about the whole issue.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  81. Rich McKinney, Texas

    You mean the same congress that sent 2 Senators to the global warming summit along with 40 staffers spending over 400,000 tax payer dollars? Is that the congress your talking about Jack? If so then you have your answer and it is hell NO!!!

    April 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  82. Paul E

    They are not serious at all, for the reasons you said – they are afraid of not being re-elected. There will be lots of lofty ideas and empassioned speeches that make for great sound bites demostrating good intention - but that's about all that will come of. We're on a path to look like Greece does today. Except instead of the EU coming to bail us out, it'll be China. Forget about teaching our kids Spanish - the language they need to be learning is Chinese. That's who'll own the United States when this is all over.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  83. Alex in Gig Harbor, WA

    Not very much, Jack! They lose too many votes if they raise taxes or cut services. And yet that is the ONLY way to reduce the deficit. We the People are ultimately at fault since we have been led down the easy path for so long that we don't realize we can't get everything we want for nothing. Somebody has to pay for it!

    April 28, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  84. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    That depends on the Debt to Who? The Fed prints money out of thin air and expects us to pay it back with interest. I'm not going to pay that.
    The congress plundered Social Security and then says we must lessen our expectations because they have not replaced what they stole. Rein in congress, not Social Security or Medicare. As for Foreign debt, what the media isn't reporting is that we actually own more of the Chinese economy then we owe them.
    If you really want to deal with the debt, then shut down and confiscate the Federal Reserve.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  85. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Congress is probably as serious about reducing the national debt as the voters are about not voting for incumbents. You do it, but I'm happy the way things are. No Congressperson of either house will willingly give up federal funds for their state, nor will they support losing federal contracts that provide jobs for their state. It will take a president willing to piss off a lot of people to make the necessary cuts to get the budget back on track where it was before 2001.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  86. Gregory Tripp, Mechanicsburg, PA

    I believe that every member in Congress is concerned with the national debt. The problem becomes how to solve the equation. The government must spend money to get things done that are in our national interests, yet I strongly believe that our government overspends through wasteful and corrupt contracts. To resolve this I continue to endorse a cabinet level position of Auditor General. Just like the Attorney General oversees the Justice Department, the Auditor General would oversee auditing accountants empowered to take action regarding fraud and abuse of government contracts and to associate these corrupt practices with time in prison for those who knowingly participate in defrauding the American people. Much of this can be trimmed from the Pentagon's budget. Republicans get irked over someone getting paid to do nothing, yet they support the idea of paying farming conglomerates (not the family owned farm) billions to not grow food. Our government needs to be run more like a business and we need to fire several thousand bureaucrats who earn 200k/yr and up who do nothing or who are bilking our country by mismanagement.

    April 28, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  87. Jesse J Vancouver Canada

    Hi Jack,

    Congress doesn't care about the national debt, otherwise they would have banned earmarks.

    Bottom line the national debt is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about and it is about to sit down on the American public

    Jesse J
    Vancouver Canada

    April 28, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
  88. •BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    Democrats are very serious about it, Republicans are determined to do what's best for Big Business, while saying that they're in favor of regulations. (in a pig's eye . . . with or without make-up.) They always vote against the needs of middle-class America. If you don't believe me, do a little research – it won't take much.

    I say that we get rid of Congress, & leave the President to it. Let him work alone, to check things off his To Do list, then see how quickly, effortlessly, & perfectly he accomplishes everything, without that old ball & chain.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  89. Marlene

    If the recent poll is a true reflection about how voters feel about incumbents, the current members of Congress should be very serious about reducing the national debt. However, as we can see in several states as legislators struggle with state budgets, most are looking for help from the federal government. That is not the answer, and voters shouldn't let it be the answer, to balancing state budgets. I hope voters remember state legislators who are trying to balance budgets with real answers, instead of looking for federal dollars. Marlene in Mich

    April 28, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  90. Jared

    Not serious at all Jack. This country will either default or monetize. Either way we're in trouble.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  91. Brian

    Jack,

    They're all serious, and they all have great ideas. All 535 members of Congress. Problem is, you have to get 535 egomaniacs to compromise and make a decision before anything can happen. Good luck with that.

    Brian
    Boise, ID

    April 28, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  92. Mike

    Congress could care less about the debt. The more they can spend, the more pork they deliver to their contributors, and the more contributions they get in return. Want to fix that? 1) Term limits for alll people in Congress. Elect them all for a single 4 year term, then out they go, and we start with a fresh batch. 2) You don't get to keep leftover campaign funds. Funds left over at the end of the election get turned over to the Treasury, instead of serving as their retirement bonus.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  93. Smith in Oregon

    With a Democratic majority in the House and US Senate along with a Democratic President, the Democratic lawmakers are serious about dealing with and reducing the National Dept..

