The federal government's contortions in reaching an agreement to curb spiraling national debt are a reflection of the deep political divide within the electorate, not just among politicians ("House raises debt ceiling," Aug 2). But one thing is clear to most of us, regardless of political affiliation. If we don't now tackle this challenge head on, our children will feel financial pain in future years. Our leaders must find ways to cut spending while closing tax loopholes for the wealthy. Doing one or the other alone will not get us out of our financial morass. It will just postpone solving the problem.
Yet both parties are playing to their political bases to win in 2012, as one would expect. People don't want to feel the pinch of higher taxes or reduced government services, and our politicians are induced to tell us they feel our pain because that is what they feel they must do to win re-election. There will be plenty of pain to go around if our legislators don't make the hard choices and compromises a balanced budget will require.
Expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the apparently futile military operations in Libya, have exacerbated the problem, of course. After all, Osama bin Laden boasted he could bring America to its financial knees if he could pull us into a long, drawn-out war in Afghanistan, and his prediction was not entirely groundless.
I only hope our elected officials at all levels can somehow work past their differences to restore our nation's financial credibility and solvency, regardless of how angry it might make some portions of the electorate. I'm not betting on it, however.
Michael Cast, Edgewood