Now, 73,000 union members walked off the job at plants around the country yesterday morning. General Motors and the UAW are fighting over job security. This strike has shut down operations at 80 facilities in 30 states. The impact of the strike is spreading. The Teamsters union says its members will support the strike and won't deliver GM cars or parts. Well, as America's workers and middle class continue to struggle, the federal government is looking to borrow more money.

As Lisa Sylvester reports, America's already strapped middle class may have to shoulder that burden.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Home prices are down, credit is tight. Across the country, families are tightening their belts. But Congress seems to be doing just the opposite -- maxing out spending. And now the federal government is considering raising the debt limit $850 billion. That brings the national IOUs to $9.8 trillion.

SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: There's no incentive and there's no courage among the members of Congress to do what is necessary, that every family has to do every day. They have to make priorities about the money that they have. We don't make priorities. We just go to the bank and borrow more money.

SYLVESTER: For those keeping track, this the fifth time in six years Congress has had to raise the debt limit or risk defaulting on its financial obligations. The debt limit is now $3 trillion higher than it was in 2001 -- a 50 percent increase.

So why should average Americans care?

It increases the chances of higher interest rates and higher taxes. And this just the beginning.

JD FOSTER, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Our real problem is that once you go beyond the next two years and you look at what's happening with the major programs for seniors -- Medicare and Social Security -- that spending starts to soar past the receipts dedicated to those programs.

SYLVESTER: President Bush this week scolded the Democratically Congress for not holding the line on spending. Democrats are blaming the president for the soaring costs of the war. Both parties favor programs that are politically popular, but don't help the federal bottom line.

JOHN IRONS, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: If you extend the Bush tax changes, if you reform the alternative minimum tax and if you make other changes to the tax code that a lot of people want, then it looks like the deficits will, perhaps, be unsustainable.

SYLVESTER: Unless the debt trend reverses, who is holding the bag?

Future generations left with a legacy of debt.


SYLVESTER: Senator Tom Coburn's office has crunched the numbers. They estimate that a baby born today will be responsible for $400,000 of unfunded liabilities. That's why when the Senate takes up the issue; he wants a roll call vote so any senator who votes for the debt limit increase will have to go on record -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Lisa Sylvester.

Very disturbing numbers, Lisa.

Date Title
9/28/07 Congress raises limit again as U.S. debt nears $10 trillion
9/28/07 Coburn targets gun-rights measure
9/27/07 Plan would close drug center
9/27/07 Bush at odds with right wing on NCLB
9/27/07 Congress agrees to raise U.S. credit limit
9/27/07 Coburn Lifts Hold on Suicide Prevention Bill
9/27/07 Congress set to add 4 million people to insurance program despite Bush veto threat
9/26/07 Bill on Gun Restrictions Bogged Down
9/26/07 DeMint Bill Gains Support
9/26/07 DeMint Bill Gains Support
9/26/07 Senate Looks to Fix Travel Rule
9/26/07 Senate Is Next Stop After House Passes Stopgap Funding With Little Debate
9/25/07 GOP: Earmark Rules Too Lax
9/25/07 Coburn Blocks Gun Background-Check Bill, Citing Concerns About Privacy, Spending
9/25/07 Current record
9/24/07 Opinion: The new Hillarycare
9/21/07 D.C. Tuition Aid Program Might Get Income Test
9/21/07 Opinion: When Will They Learn? Oh, the things Republicans in Congress let you pay for!
9/20/07 Senate Panel Approves Bill to Require Reports of White House-DOJ Contact
9/20/07 Senate Expected to Vote on Debt Limit Increase Before Columbus Day Recess
9/20/07 Army tests of rival carbines postponed
9/19/07 The Senate's G.O.P. Bomb Throwers
9/18/07 Editorial: Funding congressional pet projects leaves infrastructure across country at risk
9/18/07 Income cap of $1 million proposed for D.C. tuition aid
9/17/07 Money for kid’s health in jeopardy
9/17/07 ‘Hotlined’ Bills Spark Concern
9/17/07 Showdown Over Spending
9/15/07 Editorial: United Nations messes
9/14/07 Editorial: Public projects starve while Congress porks out on ‘earmarks’
9/14/07 Editorial: This little piggy
9/13/07 Coburn: Troop withdrawal is not an option
9/13/07 Funding for bridges served with side of pork
9/13/07 Another Coburn amendment dies
9/13/07 $8B in pet projects clogs bills; In wake of bridge tragedy, road 'earmarks' seen as a crack in funding system
9/12/07 Senate Rejects Proposed Amtrak Cuts
9/12/07 Dems writing stopgap spending measure to last into November
9/12/07 Cincinnati Red and Montana Should Fund Minor-League Stadium Before U.S. Pays, Coburn Says
9/12/07 Senate Rejects Attempt to Waive Wage Rules for Work on ‘Deficient’ Bridges
9/11/07 Healthy Medical Reforms
9/11/07 Democrats, GOP Mapping Approps Strategies
9/10/07 Opinion: The Senate's Ethics Sleight of Hand
9/9/07 Column: How the Swiss do health care
9/7/07 Going Coconut over Florida earmark
9/7/07 Coburn says public should get 'disgusted'
9/6/07 Coburn stands by blockage of vet bill
9/5/07 Editorial: Health Care and Taxes
9/4/07 Opinion: Backers of health plan for kids have other motives
9/4/07 Unfinished business awaiting Congress: Pay raise, Defense bills
9/4/07 Debates in Congress expected to heat up
9/4/07 MPO to consider rescinding vote to return 'tainted' money
9/2/07 Column: Dem congressmen worry about re-election if Clinton is nominee