No standards, and poor reasoning, in U.S. downgrade

I can’t remember the last time something as telegraphed beforehand as the Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the federal government’s credit rating was discussed as if it were so shocking to so many people. S&P said a couple of weeks ago that it wanted to see a package of $4 trillion in deficit reductions to go along with the debt deal, or else a downgrade was coming.

Ratings agencies don’t get to set budget policy in this country, and Congress decided to do something else. Congress doesn’t get to set credit ratings in this country, and S&P decided to make good on its threat. The company really wouldn’t have had a shred of its credibility — you might say the very last shred of its credibility — left if it hadn’t done so. In the end, I think that’s what this move was really about: The company unwisely placed a stake in the ground of the debt-ceiling talks, and then had no choice but to do what it had threatened to do.

Why do I think that’s what it was about? Because it certainly wasn’t about the nation’s creditworthiness. The holes in S&P’s logic for choosing this particular time to issue a downgrade tell us as much.

Democracies are messy, and at their messiest when passions run high and opinions are divided. Despite S&P’s tsk-tsking after the fact, there was zero chance Congress was going to let the Aug. 2 deadline come and go without some kind of a deal. Zero. No leader of either party in either chamber of Congress, nor the president, ever voiced a willingness to do so. They framed the debate in terms of what would come along with the inevitable raising of the debt ceiling. Although there were some individual members who voiced a willingness to risk it, the margins of the votes in both the House and the Senate were so large as to demonstrate that these voices, while loud, were far from influential enough to carry the day. Markets were already pricing in the risk of a default before the deal was struck, and you may have noticed that the really big losses didn’t come until afterward (when there just happened to be a lot of other unpleasantness going on elsewhere in the world).

And regardless of whether you agree with my assessment of the chances that Congress would fail to reach a deal, the fact is that a deal was reached. Debts are being serviced just as they were before. S&P is essentially trying to predict the ending of the next debate, which will take place in an entirely different context (i.e., not up against a deadline for raising the debt ceiling).

So we’re back to the size of the reductions. And there are three important points to note here.

  1. I can neither recall nor locate any statement from S&P when President Obama initially asked for a “clean” increase in the debt ceiling that indicated such a move would have led to a downgrade — even though such a move would have been far worse, given S&P’s rationale now, than what we got in the end.
  2. The entire history of the U.S. debt ceiling before last week went like this: President asks for increase, Congress grants increase, with no strings attached. I know this, because Democrats pointed it out ad nauseum during the debate as a reason why there should be a clean increase (that is, when they weren’t trying to claim the high ground with Obama’s never-specified plan for $4 trillion in cuts). So, for there to have been any cuts at all attached to the ceiling increase was a historic moment for changing the direction of the nation’s fiscal policy for the better. And how does S&P react? By saying it should have been an even more historic moment.
  3. In the end Republicans and Democrats, House and Senate, did agree — again, by sizable margins — to almost $1 trillion in new spending caps and the broad outlines of a further $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in further reductions. The political process worked. It may have been messy, it may have been ugly, it may ultimately have satisfied no purists of any stripe. But it worked. The language S&P used in its press release would lead someone who’d gone to sleep July 28 and just awakened to believe no deal had been reached.

As for S&P’s hand-wringing that there won’t be a substantial policy consensus until after next year’s election: There’s an election next year? When did someone put that on the calendar?!?

It’s almost enough to make one wonder whether the folks at S&P had ever before watched any political process — or, indeed, even any contentious and high-stakes business negotiations — take place.

One final point about S&P’s statement itself. If you want to find a lie within it, look for the line about S&P’s having no opinion as to the balance between tax increases and spending cuts. Baloney. The only other way to understand the statement, aside from S&P having left itself no option but to make good on its threat, is to view it as a call for higher taxes. It’s the right of the folks at S&P to believe that’s what should happen, but the fact that taxes haven’t gone up yet has nothing to do with the actual creditworthiness today of the U.S. government.

