Columbus-Area Residents React To Debt Ceiling Increase Deal

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The U.S. Capitol building(Photo: Katie Harbath (flickr))
The U.S. Capitol building(Photo: Katie Harbath (flickr))

While a deal to increase the debt ceiling has been reached, Congress has yet to vote on it. WOSU spoke with Columbus-area residents to find out what they think about the agreement and how long it has taken to reach it.

“This is ridiculous that they are so partisan. I think it’s just a shame,” Philip Mattson from Grove City said about the months of bickering back and forth by members of Congress on raising the debt ceiling increase. He was at the Scioto Mile water park in Downtown Columbus.

“Everybody is so hard-nosed on their view that they can’t work this out just because of political opinions?” he asked.

The deal Congress agreed to raises the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, and calls for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts. It does not allow for any new tax revenue. The deficit reduction could come from cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare and a tax code overhaul.

Tom Niklas is frustrated by how Congress has handled the debt ceiling. Niklas characterized it as an embarrassment. And he does not want to see cuts made to Medicaid or Social Security benefits.

“If you want to cut the deficit and you want to cut spending please look at the military budget. We can’t take care of our own tired and poor? Have we gotten stupid in this country? I thought when I was a youngster we lived in one of the best and wisest countries in the world. That’s absolutely not true. This is not true. We are a greedy bunch of people. We call ourselves Christians, but we worship the dollar,” Niklas said.

Rosemarie Dickerson said she is relieved a deal was reached. But she would rather Congress find another way to reduce the deficit other than cutting social aid programs.

“Medicare and people like that are already burdened, and the so-called middle class is burdened and rich people have loop holes. And have already bragged they’re not paying taxes. I think everybody should pay taxes,” she said.

Mike Glenn, who was having lunch by the Scioto River, was the lone person to talk to WOSU who said cuts or revisions will need to made to benefit programs, such as Medicare.

“They’re going to get bigger faster as the years go on, especially when the rest of the (Baby) Boomers hit retirement age. Nobody wants to deal with that, and that has to be dealt with no matter how politically poisonous it is,” Glenn said.

According to the deal, Congress will not have to tackle another debt ceiling increase until 2013.