As the political wrangling surrounding the raising the United States debt level continues in Washington, local business owners are at the mercy of an uncertain future. Politicians continue to bicker, but business owners are stuck waiting to see how the nation’s finances, for better or worse, develop.
“Bad news is better than no news, because bad news [business owners] can at least plan around,” said Anthony Rescigno, president of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. The organization covers Bethany, Woodbridge and 13 other municipalities.
Rescigno said that businesses as small as five employees are waiting to see how the debate pans out - and wondering what it might mean for them. “It’s key that [the government] gets that debt under control.”
If not, the government could shut down.
Normally, the raising of the debt ceiling is a formality, but politicians seeking conditions attached to the vote have caused the delay. With the United States debt at 110 percent of the gross domestic product (according to the International Monetary Fund), lawmakers want conditions that would keep government spending in check while lessening the debt burden.
According to President Barack Obama in Tuesday’s national address about the issue, the debate has become a “partisan three-ring circus.” On a state level, politicians are getting involved in the act.
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat who represents Bethany and Woodbridge in the third district, said that the cost-cutting proposals put forward by some Republicans “undermines America as a country.”
“The Republican majority is choosing to hold an increase in the debt ceiling hostage to an approval of an amendment that will make it impossible to raise revenue,” said DeLauro in a prepared statement to the House of Representatives. “What do I mean? It will make it impossible to end the subsidies to big oil, make it impossible to close the loopholes that allow corporations to ship their jobs overseas or abuse tax havens that allow them to pay almost nothing in federal taxes.”
With state governments receiving federal aid, governors have also joined the debate. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy urged legislators to end the standoff and raise the debt level “without delay.”
“For Connecticut, such a failure would result in a severe disruption to our cash flow, negatively affect our access to the capital markets and harm our local economy,” he said in a July 22 letter to legislative leaders.
If the ceiling limit isn’t raised, then government would shut down – but the move wouldn’t limit the government’s spending.
“The way I put it is that Congress has already ordered the pizza. They approved the pepperoni. They called up and had someone deliver it,” NPR correspondent Robert Smith told Poynter.org. “Now the pizza guy is knocking at the door, and asking to get paid. If you don’t raise the debt ceiling, it’s like saying we didn’t want that pizza in the first place. Maybe he’ll go away if we don’t answer.”