Posts Tagged ‘debt-ceiling’

Debate Versus Discussion

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Often on Kentucky Tonight, I ask our guests to have clearly defined positions on the topic under discussion. I want them to explain, in detail, the reasoning that brought them to their opinions, and then be prepared to defend their thinking. I encourage them to be enthusiastic and passionate about the viewpoint they have so very carefully studied.

It doesn’t always work out that way. The show is sometimes more successful when the guests discuss rather than debate – when the dialogue is more reasoned than raucous.

Last night, our conversation began with a question about how the political wrangling of the past few weeks might shape the American system of government in the future. Did the 16-day shutdown irreparably harm Washington and the country?

Was Senator Mitch McConnell, who joined Harry Reid to craft the deal that reopened the government and temporarily raised the debt ceiling, correct when he said on Face the Nation that divided government provides an opportunity to tackle important legislation?

Will the threat of another federal shutdown and debt-ceiling showdown early next year change how this Congress and president operate?

Monday night, all of our panelists weighed on those questions with sound judgment and thoughtful logic.

Here We Go Again!

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

As I write this, the atmosphere in Washington is electric with speculation about the debt ceiling and the lingering federal government shutdown. Yesterday, the Senate, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was in the spotlight with a plan. Today, House Republicans are proposing their own package to open the government, lift the debt ceiling, and make several changes to the Affordable Care Act. It’s anyone’s guess whether this plan can pass the House, much less mesh with the Senate’s plan or gain the president’s approval.

Monday night on Kentucky Tonight, we had our own electricity in the KET studios with two former Kentucky Congressman debating these issues from the opening bell.

The Debt, the Shutdown, and Obamacare

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

In a recent New York Times magazine article, Adam Davidson (of NPR’s Planet Money podcast and blog) provided an excellent analysis of the current debate over raising the debt ceiling – and what’s at stake if it’s not increased. It’s one of the best articles I’ve seen on the problem.

Traditionally, raising the ceiling was not a political issue. That changed in 2011 when a significant faction of Tea Party Republicans entered the House of Representatives. Now it seems every few months we face another rancorous debate over whether to increase the debt limit. Davidson says no wealthy country has ever voluntarily defaulted on its debt and that playing chicken with the debt ceiling could have disastrous global consequences.

“At some point, the government won’t be able to pay interest on its bonds and will enter what’s known as sovereign default, the ultimate national financial disaster achieved by countries like Zimbabwe, Ecuador and Argentina (and now Greece). In the case of the United States, though, it won’t be an isolated national crisis. If the American government can’t stand behind the dollar, the world’s benchmark currency, then the global financial system will very likely enter a new era in which there is much less trade and much less economic growth. It would be, by most accounts, the largest self-imposed financial disaster in history.”

As we face another possible government shutdown, it will be an interesting week to look under the political rocks Democrats and Republicans are hurling at each other and see what exactly is going on in Washington.

On Monday’s edition of Kentucky Tonight, we got some insights into the debate over the deficit, the debt ceiling, and ongoing efforts by Republicans to defund Obamacare. Here’s a sampling of that conversation with Louisville Metro Councilman David Tandy; KC Crosbie, national committeewoman for the Republican Party of Kentucky; Somerset Community College political scientist James Taylor; and Brian Strow, economics professor at Western Kentucky University.

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