If we deserve a downgrade, we deserved it a long time ago.

***

Now, all that said, is there any merit to the idea that the United States is a riskier investment today than it was as of Friday afternoon — or even as a result of the tense debt-ceiling negotiations? Should everyone be spooked by U.S. political wrangling?

The markets certainly didn’t think so last week; investors drove down the yields on U.S. Treasurys that they viewed as safe havens. We’ll see what happens today. But Moody’s and Fitch still have Uncle Sam rated AAA, and my understanding is that, from a technical standpoint, that should mean little or no fallout from S&P’s downgrade (i.e., banks aren’t going to have to sell off a bunch of Treasurys just because S&P has them at AA+ now).

From a psychological standpoint, things may be different. But I doubt that anyone saw S&P’s downgrade and realized for the first time that the U.S. government has racked up an alarming amount of debt and has yet to implement no plans to begin reining in said debt. Again, this is not news. The tea party sounded this alarm bell almost two and a half years before S&P got to ringing (and, irony of ironies, is now getting the blame for the downgrade in many quarters).

If there is some good to come out of S&P’s move, it will have to be a sharpening of focus and attention in Washington to make tough choices sooner than later. There may be greater public pressure on members of Congress to do something bold in the way of reforming the tax code and entitlements.

If would be for the good if they were so prodded. But again, prodding politicians isn’t a ratings agency’s job.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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168 comments Add your comment

rick perry

August 8th, 2011
5:48 am

dear gawd how ’bout dropping a few c-notes to go along with my rain prayer request. thanks for doing me a solid on my finely coifed hair. p.s. don’t mess with texas, big guy.

Gordon

August 8th, 2011
6:09 am

They are just looking at the numbers, and what it would take to get our spending back into control, and are just stating the obvious. The American people do not have the will to solve this problem. S&P is just the messenger. We will have a debt of over $20T in 10 years even if everything goes right, and there just aren’t enough people who care. This will have to be done the hard way. Very sad.

V

August 8th, 2011
6:38 am

Go through S&P’s list,you will find,that only ‘white’ countries are rated AAA by S&P,and now that US has a black president they had to lower its rating…
I think Singapore is the exception to this rule.

Tom E. Gunn

August 8th, 2011
6:46 am

@ V, and what’s your point?

donna summers

August 8th, 2011
6:51 am

s&p believes socialist countries like France are in better fiscal shape then the greedy capitalist usa. Imagine that, universal healthcare and fiscally sound. Nice to see a Country that cares about quality of life.

Max

August 8th, 2011
7:03 am

Gee, Kyle, I guess you don’t like consequences… Finally somebody calls out the insanity the GOP leadership has helped create in the the political system and holds them accountable….and you whine about it.

Guess what? Actions have consequences for people you don’t like *AND* people you like (including you, Dear Kyle). Congress now gets to deal with the mess they made and the effects it’s going to have over the long term.

Grow up, sir.

Toby

August 8th, 2011
7:16 am

” I got 98% of what I wanted, I’m happy”

JF McNamara

August 8th, 2011
7:20 am

From the WSJ:
http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2011/08/05/sp-downgrades-u-s-debt-rating-press-release/

Did you read the press release?

The S&P wouldn’t have downgraded us if Obama had just been given the debt increase. Its clear in their statements that they don’t believe the divided leadership can actually solve any of our problems given the tenor of the debt ceiling debate, and that was the reasoning. Last night on CNBC, the S&P rep said that there is no chance of the Bush tax cuts expiring and no realistic way to cut spending, so there is no way that the U.S. will ever get back to balance budget without a crisis.

Excerpts for WSJ

– The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.

– More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.

– Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics any time soon.

Jack

August 8th, 2011
7:24 am

You can cry all you want to about the need to better balance spending cuts and revenue enhancement but this is where I stand.

