published Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

'The struggle of this decade'

We shouldn't really be shocked that our national credit rating has been downgraded. We were warned, after all, that it could be if we didn't start dealing realistically with our debt.

But even though the federal government long has spent far more money than too-high tax rates have brought in, it seems to astonish many that Standard & Poor's rating of U.S. credit was recently reduced from AAA to AA+ for the first time in history.

Some Democrats in the U.S. Senate are so upset that they evidently plan to investigate S&P -- rather than face the economic irresponsibility that led to the downgrade!

Not everyone has been taken by surprise, though.

"This news shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone and is further evidence that Washington is dysfunctional and our country's battle with spending is the struggle of this decade," U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., correctly noted in a press release.

Corker had proposed a rigorous plan -- the CAP Act -- to get our nation on the right path by capping spending. But ultimately Congress passed a watered-down package of new borrowing and limited spending cuts.

"Unfortunately, the plan passed last week was the best we could get under the current administration and Republican control of only one house of Congress," Corker added, "but it's not nearly enough ... ." He commendably intends to press for larger cuts.

His fellow Republican U.S. senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander, also declared that our debt load cannot be ignored: "This problem didn't happen overnight and it can't be fixed overnight, but the American people have a right to expect Congress to work across party lines to reduce the federal debt by at least $4 trillion over the next 10 years," Alexander said in a news release.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., was equally troubled by the circumstances that led to the credit rating downgrade: "We must end our addiction to government spending," he stated. "Over the last six months the Republican-led House has worked diligently to rein in government spending and get our country back on the path of fiscal responsibility. However, Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration have hindered all attempts at fiscal responsibility.

"Instead, they have carried on with a mindset of 'tax, borrow, spend'; ... [the] downgrade by S&P makes it clear this is no longer a viable option. ... Spending money we do not have must end now. Period."

So, what are some of the financial conditions that contributed to the reduced credit rating?

  • We now have a national debt of $14.6 trillion.

  • That amounts to nearly $47,000 per citizen.

  • But not all citizens pay taxes, so our debt comes to more than $130,000 per taxpayer.

Are you comfortable with that? Should anybody be?

Corker, Alexander and Fleischmann are among the members of Congress who are seeking to exercise more financial responsibility. But obviously they are not in the majority.

We need a president and majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives who are determined to practice financial common sense and make our country fully worthy once again of the highest possible credit rating.

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EaTn said...

If all goes as some (pipe) dream, in 2012 we will have the clock turned back about eight years where the president and congress will be of the same right-wing mind and lead this country back into peace and prosperity(yeah, right).

August 10, 2011 at 7:32 a.m.
328Kwebsite said...

As an unemployed veteran living here for several years with no benefits and limited support, I assure you the struggle of this decade is dealing with the disgusting, obese financial mess foisted on us by the Bush administration. Sheer personal greed and massive intellectual failings in the habitual refusal to participate in lawful and stable transactions is the reason why we are in the mess we have today.

The foundation for this disgusting mess rests squarely on the shoulders of Representative Emertius Newt Gingrich and the Republican Congress of 1995 and 1996. They refused to pay for housing projects. Their insistence on treating those loans as any other, in compete defiance of observable reality, planted the seed for the destruction we now have around us.

Those difficulties were only magnified by the colossal stupidity and mind-blowing greed of the decade of Republican influence that straddled the Bush administration.

PayGO was the correct solution. We're glad to see that Senators recognize this. However, Senator Corker's own abuse of power while Mayor was used to his own personal financial advantage so much that he has no credibility here anymore. We all know he re-routed the traffic on our streets not only in an unsafe fashion that defied the recommendation of civil engineers, but he did so exclusively for his profit and advantage. We learned later that he cashed in on that money by getting Check-Into-Cash loanshark support from up around Knoxville.

Someone in the pocket of loansharks who charge an APR of 400% is not an example of someone worthy of advising anyone on finance.

Add to this the disgust we notice about local Republican crony raiding of taxpayer dollars. That raiding includes the firing of five deputies to pay for the abrupt and unwanted installation of Senator Corker's former campaign Chief of Staff as County Chief of Staff. As though we need more disgust.

Look no further than the Republican party's own contributions to debt creation. We applaud your realization that PayGO was right.

August 10, 2011 at 8:03 a.m.
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