Nation’s debt has people talking

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July 20th, 2011

Omaha, NE -As the talks over how to tackle the nation’s debt continue in Washington, and hog the headlines around the country, many wonder how the debate is playing out in our community? Have the rancorous discussions at the Capitol made their way to the city streets?

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Outside the trendy Delice Coffee Shop in Midtown Crossing, Omahan Johnny Moore sat in the shade with his wife. Moore said he has been following the debt negotiation talks, and he’s not sure how the two sides can make a deal. Although, he said, what he is sure of is that the answer is not raising taxes.

“Because every tax you can raise has already been raised,” Moore said. “If you raise another tax, that’s putting up more in debt. My wife, when she works at a job, and when I look at her checks, I think, what tax is this? I don’t know where else they’re going to take money from.”

While lawmakers on Capitol Hill battle over how to solve the nation's debt crisis, people in Omaha are more concerned about jobs. (Photo courtesy Wikimedia)

Down on the south side of the city, Nancy Merritt was shopping with her friends for Mexican pottery on
24th Street. She said the nation’s debt is “getting ridiculous” and should be capped. But she said that it shouldn’t be done on the backs of retired people by cutting social security.

“I think that we need to cut government spending in ways of cutting government jobs,” Merritt said. “I know that’s a difficult decision because so many people are out of work, but somewhere we need to stop. I listen to the radio, I think it’s more about following party lines than doing what’s best for the people of the United States.”

A few miles north on 24th Street, Rolander Brown stood outside the Workforce Development Office waiting for the bus. He said he has a simple message for his representatives in Washington, and he hopes they’re listening.

“Us poor people, we ain’t worried about no debt ceiling we’re worried about survival,” Brown said. “So if you can come together, Republicans and Democrats and get something done. People are suffering out here. You don’t have to worry about your bills but we do.”

The debt ceiling discussion will likely keep Omaha, and all the nation’s representatives, busy for the remainder of the month. Whether a deal is reached or not, the discussion will be over in some form by August 2nd, when the debt limit is officially reached. Then, as Brown hopes, the discussion can move back to jobs and local economies.

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