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Congress forges another last-minute deal to avert default

Published: Thu, October 17, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.

RELATED: Dodging default




A last-minute deal that took shape Wednesday to reopen the government and avoid a Treasury default did little to allay the long-term concerns of those in the Mahoning Valley’s business community.

As congressional leaders raced toward an agreement on the 16th day of a government shutdown, the theatrics were undoubtedly wearing thin on Valley business leaders as the deal once again called for a temporary solution — setting the stage for further gridlock early next year.

Congressional talks are barely touching the underlying causes of debt-and-spending stalemates that pushed the country close to economic crises in 2011, last December and again this month.

The latest deal extends current spending levels until Jan. 15 and stretches the federal debt ceiling until Feb. 7. The deal also calls for Congress to establish a conference committee of members of both houses to try to devise a spending plan by Dec. 13.

But one Valley legislator voted against the deal.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, still has issues with the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.

“I cannot support this latest resolution because it does not treat the American people fairly,” he said in a statement. “It fails to offer those in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio any protection from the abuses, expenses and overreach of Obamacare. And what’s worse, this bill gives a special pass out of Obamacare for Washington politicians and big business, sticking hard-working Americans with the bill.”

Johnson said he’s also concerned about the country’s spending.

“I’m also deeply troubled that this legislation increases America’s debt limit, but does nothing to address the main driver of the debt – Washington’s out-of-control spending,” he said. “The American people have had to tighten their belts in this weak economy, and Washington should be forced to do the same. The fact that there are no spending cuts in this legislation means that Washington continues to demand more from the American taxpayers, but refuses to put itself on any kind of budget. And that is not fair.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, supported the measure.

“While I would prefer that these issues be settled in a more comprehensive way, this is better than keeping the government closed, with 800,000 of federal workers off the job, and our country’s citizens not being able to access their government,” Ryan said in a statement. “This senseless shutdown has cost taxpayers $24 billion and I am pleased that with this deal the bleeding can finally stop. I hope that the damage this crisis caused has taught the Republican Tea Party that radical behavior like shutting down the government and bring our nation to the brink of default is no way to govern — and the American people will not stand for it. There are serious issues that must be addressed in a bipartisan fashion, and hopefully Speaker [John] Boehner and his Republican colleagues will now work with Democrats on legislation to end the sequester, reinvest in our infrastructure and put Americans back to work.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon, said in a statement that the “bipartisan plan will end the shutdown and prevent the catastrophic consequences associated with the U.S. failing to pay its bills.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, called the deal a win for the American people, saying he was glad to see both parties working together to reach agreement to ensure the country doesn’t default on its debts.

“Lurching from crisis to crisis is no way to rejuvenate America’s economy, and unfortunately, we do not have a long-term fix that will prevent another shutdown in January,” Portman said in a statement. “In order to provide more certainty for our economy and government agencies and the families across the nation who rely on them, I will continue to fight for passage of my End Government Shutdowns Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure that Americans do not have the threat of a government shutdown hanging over their heads.

“Now that Congress has temporarily avoided this economic crisis, I am hopeful that President Obama will stick to his promise and come to the table. We’ve done our part, and now he must do his to negotiate on a path forward to deal with Washington’s underlying problem of overpromising and overspending that brought our nation to this boiling point in the first place,” he said. “My colleagues and I are here, ready and willing to negotiate on how to rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending on autopilot so that we not only prevent a future debt limit crisis in February, but also avoid putting a debt crisis on the backs of our children and grandchildren.”

The prospect of yet another short-term fix had business leaders and others here grimacing with frustration on Wednesday. Even though the shutdown and political stalemate has done little to unsettle the local economy, there was widespread agreement that business would be much better without the constant political wrangling of an intractable Congress.

“From our perspective, what we’re seeing from businesses that want to spend and raise capital is the uncertainty of the long-term economy,” said Michael Conway, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. “They are delaying certain projects until they get some certainty that there’s going to be more than just a short-term fix.”

Regardless of any deal, Conway added that such uncertainty will likely remain for at least more days.

MVEDC is a partnership of public and private interests focused on the revitalization of the Mahoning Valley. Conway said the shutdown has halted about six projects because funding through its U.S. Small Business Administration loan program was put on hold when the government closed its doors.

He said all types of businesses across a variety of industries have expressed a reluctance and uncertainty over the politicking in Washington.

