I am sure you have heard by now that Standard & Poor’s, one of the credit rating agencies most responsible for the economic crash of 2008, has downgraded the credit rating of the United States from AAA to AA+. I am almost equally sure that you heard one or more of the Republican “presidential candidates” falling over themselves to blame President Obama and the Democrats for this downgrade (a couple of them even going so far as to demand the resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner).
Don’t listen to them, my friends, for nothing could be further from the truth. The Republicans own this one — lock, stock and barrel. Chez Pazienza (of Deus Ex Malcontent) explains…
Yes, the U.S. is carrying a lot of debt, but we weren’t downgraded because of that; we were downgraded because the Republicans in Congress turned what should have been a simple procedure with a long history of precedent into a political dogfight, one in which they, quite simply, threatened the world with the possibility that the U.S. wouldn’t pay its bills. And what’s more, they’ve already made it abundantly clear that they intend to pull the same kind of crap again and again, especially since they now know that it works. Whether intentionally or not, the Republicans and their bizarre subservience to the Tea Party minority got the hostage that they took shot in the chest — and don’t think for a second that it will cause them to rethink this brand of political terrorism in the future.
It practically goes without saying that Republican leaders are now giddily lining up to blame President Obama for this latest global embarrassment; it goes without saying because that was the intention all along — to burn the economy to the ground, sabotage it from the inside, and hang it all around the neck of the man they hate more than they love America and its people. The marrow-deep audacity required to do something like this is nothing short of mind-boggling. You’ve probably heard this analogy a lot lately, but it’s fitting: It’s the child who murders his parents then pleads for leniency from the court because he’s an orphan. I keep wondering how much will be too much; at what point, if there even is one, the current crop of Republicans will stop and realize that they’re literally destroying our country; when they’ll finally wake up from their wet dream of unchecked power and feel something approaching shame.
I imagine that it will never happen. They’ve proven over and over again that there’s no depth they won’t sink to, no maneuver that crosses the line, no lie too offensive, no hypocrisy that’s unthinkable. So it rests with us to heap the shame on them they seem to fundamentally lack. Maybe it’s because I tend to view things through this prism, but I can’t help but blame the political media for so much of what’s been allowed to happen here — and it’s time they honored their responsibility to the truth, as opposed to contriving some comforting form of fake objectivity, and did so with a firm understanding of what’s at stake. The debt ceiling fight, the credit downgrade, the implementation of hostage politics, all of it stemmed not as a result of a “broken government” in which both sides share equal blame; these things were the direct result of one party, the one that tallied up an unprecedented debt then manufactured a phony crisis over that debt which has already cost us our credit rating and could very well lead to a partial collapse of our fragile economy. What they’ve done will hurt people. It will destroy lives. And the entire reason for it is simply that the GOP wants control of the White House again. After utterly ruining us, the Republicans are seeking to assume complete dominance of our national and global policy again. This is reality. This is what’s happening. And while the press should be equally adversarial when it comes to its coverage of our leaders, it should not ignore the truth or pretend that there are two sides it. The truth is the truth. Period.
Please do not think for one minute that this action by our Republican friends will not have an effect on you. It will. Interest rates on mortgage loans, car loans and credit cards will be going up almost immediately. It will become harder for small or medium-sized businesses to borrow money and they will pay higher interest on the money they are able to borrow. This will make it more difficult for them to grow their businesses and hire people, so unemployment will remain high (or even go higher). Everything you buy, from groceries to shoes, is going to get more expensive.
But, hey, you said in 2010 that you wanted a divided government. You wanted Republicans in charge of the House of Representatives. You got it. I hope you’re enjoying it.