Exchange of the Day:
"Four Republicans responded to this article. Yes, Specter is a Republican inside and out. Way to go CNN for balanced column writing."–Hoya4Life
"But look at what even they are saying. Doesn't it make the current Republicans in Congress look like 4-year-olds?"–jeen71
Former leading policymakers shared how they saw the debt-ceiling impasse. Among them, Democrat Arlen Specter said he would reserve invoking the 14th Amendment as a last-ditch solution. Republican David Stockman said the crisis is in the debt, not the ceiling: "The Republican 'no tax increase' position is preposterous; we are collecting less than 15% of GDP in taxes, the lowest since 1950, and spending 24% of GDP."
CNN.com readers mourned for the days of "reasonable Republicans."
RobertOKUSA said, "David Stockman, I didn't think much of you back in the early '80's, but you did a good job of summing up this problem and offering the obvious solution in only 6 paragraphs!"
jcfl said, "This is the first realistic article I have seen that nails it on the head. if we fail to listen to people that have already been there we are lost. Whether these guys are right or left is not the issue. The facts remain the facts whether they agree with our internal faith-based realities or not."
Vigla02 said, "Very interesting commentary from three Republicans. All reasonable people. (Arlen Specter IS a Republican. He was only a Democrat because the Republicans essentially kicked him out of the caucus.) I long for the days of the reasonable Republican from the '70s and '80s. John McCain is one of the last ones left. The party has been hijacked by extremists. However, I do expect when we are back up to normal voting levels, most of these tea party clowns will be removed from office and replaced by moderates of either party."
irunner said, "I consider myself a moderate Democrat but am considering becoming independent. I was pleasantly surprised that David Stockman spoke my mind. We need more of his wisdom and common sense in government!"
Hoya4Life said, "To me, Stockman's comments say it all. You cannot balance the budget long term without raising taxes on corporations, closing the tax loopholes and strengthening the middle class. The GOP says they are serious about balancing the budget. Really? Either they are lying or dumb or don't know that you have to raise the taxes and kill the Bush tax cuts to get there!"
GoodVAGuy said, "The Circus of Fools, formerly known as the U.S. Congress, is not capable of governing this country. I hope Obama uses the 14th Amendment to say,'Enough foolishness.'"
oldmark said, "Cut our military to a realistic, reasonable size, and bring all overseas troops home now. Drop all Bush tax cuts and increase Social Security contributions and real income tax on those making over $250,000 per year. Enact a new stimulus bill to repair/improve U.S. roads, bridges and electrical power distribution, providing new and well-paying jobs which will stimulate the entire economy and increase revenues by increasing taxes wages and business profits. Get rid of every Tea Party idiot in government."
paul20854 said, "Revenue is what's needed to balance the books, and cuts cannot and will not get the job done. Republicans have now crossed the line and become terrorists as defined in the Patriot Act. They have committed treason and have attempted to destroy the general welfare of the People in direct violation of their oath of office. They have proven their criminality by refusing to serve the people who elected them and the Constitution."
MPfilipina said, "As the value of your 401(k)s sinks into the abyss today, remember those ideologues in the House sent by funny-looking guys in Revolutionary War uniforms. They are about to send this country's economy into free fall and squander your life savings."
D3ADP0OL said, "Our leaders are idiots because we are idiots. We've been cutting education for decades, and now all those kids who never learned history or economics are being voted into office. When the population is so stupid they can't tell a competent leader from a sexy sound byte, you end up with a bunch of empty suit politicians who are only good at spitting rhetoric at each other."
With a House plan apparently dead in the water, President Obama urged Senate members to take charge of Capitol Hill's debt ceiling negotiations. Many CNN.com readers blamed the gridlock on the Tea Party, suggesting their tactics were treasonous.
sayer said, "When the terrorists attacked on 9/11, they were trying to bring down the U.S. economy. After all our blood, sweat, and tears, are we gonna let them win? Congress, say it isn't so." alexnden said, "Move over al-Qaida, the Tea Party is here."
BonnieMR said, "Compromise! As a member of the GOP, I am disgusted by Boehner and the irresponsible so-called Tea Party. Taxes must go up, entitlements and spending must go down. we will not get out of this mess overnight but Boeher and the Gang's holding the economy hostage and willing to throw us over the cliff is disgusting."
don7664 said, "America was begun with a tea party, America will be ended with the Tea Party."
1967pennant said, "Boehner's website is still not allowing comments unless you are in his district, which pretty much guarantees that he's getting a skewed and inaccurate perspective on national sentiment. I'd expect nothing less of him."
Bruner said, "If faith in America were a commodity, we'd see the price diving every day these idiots continue to stand on their unbudging positions. That in itself is damning to our continued prosperity. Everyone in the world is looking at our situation in awe. I think we're collectively in shock (except for those of us that hold ludicrous positions on either side)."
westvil1 said, "America is a country full of hate and dysfunction. We are broken, ethically exhausted and a joke to the world. Thanks, Tea Party. You certainly know how to destroy."
slapshot69 said, "So, Bush and Company start an 8-year forest fire, try to impede any effort to govern, pass tax breaks for ultra rich–never done at a time of war–then complain Obama didn't put out the fire in 6 months and the 14 trillion is his mess. No shame, just teabag mentality."
HI said, "The president should ask for an entirely clean bill giving a "1" trillion dollar debt limit increase to end the "crisis." Then he tells Congress in front of the nation they have that time to find a real solution that will pass both the Senate and the House and move us toward the goal of no deficit spending."
tambor2 said, "We're at the lowest tax rate in over 50 years."
atlantic1 said, "There are a lot of wealthy people who want to pay more. They were bailed out or helped by lobbyists and loopholes and understand that it's become very unfair. Being responsible and compassionate needs to come back into vogue."
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Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.