“I can’t say any one industry has been impacted more adversely than another,” he said. “Equipment isn’t getting purchased, building and construction projects are on hold, which means jobs weren’t created. It’s a trickle-down effect for sure.”

Investors have stayed largely calm throughout the twists in the current fiscal drama in Washington. Even before Wednesday’s news, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up for the month.

On Wednesday, financial markets flirted with major gains on word that lawmakers were nearing a deal. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, for example, pushed close to a record high.

“Believe it or not, it hasn’t really come up in conversation or affected anything that I can see in terms of job demand,” said Vic Ing, president of the Alliance Solutions Group of the Mahoning Valley, which works with a wide array of employers to provide staffing services. “It’s absolutely frustrating and it’s embarrassing, though. I console myself by saying it’s just politics being played out in a very public arena.”

“We’re probably going to have to go through this a few more times,” said Bob Bixby of the bipartisan Concord Coalition, which advocates budget reforms. Even if a compromise plan this month wins House, Senate and White House approval, Bixby said, it will leave fundamental problems that “they haven’t done anything to address.”

Jeff Byce, an auctioneer, appraiser and real estate broker at Byce Auction & Realty in Youngstown, said prolonged stalemates can create unforeseen problems for business owners.

“I feel that another week or two of something like this would send ripples that even as a business owner I wouldn’t have planned on or imagined,” he said. “People trying to get SBA or FHA loans are already feeling the pinch and as an owner I think I’d realize very quickly how a long-term shutdown could affect aspects of our business that we couldn’t imagine.”

The feeling among stock traders in recent days was that panicking and pulling money out of stocks could leave them missing out on a rally after Washington finally came to an agreement. Investors are also becoming inured to Washington’s habit of reaching budget and debt deals at the last minute.

“Investors have become, unfortunately, accustomed to some of the dysfunction,” said Eric Wiegand, a senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank. “It’s become more the norm than the exception.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story


1polhack(129 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Jimmy Kimmel pointed out that politicians trying to spin this sorry debacle as a victory would claim as much for picking up a gun without shooting themselves. He got it right. There were no winners in the needless expense and pain caused by opposing sides digging in their heels and throwing tantrums better suited to a kindergarten recess than the halls of political power. We can start stepping back from the cliff DC brought us to by recognizing that there are fools enough on both the liberal and conservative sides of every issue to return us to the brink in January.
That said, let's stop calling names, pointing fingers and doing nothing. Instead, let's turn to a couple basic positions that are complicated, but which don't need to be diametrically opposed. For instance: government spends too much of our money for foolish things; accessing quality healthcare without personal bankruptcy is not a foolish thing.
Okay? Now let's talk, but if you have nothing more than Nyah Nyah or name calling to say, take a moment to consider why you have so little success initiating change before commenting.

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2walter_sobchak(2674 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

The following has occurred under Obama's "reign":
-Many trillions of dollars added to the federal debt
-IRS targeting conservative PAC's
-Electronic eavesdropping and wire-taps on Americans
-Middle-East foreign policy in a shambles
-The Benghazi Massacre with 4 dead Americans
-Fast and Furious gun-running operation
-Massive leaks of intelligence operations by low-level workers
-The least transparent presidency since Nixon in spite of that "hope and change" thing
-The failed roll-out of the ObamaCare program

The following has occurred on John Boehner's watch
-allowing a faction of conservatives to throw a temper-tantrum that makes the American people forget about all of the massive screw-up's of the Obama administration noted above so that the Republicans are now to blame for everything. This is what happens to a rudderless ship. Sooner or later it crashes and sinks. Congratulations Mr. Speaker!

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3redvert(2239 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

It is real simple folks, you can not continue to spend money that you do not have. Those of you out there over your heads in credit card debt should understand that. Apparently this clown "parlayhenry" does not.

"Signing up to save money with obowsercare" Who is gonna pay for that dingleberry? Wait till this whole deal kicks in, there will be some surprises. Hate to say it but America has seen it's best days.

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4JoeFromHubbard(1776 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"Congress forges another last-minute deal to avert default"

More properly entitled:
"Kongress Kicks the Kan Down the Road Again."

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5JoeFromHubbard(1776 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago


Easy, young fellow, you're over exposing yourself.

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6UNCOMMONSENSE(622 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Sparky and Walt...the economy is still better off after 4 years of President Obama then we were after 8 years of President Bush... get over it, you lost.

