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D e bb i e Was s e r m a n S c h u lt z

• • • We must take the same commonsense approach to reforming our nation’s tax code. It must ensure that everyone pays their fair share in order to reduce our deficit and invest in future economic growth. Unfortunately, Washington has become so paralyzed that in the past few years, there has been little room for even commonsense reforms. Republicans have become absolutely enraged about the raising of the debt ceiling. For all the political strife in Capitol Hill’s history, a party had never refused to raise the debt ceiling as a negotiating tactic, because the consequences of refusing were so unthinkable: America would default on its bills and ruin its credit. Our entire economy relies upon the premise that the United States stands behind the value of its currency and will repay any debts incurred. If the United States suddenly stopped paying its bills, no one would want to loan us money, the value of the dollar could collapse, and foreign investors would be running for the exits. There would be economic chaos not only in this country but worldwide. In other words, it would be crazy to do this to ourselves. The first sign of trouble came in the summer of 2011 as President Obama sought a deal to raise the debt ceiling. Republicans in Congress refused to grant their support unless the President met their demands: draconian budget cuts aimed squarely at programs that benefit the middle class, seniors, and the poor. In effect, they were playing a high-stakes game of chicken with the economy. President Obama and congressional Democrats wanted a more balanced approach to deficit reduction, which would include both spending cuts and raising revenue by eliminating tax breaks for individuals whose income placed them among the top 1–2 percent of U.S. households. Ultimately, in August 2011, with the economy hanging in the balance, Republicans got their “cuts-only” deal. I have spent my career opposing cuts like those that came with that legislation. I hated the deal, but I voted for it, because unlike Republicans I wasn’t willing to let America default on its bills. I also knew that we couldn’t engage in a “my way or the highway” approach to governing

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8/24/13 1:15 AM

For The Next Generation (Ch. 1)  

Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz challenges the nation to resolve tough issues for future gene...

For The Next Generation (Ch. 1)  

Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz challenges the nation to resolve tough issues for future gene...