October 25th, 2010
06:05 PM ET

Too late to do anything meaningful about deficit?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/25/art.spending.gi.jpg caption ="A demonstrator holds a sign protesting the deficit."]

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the national debt nearing $14 trillion and a deficit of $1.3 trillion last year, Washington is sitting around and waiting for the recommendations from that toothless bipartisan deficit commission.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the panel might recommend cutting some key tax breaks – like deductions on mortgage interest, child tax credits and allowing employees to pay for their health insurance with pretax dollars. The panel is also looking at cutting defense spending and freezing domestic discretionary spending.

Even if the commission agrees to any of this, good luck getting them through Congress. It's also worth pointing out that this commission is expected to stay away from the real tough issues like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

As for the president, the Associated Press reports that after the midterms, Mr. Obama plans to put more emphasis on fiscal discipline in his next two years in office.

The president has said that if we're going to get serious about the deficit, we'll have to look at everything – including entitlements and defense spending. He says it will be a "tough conversation."

Meanwhile, as candidates and lawmakers spew their ideas about cutting the deficit, experts say all the talk is nothing more than "fiscal fluff."

They say ideas like eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, earmarks, tax evasion, or returning unused stimulus funds won't solve our deep fiscal problems.

In the meantime, the government keeps spending. Since 2007, when the newly-minted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed there would be "no new deficit spending," the national debt has increased by five trillion dollars.

Here’s my question to you: Is it too late to do anything meaningful about the deficit?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6 p.m. to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Filed under: Deficit
October 25th, 2010
05:07 PM ET

Things in Washington different after midterms?


 (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/File)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The old definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

We are on the verge of giving control of at least one house of Congress back to the Republicans. Gee, that worked well the last time, didn't it?

And the Democrats, who have had the Congressional ball since 2006, have done what – exactly? End the wars? No. Fix the economy? No.

Run up the national debt? Oh hell, yes.

Speaking of the Democrats, while party leaders insist they will keep control of the House, most experts will tell you otherwise. But either way, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could lose her job.

If the Democrats lose control of the House, Pelosi is toast. But perhaps more interesting is even if Democrats keep control with a very slim margin, which is the best hope for them, Pelosi could still be ousted as Speaker. Several Democrats have already said they would vote against her.

In any case, it's quite possible that a week from tomorrow the voters will bring some big changes to the political landscape in Washington – or will they?

At the end of the day, we just keep electing a different version of the same losing proposition. It's like deciding whether to hit yourself in the head with a hammer or a baseball bat... the results are pretty much the same.

Here’s my question to you: How will things in Washington be different after the midterms?

Interested to know which ones made it to air?

Filed under: 2010 Election • Congress • Washington