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776Ytown(1347 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

As long as welfare pays more than minimum wage there is no incentive to work.

Here’s an offer for you: $38,004 per year, tax free.No work required.Apply at your local welfare office.


One of the most important steps toward avoiding or getting out of poverty is a job.Only 2.6 percent of full-time workers are poor, vs. 23.9 percent of adults who don’t work. And, while many anti-poverty activists decry low-wage jobs, even starting at a minimum-wage job can be a springboard out of poverty.

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8NoBS(2763 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Obama/Dems this, Repubs that . . . BOTH parties are worthless and should be thrown out of office. The scum on both sides of the aisle are more interested in their partisan politics than the good of the nation. We'll be going through this same nonsense in just a few more months - this crap has to stop!!! The Legislative and Executive Branches all need to hear, loud and clear, that We, The People are fed up with their self-serving, screw-the-citizens nonsense. They work for us - it's time they were reminded of that.

Anyone who votes for ANY incumbent in the forthcoming elections is an idiot.

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9redeye1(5615 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

NoBS Great Post!!!! Do you know what the difference is between congress and the welfare mob? Nothing !!!! They are both so damn lazy and they both get paid BIG bucks for doing nothing. It's also time to set age limits along with term limits. We have just too many OLD folks who are only there for themselves.

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1076Ytown(1347 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Sneaky...McConnell threw in his sweet deal but wouldn't budge on what the American public wanted! Was this even the time or the place for such a deal?

Buried inside the new stopgap spending bill are several goodies, including nearly quadrupling the maximum price of a dam project on the Ohio River that is turning into a boondoggle — up to nearly $3 billion.

We were led to believe the business at hand was ending the partial government shutdown and requiring proof of income in order to get subsidies. What? That wasn't in the original ACA?

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11jojuggie(1702 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

In Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals," one of his rules is "Change is brought about through relentless agitation & "trouble making" of a kind that radically disrupts society as it is."
Since Obama is a disciple, of Alinsky, Obama closed the WW II Monument, all National Parks, all monuments in Wash. DC, etc, etc.. This to "radically disrupt society as it is." This was the 1st time, in our history that the above venues were closed during a "debt ceiling crisis."
How 'bout that?

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12DwightK(1535 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Did Bill Johnson forget he is in the House of Representatives? Did he further forget that all spending bills originate in the House? If he wants less spending, he appears to be in the right place to accomplish his goal.

Why do people keep electing him?

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13DOLE2(595 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

First order of business,Obama must go.

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14dontbeafool(2067 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Bill Johnson is an idiot. The bottom line is that EVERY politician knows exactly how to fix this country, but what it takes to fix this country will not get them votes, or re-elected. It also will not fill their pockets with easy money from the big corporations. Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Tea Baggers, are ALL CORRUPT. It is the system that is broken. The bad news is that the only ones who can fix the broken system is the corrupt politicians who don't want it fixed. A few answers to start.... FAIR TRADE POLICIES, THE CONTROL OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, GOOD JOBS, TERM LIMITS, NO LOBBYIST, STOP BEING THE WORLD POLICE, CONTROL SPENDING, AND RID NEEDED ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS OF LEACHES AND ABUSERS. PROGRAMS SHOULD BE A TEMPORARY THING.

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15dontbeafool(2067 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

@parlahenry.... I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT. DON'T BELIEVE IT FOR A SECOND. What news source was that from? The Enquirer?

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16dontbeafool(2067 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

and I like how Repubs cried that Obama wouldn't "negotiate" on a LAW that already passed Congress, Senate, and the Supreme court. Didn't Boehner last time refuse any talks that had any form of tax increase in it? I don't want tax increases, let me be clear on that, just making a comparison about negotiating.

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17kk80586(229 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

dontbe--I guessed it immediately! theonion is where parlay stole that...he is not intelligent enough to make up his own stuff so he steals stuff from others and gives no credit. Kind of like how he lives life...as a taker, not a producer.

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18andersonathan(683 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Yes wonderful almost another trillion in debt. And this will last 3 months before it happens again. And who was punished during this time? Veterans, tourist, private individuals owning property and businesses in our national parks.

Over 80% of the government was up and running the people who should have been sent packing on a one way trip are still in Washington.

And since we can get along on who should go how about everyone D's R's I's and just start over.

Obama Care from a business prospective is a total bust. Literally no one is signing up compared to the 7-8 million people needed to even begin calling this a maybe.

in 5 years all we have to show is a busted health care law, trillions in debt, jobs still flying out the door a deeper racial and political divide.

