America’s economy has suffered setbacks in the past, but during those perilous times, the leaders in Washington have come together out of concern for the stability and survival of the economy and the nation. The country now finds itself in another tenuous situation and instead of coming together to make important decisions to save the nation’s economic standing, Republicans are working to keep the economy on the precipice to portray the Obama Administration as ineffective. What the nation, and indeed the world, sees is that Republicans obstructed difficult economic decisions that prompted one of three credit rating agencies to downgrade America’s credit rating. It is difficult to know exactly how the downgrade will affect the economic picture, but suffice it to say, it does not bode well for the nation.
The S&P report explained why they downgraded America’s rating; the agency said that government is not working because Congress is so polarized and unable to reach a sensible compromise to rein in the deficit that there may be long term difficulties with no end in sight. The agency did not downgrade short-term prospects and were specific in what they were looking for to preserve the AAA rating America has always maintained. It is sad that Republicans are so attached to the Norquist-ordered anti-tax ideology that the world is now in jeopardy of falling into dire economic straights the same as America.
The report specified that they were looking for $4 trillion in cuts over ten years as a reasonable amount to start with and it is the exact figure President Obama called for before the debt ceiling negotiations began. In fact, as far back as April of this year, the president called for $4 trillion in spending cuts but Republicans balked and hung on to the $2 trillion amount eventually decided on. The Republicans barely agreed to that amount because they wanted to revisit raising the debt limit during the 2012 campaign season. It is an old story, but Republicans claim to want to reduce the deficit, but their words never match their deeds. If they were the least bit serious about reducing the deficit, they would have accepted the balanced approach President Obama called for by closing tax loopholes that allowed the wealthy and corporations to avoid paying taxes combined with spending cuts.
Although the S&P report cited Congress’s failure to reach an agreement that included President Obama’s balanced approach, Republicans were quick to blame the downgrade on President Obama because it happened on his watch. What the Republicans will never admit is that they demanded $2 trillion in cuts instead of $4 trillion, and there is overwhelming evidence they refused to budge. The report also cited Republicans’ refusal to let the Bush tax cuts expire to bring in much needed revenue that is necessary to pay down the debt over time. There may well be problems with S&P because they gave good ratings to sub prime mortgages prior to the 2008 economic meltdown, but they agreed with President Obama’s higher spending cuts and plan to set American on a stronger financial footing.
Throughout President Obama’s tenure, Republicans have ignored every financial expert in the world who said to get Americans back to work and grow the economy the government had to increase its investment in stimulus and infrastructure improvements. In the recent FAA shutdown that Republicans caused, tens-of-thousands of workers were laid off and construction projects were halted because Republicans are trying to break the unions. The more closely one examines the Republicans’ plans for the economy, the more evident it becomes that they are doing everything wrong. The simple act of cutting spending will never reduce the deficit and will in fact reduce tax revenue as millions more jobs are lost. Without tax revenue, there is no way to pay down the debt Republicans caused funding two unnecessary wars and Bush’s tax cuts. A local economist said that if America stops borrowing and spending today, the deficit will continue to grow because the interest on the debt for the wars and Bush tax cuts will continue to accrue, and without revenue increases the debt will rise without pause.
There are not enough hours in a day to list the myriad ways Republicans have mishandled the economy, but S&P did a nice job blaming Republicans for downgrading America’s credit rating. The basic premise of the report said if Congress had adopted the president’s $4 trillion spending cut plan coupled with increased revenue over ten years by raising taxes and letting the Bush tax cuts expire, they would not have downgraded America’s rating. Another economist confirmed S&P’s premise and added that if any business, large or small, followed the Republican’s methodology of only cutting spending without increasing revenue, they would not last one year. America is not quite in that category, but if Republicans continue blocking revenue increases, it is doubtful the government can continue operating.
The other aspect of the report that bears repeating is that there is no optimism that Republicans will ever change their approach of not compromising to ensure economic stability. Mitch McConnell has promised that the Republicans’ recipe of holding the economy hostage to maintain the Bush tax cuts and block revenue increases will continue even though it contributed to the outlook for economic instability. It is disturbing when a relatively independent agency downgrades America’s credit rating because Republicans refuse to compromise. Republicans cannot point fingers at Democrats or the president because only they refused to compromise or concede their cherished perpetual tax breaks for the wealthy. It is tragic, but when America does collapse, it will be because Republicans insisted on giving preferential treatment to the wealthiest 2% of Americans and the corporations they own.
It is disheartening, but the people who have been warning of the consequences of not following a balanced approach to controlling the deficit are finally being proven right. This is the start of the decline of a once great country and it is not because a Black man sits in the Oval Office or that Americans who paid into their retirement plan are collecting benefits, but because of anti-tax dogmata and protection of the wealthiest Americans. The only winners are the extremely wealthy who will buy America when it finally collapses and then charge the American people to live here.
Bloggers, journalists, economists, and average Americans warned of Republican malfeasance to no avail and now a credit rating agency has confirmed the fears of millions and started the ball rolling that ends America. The blame lies with Republicans, teabaggers, and the stupid American people who elected them because they did not want universal health care or a Black president. They have embarrassed and humiliated America again and it proves America is not exceptional. It is like S&P said; America is a dysfunctional nation with little hope of recovering from the stupid Republican agenda that has damaged the economy for the second time in 5 years. America will never recover a third time and Mitch McConnell promised Republicans will repeat last week’s performance again next year; they want to assure there is further downgrading. There is little left to downgrade though, and that suits Republicans who caused this disaster. They must still be congratulating each other while the rest of the country despairs and grieves the demise of this tragically pitiful country.