    A great deal of that debt comes from the US Military around the world and its continued use of 700 useless extremely expensive cold-war era Military bases around the world. Shut them down and we'd see a large National Debt Reduction immediately.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  94. larry rowland

    i doubt that there is any real urgency on the goverments side to reduce the debt real soon. larry rowland, hamburg michigan

    April 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  95. Ann from Charleston SC

    The only thing Congressmen are serious about is being reelected. The American people are serious about reducing the national debt. They are also up to here with Congress, and I'm one of many hoping all incumbents – Democrat and Republican alike – will be voted out of office. Then maybe Congressmen will get the wake up call they need, stop the silly political games they are playing and start doing something about the debt and other national problems.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  96. Mark, Oklahoma City

    About as serious as the Mexican government is about keeping their citizens from "traveling" to the USA.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  97. Rick in Seattle

    Congress serious about reducing the national debt?

    That won't happen until constitutents say that they are willing to accept cuts in entitlements (by which I refer to Social Security & Medicare) in exchange for serious cost-cutting, tax reform and loophole-filling.

    And when it does happen, I expect that the heaviest burden of cuts will fall on programs that benefit poor and struggling individuals, rather than the tax-incetivized, corprate welfare programs (including defense and agriculture) to which our economy has become addicted.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  98. Ralph Spyer

    What in God name are you talking about Jack? Wars cost money; national health care cost money, China can only loan us so much.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  99. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    I would have to say Congress isn't serious at all about reducing the national debt. All they seem to care about is being re-elected and, thus, are saying what the American people want to hear so that they do get re-elected. Once in, it will be back to business as usual. Leaves me wondering who I should vote for.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  100. kent, nj

    Congress is not serious at all about reducing the national debt which currently is 65 trillion dollars when you include social security and medicare. Both democrats and republicans refuse to cut defense, nasa, agriculture, corporate welfare, medicare and medicaid. In addition they refuse to raise the top tax rate to 90% which was the top rate during the roosevelt, truman and eisenhower admininstrations. Obama and congress refuse to accept the fact that we have a fiscal state of emergency.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  101. June

    Serious about reducing the debt- what a joke. If they were serious about reducing the debt they wouldn't be spending money faster then they can print it.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  102. Will from San Jose, CA

    Our national debt has doubled since 2002. Most of the politicians that are in Congress today were present for that explosion. They not only failed to reduce the debt, they personally were involved in making it worse. Why should anyone believe these are the people to fix it?

    April 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  103. Chris, Bronx, NY

    Congress may not be serious, but the President is!! If he has to rally against his own party establishment to begin to reduce the debt, he will. The President will go around the country to promote what this panel resolves.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  104. Susan from Idaho

    About as serious as enforcing the immigration laws.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  105. Bruce

    Their directive from the global illuminate and their reptilian masters do not include making anything better here, including the debt. They in fact want things to disintegrate as much as possible.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  106. Don Ritchie

    Hey Jack!

    Democrats are the only American politicians in generations who have balanced the federal budget. As a lovely side-effect of gerrymandered incumbency, most of the Dems are all the same people who balanced the budget a decade ago.

    Yes, they have proven seriousness on this issue. We are in a big hole. It cannot be done next year. It may not be done for a decade. My grandma will die if her Social Security gets cut.

    Don in Louisiana

    April 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm |
  107. Scott Stodden

    I believe Congress and the Senate are serious about reducing the national debt alot-both Democrats and Republicans! But what about this debt commission? I believe the President and the debt commission should just go through the budget piece by piece cut what they feel is neccessarry and keep what they feel is neccessarry and raise or lower taxes where they feel neccessarry and then after all is said and done and after the President and the debt commission agree on a final bill they should bring it to the Congress for a vote and then to the Senate as well and that should be it. There shouldn't be 18 of whatever number of people on the commission have to agree that is just pure and utter rubbish Mr President! You Mr President and your commission should just develop a bill send it to Congress and then to the Senate and let them fight, argue and vote on it period stop with all this nonsense.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    April 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  108. Fernando McGregor

    Hello Jack: A couple of weeks ago we learned that more than half of the US households do not pay income tax. We are also engaged in two wars (one of them illegal) for the last nine years, and all that you hear from the Republicans is that we need to cut taxes. During the previous world wars, us as a nation sacrifice, pay our taxes; ration our fuel consumption, because it was a patriotic thing to do. Now we want to have a great nation, the greatest armed forces, without us doing our part as citizens. In order to have a greatest infrastructure and provide for all our citizens we must stop the nonsense of tax cuts, because we are paying the price of those ill ideas now. Our country is looking more like a “banana republic”, and we have to put the blame on our greed.
    By the way why take the long road of economic reform? Why not reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act? I am sure Congress have a copy of that bill in a file cabinet.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  109. Nancy in Michigan