Benghazi fast and furious impeach and do it now.


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19dontbeafool(2067 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

lol.... anyone who believed that article is a nut.

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20redeye1(5615 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Parlahenny You are the typical racist who has to play the race card. You must be really STUPID if you think OBAMMY is a genius. It's just too bad, that the so-called smart people like you, are really just plain stupid. Once again as the old saying goes" keep your mouth shut and let the world wonder if you are stupid, ,instead of opening it and showing the world just how stupid you really are

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21jojuggie(1702 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Yeah - a law that passed Congress, the Senate (both demo- c - RAT) & the Supreme Court, but that every friend of Obama got a waiver from plus every union also got a waiver from. WOW, that's some law.

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22jojuggie(1702 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago


MRC Study: How the Broadcast Networks Spun the Shutdown Obama’s Way
ABC, CBS and NBC Touted Victims of Government Closure and Invariably Blamed Republicans
For millions of Americans, big political contests such as presidential elections and pivotal congressional hearings are still largely witnessed through the lens of ABC’s, CBS’s and NBC’s evening newscasts. According to Nielsen Research, more than 20 million viewers tuned in over the past two weeks for the Big Three’s take on the shutdown drama.

What those viewers heard, according to a just-completed Media Research Center study, was a version of the shutdown story that could easily have emanated from Barack Obama’s own White House. The broadcast networks invariably blamed Republicans for the impasse; spotlighted dozens of examples of how Americans were being victimized; and ran scores of soundbites from furloughed federal workers and others harmed by the shutdown — even as they ignored examples of how the Obama administration and Senate Democrats were working to make the shutdown as painful as possible.

■ Blaming Republicans. MRC analysts reviewed each broadcast network evening newscast from the first day of the shutdown (October 1) through the last night before a deal was announced (October 15). Of the 124 full stories and brief items about the shutdown or the pending debt ceiling deadline, 41 blamed Republicans or conservatives for the impasse, 17 blamed both sides, and none specifically blamed Democrats.

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23jojuggie(1702 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Barack Obama’s refusal to negotiate with the Republicans in Congress on the government shutdown is proof once again that he doesn’t understand the first thing about presidential leadership.

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2476Ytown(1347 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

You have to sign it to find out what's in it.


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25andersonathan(683 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Of course it is lined with pork and so will the next one and the next..

Obama is nothing as a leader. And to show how backwards the D's are. To sign up online a person needs a email and eventually a ID but to vote i need a telephone bill because a ID to vote is racist.

And everyone knows do not engage in conversation with a liberal [socialist] it is a waste of time

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26dontbeafool(2067 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

parlay, this comment is for YOUR comments and opinions. If I wanted to read an article from the Onion, I would go to that site and read it. I really can care less what Boehner's beliefs are.

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27kk80586(229 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

parlay- can't tell you how many times that line is used on the internet and how long it's been around....not very original are ya?
"On a more serious note, using code words like "taker" reveals your racist leanings."
LOL@U on a serious note?!?!? that is racist to you?? It has NOTHING to do with race (which makes YOU the racist & stoo-pid).
I don't use any govt. services other than those required by law (dmv, etc.). I use highways but I pay taxes to build those. You think you can lie about me and make me believe it?? Maybe you want other people to believe it but you have PROVEN yourself to be a liar as well as a plagiarizer so anyone that would believe you don't count with me anyway....how ya like them apples?

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28JoeFromHubbard(1776 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

@ parlayhenry:

Easy, young fellow, you're over exposing yourself, again.

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2976Ytown(1347 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Is the word "givers" racist?

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30kk80586(229 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"it is a scientific fact that anyone who uses the code word, "takers", is, in fact a racist"
A scientific fact?? Science has proven this??? Actually, it is YOU who are the racist since YOU seem to want to associate the word 'taker' with some specific ethnic group. I associate the word with dumboKKKrats....the ones who bilk the system as well as those who vote to take my money to give to those who bilk the system. I don't use 'codewords'. I am not p.c. so I will use words according to their definition and meaning, not as something made up in your little mind.
To be clear, there are people out there who truly need help and I have no problem with aid for them. But when a third of the country is on some form of govt. assistance, something is very wrong.