I worked hard enough, got a better than decent education (read: no “state government college or university”) and had enough connections through my family to become a very wealthy person – wealthy enough to hire the best tax attorney I can afford to walk me through a boat load of loopholes in the tax codes to avoid paying taxes that I do not have to pay. Wealthy enough to have “lost” close to 1.8 million dollars in investments in the Market over the last two weeks.

You may call me greedy or “unAmerican”. I call me taking advantage of legally what I can to protect my hard-earned investments and profits.

I could care less than a big “whoop” about democrats or republicans or tea parties. My interest lies with whom ever will protect my revenue. Right now that seems to be the tea party folks who are keeping republicans from closing some of the loopholes that are vital to me.

Although I personally admire President Obama, he is not a viable alternative for someone with my income unless the republicans choose someone like Sarah Palin.

If the republicans will nominate a good businessman like Romney, Huntsman or possibly Pawlenty, then I will contribute to their campaigns. If they pick some social issue “yoyo” like Perry, Cain, Santorium or Bachmann, I will save my campaign contributions for “down ticket” business republicans and most likely skip the President line on my ballot.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 8th, 2011
7:28 am

JF McNamara: The S&P wouldn’t have downgraded us if Obama had just been given the debt increase.
———

Too bad your very first bullet point puts the lie to your politically motivated claim.

lil' b's mom

August 8th, 2011
7:34 am

lil’ blowhard shut up and get a job, deadbeat!

Ayn Rant

August 8th, 2011
7:36 am

Kyle, no matter how many paragraphs you write to justify the debt ceiling political fiasco, you cannot refute a word of the statement issued by S&P to explain their downgrade.

The debt ceiling compromise is not a deficit reduction plan: it is a plan to continue political bickering and stalemate. Any meaningful deficit reduction must be achieved by passing a specific yearly budget with a 10-year outlook; looks like the Congress won’t get around to that until after the 2012 elections.

The political process does not work and cannot work if members of Congress adhere to political party dogma rather than reason and judgment. Our Constitution specifies a form of government that is unsuited for strict political partisanship; government gridlock is assured as long as elected Republicans march lock-step in their unwavering support of the ultra-rich and Big Business, and their relentless opposition to the middle class and the poor.

The stumbling block to a sincere deficit reduction plan is that Republican members of Congress will not consider any revenue increases, even those that close the most ridiculous loopholes in our 80,000+ page federal tax code, and Republican politicians show total disregard for the economic consequences of cutting the federal deficit, which constitutes 10% of our GDP and supports a commensurate number of jobs.

Republican politicians initiated big-time peacetime deficit spending in the Reagan Administration to cover the shortfall from tax concessions to the wealthy. At the end of the Clinton Administration, when the federal budget was in surplus and there was hope of paying down the national debt, Republican politicians reinstated big-time deficit spending to cover the shortfall from further tax concessions to the rich.

Republican politicians neglected to reign in the runaway financial sector that crashed the economy in 2008. Republican politicians initiated the TARP bailout, then blocked the reforms needed to re-attune the financial sector to the US economy. Republican politicians impeded the economic recovery measures that kept the economy from sinking into another Great Depression. Republican politicians turned down a four trillion dollar debt reduction plan suggested by the President, in favor of the compromise measure that led to the S&P downgrade.

So, who’s to blame for the sorry state of American governance and the sorry state of the economy? Republican politicians, who have sabotaged our government and our economy!

Tea Party Hobbit

August 8th, 2011
7:49 am

Kyle, I think perhaps your strongest point was right at the beginning. We did not, NOR SHOULD WE EVER, allow an outside company, country, or any other entity, to dictate our policy. Never. We came up with, of course, the typical American compromise boo-hockey, but at least we did not succomb to the demands of a bunch of overseas analysts. In the end, hopefully this will jolt us into a wake-up call that we need to look at serious and deep spending cuts, and to close out tax loopholes. Maybe now is the time for a flat tax, or better yet the FairTax!