    Jack, if history is any indication, then no. Look at the debt since Reagan. It has sky-rocketed, with Clinton making a small dent but Bush went back to the credit card spending of Reagan. Do I want to pay more taxes? No, but what is better, pay-as-you-go or cut taxes and keep spending? As I see it, this trickle-down economics has proved to be what HW Bush called "voodoo economics." But, I have seen, personally, abuses by people on welfare (by the way they were all caucasian) which needs to be addressed. Too much abuse, no trickle-down, and too little taxed paid by corporations and the top 1%.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  110. Kyle in Washington

    Jack, when a substantial portion of the national debt is owed to the federal reserve and could just be "legislated" away, but our congress is not willing to becuase too many wealthy families and foreign powers might have to sell their yachts if that were occur.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm |
  111. Mike in New Orleans

    The bi-partisan commission is a smart step forward. But I suspect in the end it will be President Obama who uses the powers of the presidency to enforce debt reduction. You can't trust politicians who campaign on an anti-deficit spending platform, like Bush did.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  112. Doug - Dallas

    Jack, if you don't let Congress spend money on whatever they want, as much as they want, they won't have anything to do and will do less than they do now. Then they will actually have to govern and hell that's no fun! Congress isn't serious about reducing the debt, they've been doing this crap for decades.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  113. Steve

    Lemmee see, Medical reform, financial reform, stated withdrawal from Iraq..So far not bad.I think maybe the panel will throw some meaningful ideas out here for consideration. It will be interesting to see what a reshuffled house and senate do with it

    April 28, 2010 at 5:41 pm |
  114. Gary H. Boyd

    Just about as serious as they are about immigration reform. Nada, nothing, zero interest in debt reduction. They all know the country's bankrupt, they just won't admit it. Their answer's simple - crank up the printing press.

    Gary in Arizona

    April 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  115. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    This is an election year Jack. Any sencerity is an act to get votes and not at all real. And these people gotta act as though they wanna spend money in thier own districts. If Thomas Jefferson was alive today he would be one pissed off dude.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
  116. Koushik

    Jack
    George Friedman in his book The Next 100 Years claims that the 21st century will culminate in a US-Mexican war??!!...mmmm.... Wonder why?!
    Koushik
    Tampa, FL

    April 28, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  117. VCMates

    If we have a two party political system, then Congress is only half serious.

    Huntsville, AL

    April 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  118. Lori in Ohio

    When Congress says it wants to cut Social Security, what it means is that it doesn't want to give each and every taxpayer the benefits THEY HAVE PAID FOR since 1983 -

    I have been working since I was age 17 - Reagan increased the amount I had to pay into Social Security, increased the age that I can collect benefits (67) and now I'm being told that those benefits have to be cut and the government wants to increase the retirement age?!!!

    Jack, I'll have worked for 50 years before I collect a dime right now!

    And all because Congress doesn't want to pay back the money they stole from the Social Security Trust Fund.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  119. James

    You mean to tell me that they don't have a limitless credit card backed by the tax payer? Would you be concerned about your spending if your super rich uncle gave you a credit card with no limit, Jack? I know I wouldn't even think about it.

    Anaheim, California.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  120. Chris

    Very serious as long as cuts do not come to pet products to their state, or from Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, Homeland Security, and other welfare programs. So yes they will happily cut 0.5% of the budget. Useless. Utterly useless.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
  121. honest john in vermont

    You will only see the "appearance" of Washington politicians trying valiantly to reduce the debt. It is all BS. How do you spell pork?

    Maybe Washington should set a good example and everyone should take 20% paycuts and have their benefit packages reduced. It will be a cold day in he11 when that day comes.

    April 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  122. Kenneth in the High Desert of California

    I don't know how serious Congress is about the national debt At one time we owed thousands, then millions,then billions, and now, trillions.
    But not to worry we have a long way to go to get to sextillion, octillion, nonillion, decillion, undecillion, duodecillion, and more till we get to centillion.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  123. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    There about as serious as they are fixing immigration .

    April 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
  124. Ralph Spyer

    Wars cost money we have two on going ; national health care cost money; China can only loan us so much.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  125. Ray from California

    They are about as serious as worrying about a wart on their buttocks. The only thing that every member in Congress is ever worried about is being re-elected. Period. I can see the future now. Our country will go bankrupt, the government will collapse and all of them will be out of a job. Then they will not need to be serious about reducing anything !

    April 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  126. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    How much money has Obama spent this year and how much is he planning to spend next year the only thing i think Obama is interested in is the midterms .

    April 28, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
  127. Michael Brenner

    The Dems couldn't care less about debt.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  128. David

    If we stopped spending all our money overseas, and stopped helping countries that have a disaster, then maybe we would have some money left over. I mean, why should we help all those other countries when we can't even help ourselves?