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31kk80586(229 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

From urban dictionary:
1. Taker
Someone who always takes from other people and never gives back.
Jason always comes in my room to play FIFA, always loses, and never says thank you for letting him play. He is such a taker.

Jason always takes my chicken nuggets, that I took the time out to make. What a taker.

2. Taker
One who is always taking from others, similar to a mooch or chiseler. In most cases takers aren't stealing, they are just taking advantage of the hospitality of others without reciprocating or saying thanks.
James: Kirk's a taker, he just took the last beer and now he's leaving.
Kirk: James is a chiseler, he's always trying to get something for nothing.

3. Taker
noun - someone who likes it in the backdoor usually very often
Henry is a taker, he loves getting it in the butt

Now, YOU go look it up in a bonafide dictionary and post me back what it says.

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32southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

next time don't pay the House or the Senate and watch what happens...ha ha ha

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3376Ytown(1347 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

debt now over $17,039,000,000,000


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34dontbeafool(2067 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

kk, did you look it up on The Onion though? That is where parlay had to get the info. On another note, don't lump all Dems as moochers or takers. I'm a Dem and haven't had a break in employment since age 16 (30 years), and never received an ounce of any kind of aid. Mooching is an individual choice. I agree, that Dems need to come to terms with the abuse going on of assistance programs. At some point u become enablers rather than helpers. Help those in need get back on their feet, not make it a lifestyle. I still feel the Repub officials today are totally out of touch with the average Joe. I would like to see a few of them live on welfare for a month with no other assistance, give them a little taste of life without a Country Club in it.

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35kk80586(229 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

dontbe-yes, I guessed it was there because it was so outrageous and low and behold when I punched a sentence from it into google, there it was. I recognize there are good dems and there are bad repubs (as far as regular folks go). But the ruling elite of both parties have totally lost sight of what this Country was founded on. They have driven the people into unsustainable debt and have taken or are taking most of our freedoms. It is all about power and money to them. It is is not about patriotism and honor. They are ALL out of touch with the average Joe. Some might try to call me a repub because of my arguments against dem policies but I lean more libertarian which probably aligns more with the "tea-party" as far as smaller govt, lower taxes and self-responsibility go. That is the problem I have with the dem party which is leading us down a very dark path as far as the Country is concerned.
As far as your last sentence, think of this... the millionaires are republican, the billionaires are democrats. Heard that a while backand realized that is (for the most part) true.
I know a woman who runs a non-profit and told her I was surprised she was repub. She said she used to be dem, dems (some) have a lot of money. But they did not donate whereas the repubs do.So remember that just because repubs do not want taxes raised (on anyone) does not mean that they are not charitable.And it's always better for those in need when the govt is not between the giver and the recipient to scrape off all the gravy (and most of the potatoes). Remember, those ruling elite dems belong to the same country clubs as the repubs. It's not really about helping the truly poor anymore. It's about buying votes with easy qualification for benefits they don't deserve. You seem very reasonable....fair minded, intelligent conversation, no name calling.... you sure you're a dem? :)

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3676Ytown(1347 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

dontbeafool: Wouldn't you rather have a hand up rather than a hand out? In the past, immigrants flocked to our country for opportunity, now for the assistance. As we lower the standards and encourage people to get food stamps, subsidies for health care and all sorts of government programs, we're seeing employers cutting hours, benefits and jobs. Republicans want employers to create jobs to move people up and out of poverty and the Democratic party is becoming the enablers. The opportunity to become wealthy lies more within your will to do something with your life than what the government can do for you. There will always be people in our country who need our help. There's nothing wrong with helping those in need. The issue is whether we are at a point where people are better off on welfare than work.

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3776Ytown(1347 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Yep, and if your the politician that says our country is broke and we need to find a way to stop spending then you're the the idiot bad guy.

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38dontbeafool(2067 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

boehner.....adult? doesn't even sound right. Spin master maybe. Crybaby, definitely. He is more worried about losing his Speaker of the House title than anything else, to include his own party or country. He didn't have the balls to lead his party out of a disastrous plan orchestrated by Cruz, just because he didn't want to lose his title. Even when he knew that the plan would fail and would hurt the country. typical career politician.

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39JoeFromHubbard(1776 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

@ parlayhenry:

What is the definition of "inequality?"

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4076Ytown(1347 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

eivo, Medicare Part D was implemented so people are not in the position of choosing food or medications. Some pharmacies will waive the co-pays or charge only $4 for certain generic drugs even for non-medicare plans.

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