Political brinksmanship directly linked to the US credit rating downgrade; that was the news headline, that was the reality, and we still don’t know what it all means, other than rollercoaster days on the stock market, people loosing then gaining back fortunes rapidly. It is still only a guess what this will do to interest rates on common things like student loans, credit cards, mortgages, except that it could raise the price on an average home as much as $19,000, meaning the housing market will recover that much slower. It could easily make school unaffordable and out of reach for promising young people who can no longer access education, delay car loans, consumer buying power for big ticket items, increase hardship for America’s trying to pay down, pay off credit card debt as if the interest on that type of debt wasn’t designed to put someone in the hole to begin with. And while we haven’t seen the major Armageddon style upheaval experts predicted, the long term effects remain to be seen or felt 1 year , 2 years, 5, even 10 or 20 years down the road. It’s the coming storm knowledgeable people say of what happens to a world economy based on the US credit rating being AAA, when it no longer is?
And make no mistake the political bickering, backbiting and wrangling in Washington were the direct cause so said Standard and Poor’s, issuing a statement saying in part the US was slightly more risky to invest in, slightly less stable, less predictable, less effective not as much of a sure thing; owing not to the staggering size of our national debt, the inability for the world economy to handle this much longer, but to the obvious signs pointing to our leaders inability to come up with a long term solution. People severing now in the republican controlled house of representatives who said they would under no circumstances support raising the debt ceiling, who said they wanted, would take us to default in order to change the way our system works, seemingly tinged with a tone of to hell with the consequences. The same hardliners who said no new taxes on, just the wealthy, just in the interest of them paying a more proportionate amount to what they take in, sound off at a time when even billionaire Warren Buffet says government should raise both his taxes and those like him, that he should at least be paying the average 30% his secretary does regardless of if that income is generated from capital gains or traditional employment, when he has joined a billionaires club with the likes of Bill Gates giving significant sections of his fortune away to better the world. Hardliners saying these things at a time when the American people are onboard, for the most part, with raising taxes as president Obama purposed on those make 250,000 plus a year, who are ok with requiring wealthy seniors, again like the president, to pay higher Medicare premiums, saying to the millionaires and billionaires no we won’t pay for your prescription drugs. Again making no mistakes these are the kinds of changes democrats and the president want to implement, the kind of changes that can make a difference without hurting struggling Americans.
Added to the mix are the 2012 candidate sideshows Michele Bachmann saying among her more shocking remarks that under president Bachmann gas would be under $2.00 a gallon, who received welcome applause at a town hall for unveiling a plan to defund the department of education, for as she called it taking on her own party. The same candidate that came under fire for saying things were better in times of slavery because there were more 2 parent homes, who was scrutinized for the Christian counseling center she co-owns with her husband where undercover cameras caught counselors there trying to “pray away the gay,” advising gay persons that homosexuality was not only wrong but the path out of it was prayer and bible reading. Which is a perversion of the evangelical and most Christian denominations stance on homosexuality, the majority of whom do believe it’s wrong, but leave the praying up to counselors, priests, ministers working with the person, loved ones and the work of “changing sexuality” to God. Bachmann and other tea party members who virtually caused this, with their written in stone immovable views, calling out the president for a supposed lack of leadership, for not firing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, based on his continual claim there would be no downgrade. Bockman herself bragging in a town hall she had a titanium spine and had taken on members of her own party, but similar to her fellow tea party congressional members, it’s a case of taken on her, their own party to what, cause more gridlock, champion the temper tantrums and non-compromise that gave us an 11th hour deal no one could stomach, to create more situations shaking the confidence of foreign investors, major players on the world stage, possibly to the point they will no longer carry our debt?
Tea partiers have taken on their own, the republican party to what, gouge social programs out of existence, removing people for their area economy who take their social security, their disability checks, TANF, welfare and other stipends and support those same local economies by purchasing food, household goods, school supplies for their children. Conservative runners for 2012 like Rick Perry, who brags about cutting unemployment benefits as a tool to create jobs, in his great state of Texas, a state constantly making the news for all the wrong reasons, abstinence only sex education and a cluster of pregnant teenagers, to name one example. And doing so at a time when 1 in 6 Americans don’t always know where their next meal is coming from, 1 in 4 of these impoverished persons are children. When in a 2 parent household where dad delivers pizza and mom works at a hotel, living in a trailer to cut expenses, they can’t feed their kids. A single mother going to school so she can get a better job, on food stamps and her son showed ABC news a home video of little food in the refrigerator at the end of the month when the stamps run out. Taking on their party to what, slap people in the face taking their “government money” and living independently instead of draining state institutions, nursing homes on the tax payers dime; eliminating this will only worsen the situation not better it. Not to mention reduce the quality of life for thousands if not millions of paraplegic, quadriplegic people injured in accidents, many times not their fault, victims of gunshot wounds who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time or mistaken for someone else by a gang banger, drug dealer. It jilts individuals suffering from a host of degenerative diseases when you choke off funding to agencies that provide service dogs, personal care attendants, home cleaning programs for such persons.