    April 28, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  129. Cal Wendlandt

    If you want to kill the snake, cut its head off.
    The DNC and RNC are the two biggest terrorist group that raise hell with our lives.
    They are answerable to no one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Eliminate those two groups and then our law makers would do what is best for WE the legal citizens, and not we the political eleat or for the sake of impowering the Government.
    Some peaseful rebellian is needed and called for.
    We need more States to do what Arizona did, then some ideots would maybe listen to the we people.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
  130. Nancy M., Tennessee

    Congress doesn't seem to get it. We have a National Debt that would scare the richest Sultan in the world. Yet our representatives go about spending like some Pollyanna who is oblivious to the situation. We need to do some serious soul searching in November when we enter the voting booth and try to select some people who are willing to make the tough choices and cut spending.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  131. Political Hector

    jack,
    we will never see the deficit reduce, not in our lifetime. they always keep rising the limit to be at deficit. during the bush years was at 6 and raise the limit to 10. too much greed in this country.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  132. Terry

    It seems that the Republicans have only one objective: to destroy the current Presidency. This is more important to them than doing anything at all to help Americans.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  133. David

    To be honest, Congress really doesn't care about the National Debt, we, for the past 8 years haven't cared, and because of that, we are so deep in the hole that if we didn't spend any of our Tax payers dollars for ten years, we would still be 1 trillion dollars in Debt.

    David
    Seattle, WA

    April 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  134. Michael, Springfield VA

    Just take a look at the amount of pork in any bill that Congress has passed in the last 10 years and you'll have your answer.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  135. Dee

    Not at all. This is the most corrupt and dishonest congress I have ever witnessed. No real effort to correct years of mis-guided fiscal policy, and too willing to increase spending on anything that can keep them elected.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  136. Sirley Thagard

    Some of the 18 members of the Debt Commission were on the similar Debt Commission during the Clinton Administration and if history is correct, they made great strides and left the country debt free with an actual budget surplus. We can only hope this commission will do half as well.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  137. Johnny

    About as serious as a bug stuck in a pail of water trying to stay afloat. If they were serious about anything Jack they would be serious about working together on behalf of the American People. I agree, vote the old republicans and old democratics out.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  138. Michael Bingham

    Serious, you've got to be kidding. Trillions in debt, Billions in spending, hundreds of thousands of new federal workers. Thousands of newly constituted reulatory agencies. Government is not the solution...It IS the problem!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  139. Larry Seeley

    Santa Fe, NM

    Until Congress (and the rest of the country) is willing to recognize the 800-pound gorilla in the room, nothing will happen. Defense spending will add up to almost a trillion dollars this fiscal year, including wars, etc. We can cut that by 50%, but need to accept a readjustment in our economy. Dwight Eisenhower called in almost sixty years ago. Time to bite the bullet in half.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  140. Ed, Norman, OK

    not serious at all..just more words and gestures signifying nothing....term limits might make those who are in office work for the people, not for reelection..at least they would have a limited time at the feed trough

    April 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  141. Dawn, Mesa Arizona

    Congress is more interested in lining their own pockets for as long as they can. They don't care about the mess they leave behind.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  142. Yezdyar Kaoosji

    Your are asking the wrong question, Jack! You need to ask "will Congress put all the Federal Budget...including the Defense and War budgets into one pot before starting to whittle it down?" When the whole budget is at their disposal they can easily do the needful to trim it down.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  143. George Trent (PENN STATE)

    Congress is not at all interested in reducing the national debt for a multitude of reasons. I propose the main reason is the Keynesian Economic Philosophy that runs rampant through the minds of the people in charge. We need to introduce Americans and the people in charge to Austrian Economics. Only then will they finally start to understand and be able to take substantive actions.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  144. Dave Mahalik

    Jack, Congress is not the least bit serious in reducing the deficit, and that is why the President has to step up and use his veto. In addition, the President must cut out the tons of waste in the budget. Getting re-elected has just gone too far. Someone needs to go to bat for the tax payers.

    Dave
    Annapolis

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  145. Michael

    Time and again one can observe that Congress' interests are guided by a singular determinant – reelection. As such, the American public's understanding of the severity of the problem will be critical in shaping how seriously Congress considers the issue.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  146. lynn graton

    The federal government is not interested in reducing the deficit particularly if it costs them anything! Congress & the Senate voted themselves raises...no raises for Social Security! No raises for the military! They continue to travel on needless trips, with no regard to the amount of money spent for the airline costs and stay at the most expensive accomodations that they can find!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  147. Dave

    Even though they have no authority in congress, the commission can drive a national conversation which I think can sometimes be more important. It's obvious your frustration with the matter but progress no matter how small still deserves the label.