Darwin

August 8th, 2011
7:56 am

I’m with Max. S&P folks are with the extreme right wing playing politics over logic.

Really?

August 8th, 2011
7:57 am

@Jack
You elitist mother******. State or government schools don’t give a good education. Think again and go drown your sorry life in your bank losses

Uncle Billy

August 8th, 2011
8:03 am

I still say S&P makes no difference. It downgraded Japan ten years ago and the yield on the Japan 10 year bond on Friday was 1.01%.

Tea Party Hobbit

August 8th, 2011
8:06 am

My bad – I just realized that S&P is based out of NY. For some reason I thought they were British. Oh well, does not change my point anyway – they should not be allowed to dictate policy. Oh, and by the way, for all the talk about China – their S&P rating is AA-, though granted it has been moving up not down.

USMC

August 8th, 2011
8:06 am

The bottom line is: WE HAVE TO CUT SPENDING!!!!!

Cut “entitlements” and foreign aid completely for starters.

Then CUT GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS and get Government out of the way.

-just a few thoughts…

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 8th, 2011
8:13 am

Ayn Rant: Any meaningful deficit reduction must be achieved by passing a specific yearly budget with a 10-year outlook; looks like the Congress won’t get around to that until after the 2012 elections.
———

Actually, the House already passed theirs. Waiting on the Democrat Senate, but they haven’t passed a budget going on three years now.

Gordon

August 8th, 2011
8:18 am

I do not understand anyone who says the Tea Party is responsible for this downgrade. If there was no Tea Party and the debt ceiling had been raised without any discussion and it has in the past, we would have had no cuts whatsoever and would be in even worse condition financially. Even though the “cuts” in the current deal are pititful, they are better than nothing.

We were downgraded because it has become obvious not enough people in government are taking our position seriously. I don’t see that changing until it is too late. Can someone explain to me how this will end any other way but a default (not by choice) or monetizing the debt?

bbdawg

August 8th, 2011
8:19 am

And this from the folks who gave AAA ratings to the subprime mortgage gambling chips. Their credibility is definitely in question.

S&P

August 8th, 2011
8:23 am

Obama’s camp needs to call the S&P chief and tell him to stay on message and get the rating back up. Change is hard.

Point/Counterpoint

August 8th, 2011
8:26 am

Really? – “@Jack
You elitist mother******.”

Actually, Jack is right on the money with his post. He is the prototypical wealth holder in this country. As he wrote, he went to a good school and through family connections became wealthy and now he wants to protect that wealth utilizing the legal system that allows him to do so. People like Jack should absolutely vote Republican, and it would surprise me if he didn’t. Republicans represent what is important to him, and are more ideologically suited to his interests. What i don’t understand, are the people that aren’t in Jacks position or sphere of influence that continue to vote Republican. If you aren’t already well off, and able to utilize the tax codes to your advantage, them you may as well vote Democrat. Whether you want to believe it or not, you, and most others will attain the monetary status that the Republicans will be interested in protecting. I don’t vote for either party, but, like Jack, my interests are best served by Republicans. However, if I was in a different financial position, I would probably vote Democrat.

roughrider

August 8th, 2011
8:27 am

Our credit rating should have been downgraded in early 2008. That is when we had the economic meltdown under Bush , which required the TARP and bailouts.

Point/Counterpoint

August 8th, 2011
8:30 am

Whether you want to believe it or not, you, and most others will not attain the monetary status that the Republicans will be interested in protecting.

Sorry, had to make the correction to my above post.

southside gop

August 8th, 2011
8:33 am

Kyle,

We are a “Republic,” not a “Democracy.” You would think that the AJC’s token conservative understood our government.

Dylan

August 8th, 2011
8:33 am

I have news for you conservatives. Social Security has not caused one penny of debt to this country, in fact it is still in surplus. It is the most popular and one of the most successful government programs in our history (I know that comes as a surprise, to see “successful” and “government” together”). The only problem with SS is that politicians have used it as their personal piggy back, to hide their spending and tax cuts.