One headline indicated the rating was about stewardship not capacity and they are absolutely right; no one believes America doesn’t have the capability to pay its debt, to enact legislation and programs that will address the issues. What is in doubt is are the current leaders going to do so; are the current congressional members going to put aside their agenda and do what is in the best interest of not reelection, not one district, not a fringe political faction they like or belong to, but in the interest of America in its entirety? What is in doubt is will the cuts purposed A- see any lasting difference in the size of the debt and B- will the cuts help or hurt our nation as both a leader and player on the world stage and as a protector of its own citizens, as a secure place fighting for security in the world. Or will we fall into further embarrassment and disgrace as we put in place all these cuts to social programs, tax already strapped citizens, reform all of our so called entitlement programs, it doesn’t solve our debt problem, the rich get richer while the struggling continue to dumpster dive and eat dog food when their food stamps run out, continue to rely on church and charity because they are either past working age, are older and have that much more trouble getting a job, or are a younger worker embarking on the 2-3 year journey that is getting another job once you’ve lost your old one to the economy. Or will we cut ourselves into danger and become victims of our own poor management as much as terrorism when we choke of needed funding for investigative agencies meant to stop it, when we weaken our military to the point it is toothless? The good stewardship Standard and Poor’s needs to see, was hoping to see in this situation, involved leaders working together, taking the time needed to deal with the problem, but not waiting until the 11th hour, not bickering not drawing idiotic lines in the sand on reasonable ways to control spending and reduce the deficit.
Further information revealed by news outlets in an effort to answer the question who are Standard and Poor’s who are the national, international credit rating agencies, left questions about their validity, their ability to judge such things seeing as they kept the AAA rating for Enron until it’s downfall along with Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they failed to notice the mortgage bubble and impending housing crisis, as well as the instability in places like Spain and Greece. Looking at their inner workings and personnel structure congress rightly pointed out, while fighting the downgrade, that 100 financial analysts keeping track of monitoring, over 100 countries isn’t enough people to get an accurate picture of what is going on in something as large and complex as an entire country’s financial system. Still others are asking how 2-3 credit agencies can have so much power to decide the fiscal fate of so many? Put it all together and you have a ratings agency that should receive a poor rating for job performance, competence, organizational structure. An institution that should in all truth be shut down and should under no circumstances hold the economic justification of a country in its hands, because what one does the other major ones follow a scene unfolding right now; neither should 2 or 3 such agencies hold so much power. Even the congressional super committee charged with addressing our debt problem is made up of 12 people.
One woman so upset by what they had done, been allowed to do, she used her money to have a plane fly over their offices carrying an obscene banner; this is not the arrogance of Americans thinking it could never happen to them. It is anger at leaders who let this happen to everyone, anger at a financial system so obviously unfair, controlled by so few, major decisions left in the hands of apparently the wrong people and fear about what comes next, how it impacts good people saving for, paying on their home, a newer used car, young people wanting to go to school, just starting out having made no financial mistakes, having no voice in the decisions made that they must now literally pay for. It’s the anger of ordinary people just trying to get by, trying to work for a living who may lose their jobs because of this, may not be able to get a job because of this. And politicians need to understand these examples are the cost of their attitudes, approach to big issues effecting real people, that it’s not a big game of chess, that it’s not over for the people they short change just because they leave office, that the things they do can last long after they are gone for good or ill. The American people need to also come to the realization that divided government is dysfunctional government; a republican house and a democratic senate are recipes for nothing getting done. Our citizens need to understand that voting for the down home candidate rattling off and supporting fringe concepts may sound good but leads to a disaster in governing a nation. They need to realize the limits of the office they are electing a person to, test the candidates promises against that, if they promise all kinds of things they couldn’t possibly come true because they are running for president and there is congress to deal with or they are a fringe piece of a party off the mainstream who has no hope of competing with larger political forces then they are not the candidate we need. The tea party is a perfect example as small group wreaking havoc making more of a mess than anything else put their courtesy of the American people.