Do you feel like going out on your porch or sticking your head out of the window and yelling, “I am mad as [all get out], and I’m not going to take it anymore!”?
If you are thoroughly fed up, with whom or what are you fed up?
Maybe you have a long list. At this point I do, and the list keeps getting longer.
I am just sick to death of elected officials acting as if their real loyalty is to the party. Whichever party.
It has become downright disgusting to see the partisan gamesmanship being practiced by members of Congress in both houses and in both parties.
Some say there has never been such a total lack of cooperation, or of willingness to put the national interest ahead of the interest of the caucus, the faction the party. House members and Senators galore have been involved in this revolting display of playing politics with the fiscal health of the country.
The intransigence on both sides of the aisle is stunning. Each “leader” seems bent on keeping the other side from being able to chalk up a win. In fact, these leaders seen bent, period. Twisted. Greedy for importance and bragging rights.
If all the Senators had decided to just represent the best interests of the nation and of their own constituencies, and had worked in a bipartisan way to develop a good strategy for averting default, and if all the House members had done the same, and the houses had refrained from scuffling with each other as if they were playing some intramural game, and if they had not been more interested in being “team players” with their faction than they were in helping govern this nation wisely—this crisis would not have reached such worrisome proportions in the first place.
No, it wouldn’t have been better if Tom DeLay had been back, wheeling and dealing and swapping earmarks. But blocking that cynical and extremely wasteful practice did not have to lead to implementation of another one. Brinksmanship of this sort is madness. It reflects badly on everyone involved—and on the nation. American democracy, the model other nations should follow?
Then, there’s the great authority on how solvent, how fiscally responsible, any entity is—whether it be a financial institution, a corporation, a municipality, or a nation. Yep, Standard &Poor.
The nation was told to change how it operates or else. S&P threatened the United States of America, under whose rules and within whose protection S&P lives and acts and has its being.
Cut Social Security and Medicare or we’ll downgrade you, said S&P.
A bipartisan Senate committee found, after long study, that S&P’s misleading mortgage ratings were a key cause of the financial crisis of 2008, and of course that crisis was parent to the tantrum-prone child that has been capturing the disapproving attention of the world ever since, the present U.S. economy.
Yes, this private company makes pronouncements as to what the nation must do. After all, they are the experts.
S&P pontificates, but it is far from infallible. The SEC has said it will investigate certain rating agencies, including S&P, for fraud. High time!
It was after the SEC indicated that intention that S&P came out with another threat to downgrade the nation’s credit rating. And it set forth the amount of deficit reduction that it, S&P, wanted to see in order for it not to carry out the fearsome downgrade.
S&P’s errors and manipulations were a proximate cause of the 2008 crash, and here they are telling the nation how to get on S&P’s good side? Perchance, do they want that investigation to be shelved?
Top management of the three main credit rating agencies, S&P, Fitch and Moody’s, were questioned by the Treasury Select Committee about their troubling failure to flag the hollow worth of the kinds of financial instruments that have been blamed for the credit crunch and loss of value of an enormous portion of the American economy.
These worthies admitted that they had incorrectly valued securities based on sub-prime mortgages.
Well, after all, they said, those instruments are so complex, it is not possible to rate them accurately.
So why did they issue ratings on them? They did not say, at the time, that they couldn’t issue ratings, or that their ratings should be taken with a few pounds of salt because it is not possible to rate them accurately. They didn’t issue ratings provisionally, or on a “give or take” basis.
Ian Bell, head of European structured finance for S&P, said, “The assumption that we made about these assets turned out to be incorrect.”
No kidding. Like we didn’t know that, long before he acknowledged it.
S&P was wrong, not a little but a lot, and they were so irresponsible about putting ratings out there as if they were writ in stone by the finger of God, they caused enormous damage to our economy—and not just ours.
So, my instinctive response to S&P’s grim threats to revise downward its appraisal of our nation’s potential solvency is, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like everybody is supposed to believe you. After you made one of the biggest miscalculations ever seen, about a whole category of investments. Your rating system provides a Poor Standard by which to judge or decide anything.”
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