Following a political battle that literally threatened to topple the global financial system, most Americans say their representatives in Congress behaved like “spoiled children” in coming to a deal on U.S. debt, with congressional Republicans coming out looking the worst overall.
New poll figures from CNN (PDF) found that 77 percent said lawmakers acted like “spoiled children,” with just 17 percent saying the negotiations were handled by “responsible adults.”
Overall, the American people appeared largely confused about what might happen if the U.S. debt ceiling weren’t raised, with just 52 percent saying it would cause either a “crisis” (14 percent) or “major problems” (38 percent).
In reality, the cascading waves of debt that would have erupted from a U.S. default would ripple across the global economy, driving up interest rates and potentially halting many imports and exports, while payments from programs like Social Security and the Veterans Administration would stop until government coffers were full again.
Officials with the U.S. Treasury warned that the resulting blow to the U.S. economy would be catastrophic, likely triggering another financial crisis and sparking an even deeper recession, or worse.
The poll also found that Americans largely (43 percent) blame Republicans for the debt ceiling crisis, with just 34 percent placing responsibility on Democrats.
Overall, President Barack Obama’s performance in the negotiations drew a 53 percent negative rating, while congressional Republicans were at 68 percent negative, followed by congressional Democrats at 63 percent negative.
Majorities also said that neither party gave up too much in the talks, although House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he got “98 percent” of everything he wanted in the talks, whereas Democrats did not manage to obtain any revenue increases.
As for the revenue increases, 60 percent said they disapproved of the deal not raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, a cornerstone of the president’s fiscal agenda.
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