Judging by the low TV news ratings, most Americans were out fishing or watching ''Pawn Stars'' when the debt debacle debate was taking place in Washington, and I can't blame them. It was truly pinheads on parade, with propaganda and craziness all over the place.
A new Rasmussen poll says that just 22 percent of likely voters approve of the deal, while 53 percent disapprove. A substantial 26 percent of the voters simply don't know what to think.
Another survey, this one from Pew Research, says that more than 70 percent of Americans believe everyone involved in the madness looked bad. And it's hard to argue with that.
When you are talking about $14.5 trillion in debt, things do get a bit surreal. The feds throw around numbers like peanut shells. Yeah, we'll cut $300 billion from this, $200 billion from that. And then we'll borrow another $2 trillion so we can get through the year 2013. If you watch too much of this stuff, your head will explode.
So let me make one simple economic point here. Under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the United States has nearly bankrupted itself. We have spent so much money so quickly that it is almost impossible to believe. Every single day under Obama, the nation spends more than $4 billion more than it takes in. Every single day.
And what do we have to show for it? How about a shaky economy and political division?
The president continues to believe that massive federal spending will make the lives of most Americans better. But he's wrong. And here's a great example.
Beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, U.S. health insurance companies will be forced to provide a variety of health services for women absolutely free of charge. They include: birth control, breast-feeding supplies, ''wellness'' visits to doctors and counseling about a variety of things.
There will be no co-pays or deductibles. Those services will be entirely picked up by the insurance companies to the tune of billions of dollars every year. Of course, the enormous cost will be passed along to consumers, as health insurance premiums will rise big time. Self-insured individuals and businesses will pay a lot more for coverage.
Because of the increased overhead, companies will be less likely to hire new employees, and those they do hire will likely be paid less because they'll receive more medical benefits. Thus, unemployment probably will remain high, and take-home pay stagnant.
On paper, it looks great that American women will get free preventive medical services. Liberals love that. But if you want to grow the economy, increasing the cost of doing business is not exactly a great strategy.
Our capitalistic system is now being handcuffed by ideology -- a huge co-pay for the American people.
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show ''The O'Reilly Factor.'' Visit his website at www.billoreilly.com. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/billoreilly.