    Congress can and will only be as determined as the public it represents. We cannot be critical of those who have done nothing when as a public we have the same personal attitude. I believe the root question on this matter is how serious is America about living within our means instead of within our image.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  148. Kong

    I think the voters are partially to blame. Everyone wants benefits and no one is willing to face the consequences of them. When state govt's try to cut spending (in education, social services, etc), everyone screams bloody murder and protests throughout the state. Yet, they still expect their leaders to reduce costs and balance the budget. Unfortunately, there is no intelligence requirement for voters, and it is them who tie the hands of their politicians.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  149. Michael Keller

    Yes we understand about debt. But the real tough decision has to do with cutting DEFENSE spending. Why is it that noone talks about that. I personally am noy laying awake at night worried that the Iranians will attack me. We all know that the defense department has much waste that can be cut – why can't we take a look at that. How many contractors are getting rich providing services in Iraq? I would bet that there are some appropriate cuts there.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  150. Edward G. Ebeling

    Deficit spending is a politicians way of giving their constituants free stuff. As long as the masses think that they are getting something free, Democrats and Republicans will spend like hell. If all Americans were forced to write a check each month to the Government, their idea of taxes and spending would change... their voting would change... politicians would change.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  151. Harry Worthing

    Congressmen (and women) have absolutely no interest in reducing the national debt ... unless we add an incentive! How about not paying them (zero!) in any year that we don't have a balanced budget

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  152. Annie, Atlanta

    Michael Brenner, I disagree. Dems care about debt. How can you clump us all together like that? We're in a depression/recession. If the government draws back now, it could halt our recovery.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  153. Ted

    Jack,
    If congress was serious about lowering our national debt they would do something about our illegal imigrant problem. Just think of how many billions it is costing us as citizens to provide for the illegals in this country. It is costing in lost jobs. They don't pay taxes. Their children get free education. Every time they go to the hospital/doctors who do they think pays for that. And of course we have to feed them. I guess this is all done free gratus. If they would get rid of at least half of the illegal aliens, it would reduce our national debt greatly.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  154. Michael Scarborough

    Congress could be a lot more serious about reducing the national debt if the American people (i.e., voters) didn't demand so many goods and services from their government. Remember that the definition of "pork" is money that gets spent somewhere else. Not even the great Ronald Reagan could change the American appetite for federal spending, and that was supposed to have been the keystone accomplishment of his administration.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  155. jake

    it seems if congress was serious about controlling the debt, they would tell the president to stop promising and sending money we do not have elsewhere. The humanitarian thing to do, it seems at this time, would be to be honest and say sorry we don't have any money. Maybe the pres. and his staff and congress could take two years without pay, like so many americans, if they are serious.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  156. susan

    President Obama is serious! He has proven it by setting up this deficit reduction panel - the Congress was told to do it, but the republicans voted against it! And so the President decided that he was not going to let the issue drop, he was going to do it without the Congress, because it is important.
    I applaud President Obama for the step he took setting up the deficit reduction panel.
    I will applaud the Congress when they do what the panel suggests needs to be done to reduce the deficit – like Obama wants to do!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  157. Matthew from Michigan

    Our leaders in congress are good at "talking the talk" but none of them are good at "walking the walk." They all have a spending problem

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  158. Christopher

    I'm certain that congress isn't serious about reducing our debt. For Congress, reducing debt means hurting their constituents in some way, which is a great way to get voted out of office, and thus they won't do it.

    The people of America need to show their senators that they're willing to sacrifice some of the services of the government, such as the excessive bureaucracies that have cropped up recently.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  159. Linda in Arizona

    How serious is Congress about ANYTHING?

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  160. Jeff Richardson

    The problem Obama is having is finding a way to lower the deficit is that people keep yelling at him to help out the economy. The people want the cake and eat it before it is even mixed in the bowl. You can't solve the economy and lower the deficit. The economy must be the first thing he should focus on.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  161. steve- virginia beach

    Not at all. They're still spending like drunks in a strip bar. It's not enough to bankrupt the federal government; they've escalated it to commandeering state budgets, stealing corporate income that could otherwise create jobs, stealing directly from our wallets with unfunded mandates, and stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund. If they were serious about reducing the debt, they wouldn't still be going strong, poised to legalize tax dollar-guzzling economy-busting illegal aliens including their cartel brethren and to increase our electric bills by thousands per year with cap and trade. There is no stopping them except at the polls.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  162. larry a abel

    Jack, the congress could careless about reducing the national debt because it is not fashionable during an election year. They talk a big game but in the end they can't get the job done. Democrats feel the only way out of recession is spend more. They are all over wall street which obviously needs some oversight, but the bottom line is that the markets are the engine that makes this country run. How many of those senators that ripped apart the Goldman execs yesterday had holdings in goldman over the years and made big money off all our pain. I for one lost a good part of my retirement but no one held a gun to my head to invest.let's show them this fall who runs this country!!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  163. Jeff Jones

    President Obama is serious about reducing debt it really is congress who is not making reasonable decision in doing so. Medicare should be cut and social security should rise the retirement age to 70. Im a college student the people complaining are the people who are about to retire and who have established themselves in life. In the end we the children of my generation and after me are going to pay for it so I feel that they should make the sacrfice for us by cutting medicare and rise the age requirement for retirement to 70. It's a equal to equal choice for the older generations and young generations to come.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  164. Charles R

