HASTINGS, N.Y. -- Even at 96 years old, Stephen Stepanchev still enjoys the sometimes heated discussion of current events at the community center in Hastings. Senior citizens from the area come together each Tuesday afternoon to debate some of the most talked about issues in the news. Stepanchev, a former Queens College professor, mediates the discussion to help keep the debates on track.
One of the hot button issues discussed this week was the government's deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling. The deal helped the government from potentially defaulting on its debts, but many seniors at the discussion were not happy with it because of the issues it could create in the future.
"They didn't settle anything, all they did was postpone it," said Hastings resident Joe Cohen.
At a table with a dozen seniors giving their opinions on the latest developments, Cohen was one of the most vocal. When discussing the debt deal, he was far from optimistic of what it could mean.
"It's just a matter of creative financing and they're unloading it on the next administration," he said.
Republicans insisted in the deal that the government cut up to $2 trillion in spending, but Stepanchev said that neither side was very appeased by the agreement.
"Republicans who voted for it were not pleased," he said. "They did not think it was good enough. Democrats were very unhappy, too."
The group debated potential solutions to the massive debt the United States faces. While many agreed the deal would help the country now, most described the agreement as more of a Band-Aid than a solution.
"This is self-defeating," Cohen said. "This doesn't help our country in any way."
The discussion often involved good-natured ribbing, as many were jokingly told to get off their soapbox. In the end though, everyone in attendance could all agree that these debates were more than entertaining. Whether it's discussing the nation's debt or the newest idea from McDonald's, the group will be sure to tackle the issue with fervor
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