June 30th, 2011
06:01 PM ET

Letters to the President: #892 'Default position'

Reporter's Note: President Obama is poking at Republicans over raising the debt ceiling. And they are poking back. Me? I’m just sending my daily letter to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

When it comes to this furious debate over raising the debt ceiling, I’m having a hard time believing that either side is entirely right. I know that you are blaming the Republicans, and they are blaming you. I know that balancing taxes, expenditures, entitlements, and everything else is tough. So what else is new?

It’s like this almost every time. Whichever party is in control of the White House usually thinks that raising the debt ceiling is a swell idea; after all, it means they will have all the money they need for the programs they put into place. If they get the money, they can make the programs work. If the programs work, they can prove the money was well spent. And if all that goes properly, then they get to keep the Oval Office for four more years.

On the flip side, the party that does not hold the White House invariably has some sort of epiphany and feels compelled to bring fiscal responsibility and frugality to the nation’s capital. Because after all, if they can keep the administration’s programs gasping for money, then those programs might fail, then seem like a mistake in the first place, and suddenly the president is packing his things to move away from Pennsylvania Avenue.

I think voters are taking the talk of a possible default seriously. But I suspect many of them have next to no confidence that the current DC crowd, including you, is really intent on solving the problem.

To the contrary, from even the shortest distance this looks like two cars full of foolish teenagers playing chicken - driving at a breakneck pace toward a disastrous collision, and yet hanging on to the faith that the other car will swerve at the last minute. What may be lost in all this is the simple fact that in such contests, if one side loses then both sides do and sometimes a lot of innocent bystanders as well.

Anyway, just something that was on my mind. Call if you can.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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