This might surprise some of the people in Washington who are battling like Gabriel versus Lucifer about the debt ceiling, but those of us in the Missourinet newsroom did not spend our day yesterday talking about the issue. I stopped by a drug store, a book store, and a sandwich shop yesterday and nobody said a word about the debt ceiling. The lady at the sandwich shop cash register who took my money for my pulled pork sandwich on wheat bread didn’t say, “I wonder what the failure of Congress to act on the debt ceiling will do to the price of wheat bread.” The lady at the drug store cash register didn’t say, “Hope these pills help control your blood pressure until Congress gets the debt ceiling lifted.” And not one of the people I talked to in the bookstore talked about anything but books and magazines.
Last night at the dinner table, there was not one word spoken about who is to blame for the federal deficit and what failure to raise the debt ceiling by early next month will mean to us and others on our street. “Do you want tomatoes and spinach in your scrambled eggs?” Nancy asked. “Naw, just give me the eggs straight. I will have some toast, though,” I said as I poured some milk and fed the cat his dinner–tuna and whitefish, I believe.
The perceptive and alert news staff at the Missourinet has had similar experiences.
How can that be? The increase in the debt ceiling is the all-consuming issue inside the Washington beltway. The national networks and cable channels are almost as absorbed in this debate as they were in the Casey Anthony trial. The political partisans on and around Capitol Hill say the other side will be responsible for something or other if the debt limit isn’t increased. Each side has its economic analysts justifying one side’s positions and disparaging the other side’s positions. Some people who think they’re important are arguing about whether they’ll ever pay for all the eggs they’ve bought or whether they’ll just buy eight eggs at a time instead of a dozen in the future.
Around here, in the real world, we’re watching rivers rise and fall. We’re trying to kill moles that are adding new forms of landscaping to our front yard. We’re buying books and pills, and sandwiches and we’re discussing whether to put tomatoes in our scrambled eggs. People are recovering from a tornado in Joplin while others try to salvage a crop in the Mississippi floodway and some folks in northwest Missouri wonder what will be left of their homes when the Missouri River goes back to where it belongs. Our unemployment rate is a tick under nine percent.
We occasionally throw into our reporting a comment from a member of the House other Senate in Washington about the deficit and the debt limit. But most of the time we’re going to keep reporting what’s really important in Missouri–the cost of our pills, the obesity penalties from eating too much fast food, what’s under water or might be going under (actually under water, real water), drug tests for welfare recipients, and other issues.
The day that Missourians start their dinner conversations with the debt ceiling instead of whether to put tomatoes in the scrambled eggs is the day the Missourinet also will become obsessed with stories about raising the debt ceiling.