Monday, August 08, 2011
Geithner is on message:
JOHN HARWOOD: You said a moment ago that Congress owns the credit rating. John Kerry, Democratic Senator, said today, "This is the Tea Party downgrade." Is that right?
TIM GEITHNER: Well, I wouldn't-- I'm not going to do politics, John. And I think if we've learned anything these last few months it's-- it's time to put the economy ahead of politics. Again, these are challenges facing the country of the United States, not-- not facing one party or the other. We both have some responsibility for coming together to dig our way out of this stuff.
And, again, this was-- you know, it's a big down payment on our fiscal challenges. Very strong bipartisan support for it. Our challenge is to build on that support and try to take the next steps that make some longer term progress. You know, we need to reform our tax system to help the middle class make this a stronger place to invest. Obviously we need to reform entitlement to secure Medicare for the next generation. And we've got to do some additional things to make the economy strong.
Some have argued that Obama shouldn't engage in name calling, but leave that to surrogates like cabinet secretaries. Yet as we see here, even that's not happening.
The Tea Party owns this downgrade like an oncologist owns cancer.
An oncologist deals with cancer as an informed scientist and does not take steps to cause cancer. The Tea Party is not well informed or educated and precipitated the crisis that led to the downgrade.
I remember when Gingrich shut down the government. At no point at any time did any government official suggest that the United States might default on our debt. It was always very carefully explained that what would happen would be a government furlough -- that the bureaucrats would be sent home, and that there would be no possibility of default.
In the past weeks, Obama has threatened over and over again to default on government obligations -- in virtually every speech. "Default" became the Democratic talking point word used to describe what would happen if the debt ceiling was not raised. The administration chose to make the debate about whether the United States would default on its debt, even though it was clear from the start that there was enough money coming in to satisfy all loan obligations. It was a dishonest, destructive display of political brinksmanship done, it turns out, at the expense of the credit rating of the United States.
In addition, the statement released by S&P doesn't jive with this latest left-wing talking point:
The nation's credit rating was cut to AA+ after S&P said the compromise made by Congress and President Obama this week to cut spending and boost the debt ceiling "falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."
The Tea Party was quite well educated and knew exactly what needed to be done. The government needed to cut spending, and that's what they fought for. If they had succeeded in cutting spending, they would have satisfied S&P's concerns on that point.
"We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process," the ratings firm said.
Translation: The downgrade occurred because the necessary steps -- championed and fought for by the Tea Party congressmen -- were not achieved, and S&P doesn't think that the Tea Party will become powerful enough to take control of Congress and get the national debt under control.
Hopefully the American people will prove them wrong in 2012.
Anonymous tells us that:
"The Tea Party was quite well educated and knew exactly what needed to be done."
Then, Anon. quotes S & P's point in support but ignores this portion of the point:
" ... or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed .... "
Yet the Tea Party did not champion raising revenues, including by means of eliminating tax loopholes. In effect Anon. blunts S & P's point in a feeble out-of-context attempt to make the Tea Party look wise.
The likelihood of reaching an agreement on raising taxes is very small, and will disappear after the next election replaces enough Democrats with Tea Party candidates to make tax increases virtually impossible.
The Tea Party has identified the problem as overspending, not undertaxation. The Tea Party can no more be expected to advocate raising taxes than the Democrats can be expected to advocate elimination of social programs. S&P is absolutely right. The United States in in the process of changing political ideologies. The Democrats and socialist wing of the Republican party are trying desperately to prop up the collapsing socialist welfare state, while the Tea Party movement is dedicated to dismantling it and throwing it into the trash can. The two movements have completely opposite philosophies and are unlikely to agree.
This doesn't make raising taxes to propping up the failing socialist welfare state "wise." Agreeing with and working with those who advocate destroying the economy with taxation in order to build and bloat the government bureaucracy is not wisdom. The Republicans have been compromising with Democratic socialists for years, and all it has done is bring our country to the brink of bankruptcy and ruin. At this point, the Tea Party represents the wisdom of making a U-turn away from the brink, not in raising taxes to force the collapse of the economy.
Anon. does not say it, but presumably he thinks the Tea Party's goals will create jobs despite strong evidence to the contrary. Here's a paraphrase of Anon.:
"Agreeing with and working with those who advocate destroying the economy with no taxation in order to destroy the government is not wisdom."
And then Tea Party members would be looking for food stamps, except that because of the Tea Party there are no longer any food stamps.