The conservative plan is this:

*Cut taxes for the rich
*When the deficit gets large, blame SS and Medicare, insist that benefits for the poor and middle class must be cut to “balance” the budget.

Of course, that is only during a Democratic administration. During a Republican administration the motto is “Deficits don’t matter, Reagan proved that.”

Jack and other rich people, you are free to vote your wallet, as all good conservatives do. But for the rest of us who care about ALL of this country, I don’t see how anyone else (the bottom 98%) would fall for that cr*p.

ragnar danneskjold

August 8th, 2011
8:38 am

Good morning all, good essay. The S&P statement has a comic element – if one reads it as written, the client had to file bankruptcy because his credit counselor urged him to rein in his spending. I feel some empathy for S&P, however, since Dodd-Frank regulates the credit review agencies – they had to write a downgrade, but it had to be written so that the regulators would not have an incentive to punish S&P. Thus the disingenuity.

ragnar danneskjold

August 8th, 2011
8:40 am

Dear Dylan @ 8:33, good morning, you err. While we would agree that future spending from social security will come from the government’s left pocket rather than from the right pocket, government spending is still government spending. If there was no unfunded contingent liability in the social security program you would have a rational basis for your argument.

Point/Counterpoint

August 8th, 2011
8:43 am

Dylan – “I don’t see how anyone else (the bottom 98%) would fall for that cr*p.”

Simple, it’s the illusion that they will one day attain the wealth and status that the Republicans protect. The sad truth of it, is that unless they have already attained it, or will attain it through inheritance, they will remain in the bottom 98% which is typically what the Democratic party tries to protect. The median income in this country is roughly $50,000. the upper 2% represent those making $200,000 and over. I completely understand the 2% GOP voting block, I have never understood why those below the 2% would vote any way other than Democrat.

JohnnyReb

August 8th, 2011
8:43 am

The mess will be fixed by the voters in Nov 2012 when Obama and sufficient Dem senators are given their walking papers handing control of Congress and the White House to Conservatives. Obama and his crowd are responsible for making things worse and driving up the debt while doing it. Obama supporters know this, it’s just difficult for them to admit it. It is evidenced in their wild claims of the credit rating decline being the fault of the Tea Party. What BS. Obama is done. We should have a special election!

Point/Counterpoint

August 8th, 2011
8:46 am

JohnnyReb – “We should have a special election!’

And which Congressional candidates will you be casting your vote for? To date, I haven’t even heard of anyone running for Congress.

JohnnyReb

August 8th, 2011
9:05 am

Point/Counterpoint – I was being facetious: Treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor.

Bobby Taylor

August 8th, 2011
9:06 am

Have you seen, anywhere, in any media, or even heard reported or repeated on NPR, the following sentence? “We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.”

Thom Hartmann

JF McNamara

August 8th, 2011
9:14 am

Lil Barry @ 7:28,

Can you even read?

I gave a link. You can read the S&P’s words. I summarized what they said. That’s not political.

Neither cut, cap and balance nor the Ryan plan were viable. The math was completely wrong in Ryan’s proposal. Cut, cap, and balance was a publicity stunt. You can’t just cap spending without knowing where you’re going to cut. The money was already spent. That’s why it was never considered. It wasn’t a plan, it was an idealogical hope.

Rob Woodall has his free, socialized, government healthcare. Wants you to buy expensive, inferior healthcare from anyone but the government

August 8th, 2011
9:15 am

The S&P used their downgrade to take a shot at the broken process and while they didn’t come right out and say it their issue was with Tea Party members who indicated that maybe it was time to not raise the debt ceiling again and let the chips fall where they may.