    No. Neither party has the guts to do what is necessary. Cut spending and create a flat tax. The more you spend the more you pay. But everyone (not just half of us) pays.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  165. Joseph Hayes--Missouri

    Who didn't see this coming? Eight years prior to Obama's election Bill Clinton's plan to pay down the deficit WAS WORKING! When Bush repealed Clinton's plan the checkbook was open. For almost eight years everyone looked at tax cuts for the wealthy, tax cuts for the big corporations and while that was going on the attitude on the deficit was 'If we don't look at it, it doesn't exist.' Where were all the republican watchdogs then? Now that a democrat is in the White House it's too easy for everyone to blame the current administration for the mess we're all in. They offer no solutions that would jeopardize their re-election. They still want to cater to Wall Street. People aren't real fond of Wall Street right now so any move to soften the financial reform bill would tell me that NO. They aren't serious.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  166. Leslie

    No I do not think they are ready to get serious and do what needs to be done because they are politicians for pete's sake and, none of them have the guts to be honest with the citizens. They will say they are being honest but the fact is, telling only half truths is still a lie. This is just like the 80's but one hundred times worse.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  167. Brian Smith PhD

    With the biggest group ever (the boomers), starting to collect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, no way will the chicken hearts in Congress ever pull back on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Therefore, since Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid represent half of the government expenditures, then we need to switch to the other half. Government employees average $76,000 a year. Twice as much as the average American. So lets cut ALL government employees to $40,000. We should start with Members of the House and Senate.

    San Diego CA

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  168. Ed Wanalista

    Jack, these Congressmen grew up with debt...what makes you think they want to get rid of it? Giving money away helps make more money right (economy thinking)! Meanwhile, they get to carry no blame like most folks have realized carries no punishment in our BILL of Rights...without probable cause (Amend 4) by virtue of the Powers of the People (Amend 10).

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  169. LaDonna V

    Jack,
    You are right that lawmakers will not act because they are afraid of not being re-elected. The problem is, they are RIGHT!. Any Senator or Representative who supports the unpopular but absolutely necessary reality of raising taxes to help cut the deficit will be voted out. The real problem is that the American people want it both ways – lots of benefits and low taxes. WE have spent our way into this mess and now we have to be willing to cut up out national credit card and raise taxes to pay off the bill. Let's grow up and face our responsibility so we don't end up free-loading off our children.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  170. Pete R.

    Congress is out of touch with America. Also the majority in the Senate . How long will " We the people " tolerate this????

    Its all about Reform & New taxes .........slowing killing all of us !

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  171. Michael in Phoenix

    This is one time that actions speak louder than words.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  172. Jerry Schmidt

    Goverment. schools,Churchs, all spend more money then thay take in , and it dose not matter what thay get, thay just spend, spend,spend, the federal goverment need to go on a diet, this is a joke, and I am not amused, Jerry

    April 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  173. bhaskar

    Jack

    The politicians in this country only react in an extreme crisis situation and in the case of national debt that situation will come when we are at risk of defaulting like Greece is facing now on their debt obligations. It is unfortunate but we need a 9/11 like situation for the debt crisis before these cowardly, self serving politicians act in the best interest of the nation and not in their own reelection interests. A ticking debt bomb is not enough for us, it needs to go actually off for real action to happen. Till then it will be just a lot rhetoric on both sides without any real action.

    Bhaskar
    Herndon, VA

    April 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  174. Albert Marchetti

    According the the Amazing Kreskin, the US debt will be eliminated by the year 1,200,000.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  175. anttoinette d, newman

    I think our government isn't serious about anyting. If they were serious about reducing our national debt, they would get out of the Middle East and quit meddling in the affairs of other countries. They would also institute taxes (remember the luxury tax on perfume, jewelry, leather goods, etc. during and after World War II? I do and it really wasn't all that painful.) Above all, the Congress must quit messing around and move towards solutions to our problems.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  176. Steve D

    Jack, they are very serious but their hands are tied. In the case of Social Security not only did my generation pay for this "benefits" program we also allowed much of the surplus be used to overpay our parents (we really weren't given a choice). I would suggest a solution similar to the one they used for civil service retirement. Pay those entitled and come up with a better 'paid for' plan to put all new people into while phasing out the underfunded and robbed trust fund program. To tell an entire generation of people that paid into a program their entire life thinking there would be a benefit when they reached retirement age "Just Kidding" is criminal and any law maker that tries to do that should be ready to do hard jail time.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  177. Betty

    Congress should be able to resolve any and all financial shortfalls, that is as long as there is any money left in the SS funds acct. Most elderly folks paid into Social Security for many, many years with the understanding that would be part of our retirement and we factored it in. Unfortunately, presidents and congress have 'borrowed' to get the country out of a crisis after crisis until there is not much left in the Social Security coffers.
    Presidents and congress are both guilty. Now Social Security is a portion of 'what should be cut.' Current working folks should be able to opt out of SS contributions so they can invest that money in something presidents and congress can't touch.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  178. Dan

