News Release

Debt Ceiling “Theatre” not a “Balanced Approach”


DAVE JOHNSON, djohnson at, @dcjohnson
Johnson is a fellow at Campaign for America’s Future. He said today: “Poll after poll shows that the public gets it. People understand that our deficits were caused by tax cuts for the wealthy, wars and increases in military budgets and the effects of the recession, and they want our government to cut the deficits by fixing those. They want taxes raised on the wealthy, cuts in military, investment in infrastructure and education and, mostly, jobs. But D.C. elites are using a contrived crisis to impose back-room ‘solutions’ that benefit elites at the expense of the rest of us.”

Johnson recently wrote “A Bipartisan Move Against Democracy.”

Also see for polling data: “Public on Budget: Tax the Rich, Cut Military Spending.”

RICHARD WOLFF, [in NYC] rdwolff at, @profwolff
Wolff said today: “This is theater. This is political theater in which the two parties are posturing for the election coming next year, using this occasion — to put it in perspective, the number of times the government has raised the debt ceiling since 1940: 90, almost twice a year. This is a normal, automatic procedure. … Republicans basically decided to make theater, to run their campaign a little early this year, and to slow it all down and make a big to-do.”

He added: “The Democrats have said, ‘We will do massive cuts. They just won’t be as massive as the Republicans want.’ And then they will appeal to the American people in the hope that Americans will choose the lesser evil: the Democrats who won’t cut so terribly compared to the Republicans. … There are a number of things that are not on the table. And frankly, I’m amazed that the president refers to what he does as a ‘balanced approach. … First of all, the war and its enormous costs, off the table in any serious way. Going back to a serious taxation of corporations and of the rich in America, just, for example, at the scale that they were taxed in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, off the table.”

Wolff is author of the book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He is professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and currently a visiting professor in the Graduate Program for International Affairs at the New School University in New York City.