Students Debate Debt Ceiling And Washington Turmoil

By Jeff Neumeyer

October 16, 2013 Updated Oct 16, 2013 at 5:48 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) --- Sounding off about the turmoil in Washington.

We dropped in on an IPFW political science class Wednesday, for a discussion about party differences and where our country should go from here.

There is definitely some hand wringing among the college students, who are frustrated about the mess in Congress like many Americans.

But we heard some very thoughtful comments, including on the subject about how Republicans and Democrats just can't seem to get along.

How about this theory, elected leaders today come off as extremists out of necessity.

" To be heard over this mass of information, the politicians have to increase the rhetoric of their message," said Matthew Danielson, a sophomore in the class.

Are voters becoming more extreme, or simply left with fewer choices?

" Thus they just have to pick the one that is closer, sort of a lesser of two evils sort of a situation," said senior Josh Bertsch.

At a time when Americans fret about raising the debt ceiling, we visited Professor Mike Wolf's class on political parties and interest groups.

The students are writing a paper right now on party polarization.

When we threw out the idea of enacting term limits in Congress, to improve job performance, we heard fears that might cause some members to cater more to lobbyists and special interest groups.

" I think you run into the possibility of them doing more and more to get their foot into the next door," said senior Kyle Carpenter.

" I want them to have 15 years under their belt, know that policies that need to be made and the stuff that needs to be pushed through, because they've been there," said junior Chad Richmond.

Another almost universal view in the class, stop raising the debt ceiling, deal with it now.

" Sooner or later, it's going to bite us and it's going to be something we can't really climb out of, because we're just digging the hole deeper," said IPFW junior Muhamed Sulejmanagic.

But according to Professor Wolf, it's better to raise the debt limit than default.

" I don't think it's any good going over it, it's a bad precedent to set and the markets will speak quickly, if we don't do something."

The party polarization paper students in the class are working on is due on Friday.

Hopefully, Congress will have come to an agreement by then, so default is avoided, at least in the short term.

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