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71% of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling
Howard Richman, 1/17/2011

According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, 71% of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling. Here's a selection from a Reuters article about the poll results:

(Reuters) - The U.S. public overwhelmingly opposes raising the country's debt limit even though failure to do so could hurt America's international standing and push up borrowing costs, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

Some 71 percent of those surveyed oppose increasing the borrowing authority, the focus of a brewing political battle over federal spending. Only 18 percent support an increase....

When asked where to cut:

  • "73 percent support scaling back foreign aid"
  • "65 percent support cutting back on tax collection"
  • "53 percent support cutting the budgets of financial regulators like the Securities Exchange Commission"
  • "51 percent supported cutbacks to military spending"
  • "47 percent support cutbacks to national parks"
  • "45 percent, support an expected Republican effort to pare enforcement of environmental laws"
  • "24 percent say the country can afford to cut back on education spending"
  • "23 supported cutbacks to the Medicare health-insurance program"
  • "20 percent supported paring Social Security retirement benefits"

All of this is irrelevant, though, since the U.S. Senate has no intention of balancing the budget. That's basically what Republican Senator Coburn and Democratic Senator Schumer told Meet the Press yesterday. Senator Coburn said that he would vote to raise the debt ceiling "if there was a specific amount of spending cuts on the table". Senator Schumer repeated the false claim that the Obama administration would be forced to default on the national debt if the debt ceiling were not raised.

Despite the support for token measures in the Senate, the United States still has an opportunity to solve its long-term problems. The Republican majority in the House may yet force the budget into balance by refusing to raise the debt ceiling without a balanced budget. 

Unfortunately, balancing the budget would cause a decline in demand for American products, leading to a recession, unless trade is balanced at the same time, perhaps through a scaled tariff. On the other hand, continuing the deficits will eventually lead to a much larger crash either due to spiking interest rates on the national debt or a collapsing dollar.

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