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US debt crisis: Obama warns of ‘tax rise for all’ if deal cannot be done

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Chris McGreal
London Guardian
July 15, 2011

Barack Obama has warned that the US is “running out of time” to raise the limit on US government borrowing and that failure to do so will lead in effect to a tax increase for all Americans, because a downgrade of the country’s credit rating would cause an interest rate rise.

The president’s warning was reinforced by a threat from the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s to strip the US of its AAA standing if no long-term political deal is reached to tackle government spending and debt.

As Obama and Republican leaders in Congress continued to wrangle over the terms for approving an increase in the US’s $14.3 trillion (£8.9tn) debt ceiling by the 2 August deadline – with Republicans rejecting Obama’s demand that tax increases for the wealthy accompany sharp budget cuts – the president warned ordinary Americans of the seriousness of the situation.

“This is not some abstract issue. These are obligations that the United States has taken on in the past. The Congress has run up the credit card and we now have an obligation to pay our bills. If we do not it could have a whole set of adverse consequences. We could end up with a situation, for example, where interest rates rise for everybody all throughout the country, effectively a tax increase on everybody,” he said.

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This article was posted: Friday, July 15, 2011 at 8:28 am





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