If you want to understand the root cause of our economic problems and how well the Obama administration has dealt with them, click the link below to see a picture of monthly job losses under Bush and Obama. The stimulus worked the proof is right there. We need another.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4035/4332827382_8b9c41680e.jpg

Tea Party Hobbit

August 8th, 2011
9:29 am

Robin Hood Woodall –
The job losses are a symptom of the economic problems, not the root cause. A stimulus would not create new jobs directly. If you want that, convince the President to run another census!

DannyX

August 8th, 2011
9:32 am

Wisconsin is having a ’special election’ tomorrow. Elections have consequences as they quickly found out. There is more than a good chance of Republicans losing total control of the Wisconsin government they now enjoy.

Tea Party governors, months after being elected have George W Bush like approval ratings.

Tea Party approval ratings have sunk even lower than Republican Party approval ratings.

Wake up Republicans, America is not angry with Obama and Democrats. America is angry with the Tea Party crazies.

Rob Woodall has his free, socialized, government healthcare. Wants you to buy expensive, inferior healthcare from anyone but the government

August 8th, 2011
9:44 am

Census takers don’t spend their paychecks? The unemployed don’t spend their benefit checks? Construction workers on public funded projects don’t spend their paychecks? Explain that one for me.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 8th, 2011
9:59 am

” The stimulus worked the proof is right there. We need another.”
——

Why, so unemployment can go up a couple of points like it did after the last “stimulus”?

Rob Woodall has his free, socialized, government healthcare. Wants you to buy expensive, inferior healthcare from anyone but the government

August 8th, 2011
10:06 am

Barry. Look at the pretty picture. You see job losses going off a cliff during the end of the Bush regime? That looks bad doesn’t it? You see the job losses going away after Obama took over? That makes us happy!! Hooray for stimulus!!! It sure is great that we had someone with a plan take over as president since Bush didn’t seem to know what was going on.

Don't Tread

August 8th, 2011
10:12 am

“If you aren’t already well off, and able to utilize the tax codes to your advantage, them you may as well vote Democrat”

There are (many!) other reasons for voting against Democrats other than one’s net worth.

Jim Crowe

August 8th, 2011
10:17 am

Why, so unemployment can go up a couple of points like it did after the last “stimulus”?

How much would it have gone up if not for the stimulus ?

Ive seen this time and again in my lifetime. Republicans like W ruin the economy and when they are thrown out of office and the next guy cant fix it right away they lay all the blame on him. Thank god Clinton got two terms and had us on the right path. Took W about 10 days to blow that one on tax cuts for the rich who didnt need the money anyway. How did that work out ?

Where are the WMD’s we spent hundreds of billions looking for?

Obama had a few things against him that may ruin his presidency

1. He is black ( Which means a large mostly older whiter portion of our population will never accept him)
2. He had to follow the worst president ever.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 8th, 2011
10:21 am

That makes us happy!! Hooray for stimulus!!!
———

9-10% unemployment makes you happy?

Why do you hate America? Other than it’s a prerequisite for supporting Obozo…

Rob Woodall has his free, socialized, government healthcare. Wants you to buy expensive, inferior healthcare from anyone but the government

August 8th, 2011
10:26 am

Now Barry. I don’t think you looked at the pretty picture like you were supposed to. If you did you would see how job losses were growing at an increasing rate during Bush’s last year in office. You would also see how job losses were shrinking at an increasing rate during Obama’s first 6 months in office.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4035/4332827382_8b9c41680e.jpg

Here’s the link again. All you have to do is put your little arrow thingy over the blue letters and push the little button on the left side of your mouse. Its not a real mouse they just call it that. Did you do it? Good. I knew you could.

Point/Counterpoint

August 8th, 2011
10:27 am

Don’t Tread – “There are (many!) other reasons for voting against Democrats other than one’s net worth.”

What reasons would they be and how do they affect you? As I stated previously, I’m one of the ones that actually benefits from Republican policies in regard to lower taxes, less regulation and less Government waste. However, those things will always benefit the upper 2%. If you aren’t directly affected by the aforementioned items (which typically those in the 98 percentile are not, what advantage do you have to vote GOP?