    Jack,

    There's one solution that nobody on either side is proposing, with the sole exception of Ron Paul. End the undeclared wars and bring our troops home. The border patrol will now be able to focus on the borders of the United States, not the borders of Iraq and Syria. We have to take care of things in-house. No more appeasing the folks who cut in line and insult those who have undergone the legal process and followed the rules.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  179. George

    You complain about the toothless commission Congress set up, but you conveniently forget to mention that it was the GOP that voted down a bipartisan commission with teeth that the GOP had originally proposed.

    Are you gunning for Michael Steele's job?

    April 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  180. Gigi

    In order to reduce the debt we need to raise taxes but...before we do that let's roll back the tax cuts for the rich and famous.
    That would be a good start. In order to have a sound government we must elect persons of integrity. and have a fair tax base. If we don't it continues to be business as usual

    April 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  181. John

    Millions have paid into SS for DECADES. Anyone saying that these people can not get these benefits,.... or reducing the already low benefits that millions already have to live on would be nothing short of theft and murder.

    If you want to reduce debt, quit starting wars. Quit loading every bill in Congress with bullshit "Pork". Quit letting the financial "Fat Cats" ruin our economy at the cost of the life savings of the average American.

    Remember too,...charity should begin at HOME,..... not somewhere else.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  182. Jonathan

    I think that most members of Congress individually are quite serious about the deficit. But these members of Congress all need to realize, each one individually, that, despite being good enough to be elected, this is not only not good enough for the country, but is in act not worth anything at all.

    Scranton, PA

    April 28, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  183. Dan

    Jack,

    Ron Paul is the only one of the lot who would actually reduce the debt. Even the Democrats aren't willing to give up on this world empire we have going for us. 700 bases within 130+ countries around the world, totalling $1 Trillion dollars a year. Cut $400-$500 billion from overseas, and use that money to help those who are dependent on the government while at the same time paying down our debt and teaching the next generation of folks how to be more self-sufficient and responsible. If this makes any sense at all, Ron Paul is the only answer.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  184. Paul Dawkins

    The Congress is incompetent. However, they simply reflect the conflicting views of the public. There is no chance in hell that Congress will reduce the National debt because the public (aka consumers; formally known as citizens) has no stomach for reducing the debit. NIMBY is the overriding mental process controlling this. Ask your viewers what they are willing to give up first. Then demand that the Congress act on these ideas. Unfortunately, I don't think the public is willing to sacrifice anything so there we go with reducing the debt.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  185. Darlyne Burns

    You are right, Congress had better NOT touch Social Security or Medicare. Unless we get a single payer system for our healthcare (which would reduce healthcare costs drastically), Medicare is all the protection Seniors have. Social Security is a promise made and my pension included an offset for Social Security. My retirement planning was all based on this formula.
    Congress should quit entering wars that are totally unnecessary, tax the rich much more, and stop all the boondoggle spending. There is so much WASTE in the national budget. These bailouts of criminal financial institutions (like for the criminally insane) should never have been made. The gambling by these so called "investment" houses needs to stop. Congress needs to spend on OUR country first!!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  186. christopher Saskatchewan

    Congress is not equipped to start dealing with the deficit. The whole financial system exploded in the fall of 2008. Public and private debt (the total deficit) in in the U.S. is in excess of $58 Trillion. How does anybody get out of that who isn't Houdini?

    April 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  187. Angel

    Why is everyone worried about the national debt all of a sudden? The republicans had a huge party and spent trillions and when they left office and the democrats came in to clean up the mess every one is upset at the money it will cost to clean the carpet and replace the lamp. This is ridiculous. We had to spend money to fix the bush mess. I say take back the tax breaks for the super wealthy and pay off the debt with it.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  188. June Bost

    This gutless congress will never attack Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare. Too bad. Social Security should be easy to cut because the original intentioin was to help old people who had no income and were starving on the streets. Today many of us seniors have adequate income to pay the rent, buy food and live a decent life. But those of us who are well off, with income over 70K don't need Social Security. It should be based on need and should be available to us as a safety net. Nothing will be done until we are in the position of Greece and foreign countries will no longer invest in the USA.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  189. Wendy

    Instead of always mentioning social security and medicare as the areas to cut, when will the government stop the farm subsidies (especially to giant agribusiness), the exorbatent amount of money we currently spend on the military industrial complex and policing the rest of the world, and supplying aid to too-numerous-to-mention countries? We should turn our production and manufacturing prowess into things that would mean jobs for our citizens – such as green energy, new infrastructure and actually securing our borders, as opposed to "vere are your papers??" types of individual state responses to the illegal immigration problem that places such a burden on every aspect of this country's finances. If we were to do that, we might actually be able to EXPORT items and get paid by other countries for all that we contribute to global welfare, as opposed to the way it is now.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  190. Bernie Wittels

    Congressmen and Congresswomen have their own election and re-election as their first priority, so that any attempt to reign in Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security costs is counterproductive to their personal aspirations. What needs to be done is to reduce entitlements such as the programs just mentioned and to place more emphasis on education, job production, and personal saving, with safe, open, honest investment practices. That last item also brings in the need to reform Wall Street to conform to rules, eliminate the rewards they receive for inventing new investment vehicles that are outside of regulation, and to allow recourse for citizens who have had significant financial losses from investment bankers misuse, abuse, and frank churning of citizens investments as vehicles for the investment houses' profit-taking transactions. I don't believe any Senator or Representative has the guts to push these reforms for the benefit of all Americans if it means their re-election would be imperiled. I challenge all of them to step up and show firm principled action, for a change.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  191. Billy

    If Congress was as serious with all these issues as they are their raises and vacations then maybe we would not be in the messes we are in. I bet they show up ready to vote YES on that, but when it comes to our raises or any other issues like National Debt, then all hell breaks loose. I'm going to be at the voting booths come election time too, voting YES to booting them out so they can be replaced by another incompetent politician. We are just screwed Jack, God help us all..

    April 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  192. Darlyne Burns

    You are right, Congress had better NOT touch Social Security or Medicare. Unless we get a single payer system for our healthcare (which would reduce healthcare costs drastically), Medicare is all the protection Seniors have. Social Security is a promise made and my pension included an offset for Social Security. My retirement planning was all based on this formula.
    Congress should quit entering wars that are totally unnessary, tax the rich much more, and stop all the boondoggle spending. There is so much WASTE in the national budget. These bailouts of criminal financial institutions (like for the criminally insane) should never have been made. The gambling by these so called "investment" houses needs to stop. Congress needs to spend on OUR country first!!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  193. Peter

    Hi jack

    Just about as serious as Grease, Spain and Prrtugal is.
    Grand socialism in action.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  194. Dan in Seattle

    The US government debt is indicative of how in debt its citizens are. In previous generations they were willing to just go without until they could afford it. The current generation wants it all now and thinks that they don't have to worry about paying back the debt. No politician wants to committ suicide by making the tough fiscal decisions and doing what is responsible. It has never been politically expedient to face our entitlements and address the real financial drain of our country. When we as a people decide to seek the common good instead of what is selfishly in our own supposed best interest is when we will have the backbone to force Congress to stop the bleeding and make the hard choices to reduce our debt.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  195. Michael in Phoenix

    I would like to see the government give us a sign. Something like voting themselves a reduction in pay instead of an increase. Perhaps a 10%.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  196. tired american

    its not about congress reducing the debt......are the american people going to reduce the national debt? alot of americans spend beyond their means, use credit cards without regard for tomorow. jack honestly theY give us the rope an we hang ourselves. well thank god for jesus christ who warned us about the root of all evils......MONEY!!! we are lovers of money and self.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  197. steve- virginia beach

    Not at all. If terrorism is "man-caused disaster" as the Obama administration claims, then Congress and the President are fiscal terrorists.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  198. Mark from San Diego

    Probably as serious as they are on real immigration reform. All I can say is, come November, candidates without a R or D beside their name will get my vote.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  199. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – A bunch of you people need civics lessons. The "Empire", as you call it, is no more than one fifth of total Federal expenditure. Municipal matters like welfare are not in the Federal budget at all. The historical alternatives have been Democrats who tax and spend, versus Republicans who spend but do not tax. Wake up people – everything we get from Uncle Sam has to be paid for – every dollar of bacon your Congressman brings home to your District, every Federal subsidy check for businesses and farms, every tax credit for anybody, the health care benefits and pensions for the elderly and the disabled, and the salaries of the 1.5 million Federal employees who operate the armed forces, the parks, and the agencies that are supposed to regulate fraud, unsafe practices, and environmental damage. The US does not borrow money from the Federal Reserve – banks do, and pay for it, and the profits go right into the Treasury. The debt is in bonds sold by the Treasury at auction, to the Chinese and others. A substantial amount of Federal bond debt is owned by Americans – if you have any US bonds, you are one of "our" creditors! One fourth of current expenditure is interest on Federal Bonds and Notes. Eventually, present trends continuing, interest and entitlements alone will exceed revenues.
    We need to tax more and spend less. Period!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  200. susan

    The fact that President Obama set up this deficit panel months ago – shows that HE is serious about debt reduction!

    When Obama's deficit reduction panel comes back with the recommendations of what needs to be done to reduce the deficit – I hope that the Congress listens and does what is recommended.

    I applaud President Obama for setting up ther deficit reduction panel – since the Congress, and mostly republicans refused to do it!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:51 pm |