Gator Joe

August 8th, 2011
10:29 am

From the beginning of President Obama’s presidency, the Republicans, financed by their Corporate and other wealthy masters, have been preoccupied with delegitimizing and destroying the President politically and in other ways. All the while at the expense of working people and the economy. The blame for the economic mess and the related high unemployment lies solely with the Republicans. By way of illustration, this is like one person breaking another’s legs and then calling him unfit to work because he cannot walk to work.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

August 8th, 2011
10:29 am

I’ve seen the chart many times–Bookman used to include it in some of his posts before it turned ugly. Create all the jobs you want–if unemployment gets worse, you’ve failed.

Obozo: Failed.

Linda

August 8th, 2011
10:39 am

JF McNamara@7:20, S&P WOULD have downgraded us if Obama had just been given the debt increase. We were downgraded because the plan falls short in reducing the DEBT. Read your cite.

@9:14, The Simpson-Bowls plan, the Ryan plan, Obama’s speech from 4/13 & Cut, Cap & Balance would have satisfied S&P by cutting $4 T. Obama ignored the Simpson-Bowls plan. Obama publicly ridiculed Ryan to his face. When Obama asked for his plan to be rated, the CBO said they did not “estimate speeches.” If the Cut, Cap & Balance bill was a publicity stunt, no plan & an ideological hope, why did 5 Democrats vote for it?

S&P also wrote, “The political brinksmanship…the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare & little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we & most other independent observers regard as key to long-tern fiscal responsibility…”

Without Medicare & other entitlement reforms, we will downgraded even further.

Rob Woodall has his free, socialized, government healthcare. Wants you to buy expensive, inferior healthcare from anyone but the government

August 8th, 2011
10:39 am

Let’s try this. Below are monthly unemployment rates starting in May of 2007 and running through July of 2011. I arbitrarily started in May of ‘07. Accurately assuming that you cannot blame Obama for the unemployment rate for his first year or so in office, since the economy is like an aircraft carrier and couldn’t possibly stop on a dime and switch course when a new president takes over, it is obvious that the unemployment situation has improved during Obama’s presidency. The numbers show it. Less than a year after the election and 9-10 months after Obama took office, unemployment peaked. Since then the policies of this president and this Congress have pulled the economy back from the brink. You won’t hear that on Fox news because it doesn’t fit with their propaganda.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/UNRATE.txt

2007-05-01 4.4
2007-06-01 4.6
2007-07-01 4.7
2007-08-01 4.6
2007-09-01 4.7
2007-10-01 4.7
2007-11-01 4.7
2007-12-01 5.0
2008-01-01 5.0
2008-02-01 4.8
2008-03-01 5.1
2008-04-01 4.9
2008-05-01 5.4
2008-06-01 5.6
2008-07-01 5.8
2008-08-01 6.1
2008-09-01 6.2
2008-10-01 6.6
2008-11-01 6.8
2008-12-01 7.3
2009-01-01 7.8
2009-02-01 8.2
2009-03-01 8.6
2009-04-01 8.9
2009-05-01 9.4
2009-06-01 9.5
2009-07-01 9.5
2009-08-01 9.7
2009-09-01 9.8
2009-10-01 10.1
2009-11-01 9.9
2009-12-01 9.9
2010-01-01 9.7
2010-02-01 9.7
2010-03-01 9.7
2010-04-01 9.8
2010-05-01 9.6
2010-06-01 9.5
2010-07-01 9.5
2010-08-01 9.6
2010-09-01 9.6
2010-10-01 9.7
2010-11-01 9.8
2010-12-01 9.4
2011-01-01 9.0
2011-02-01 8.9
2011-03-01 8.8
2011-04-01 9.0
2011-05-01 9.1
2011-06-01 9.2
2011-07-01 9.1