by Daniel Gardner
The latest blame naming stratagem coming from Washington progressives is the so-called "TEA Party downgrade." Progressives at first tried to blemish Standard & Poor's (S&P) after they downgraded the federal government from AAA to AA+. They soon saw blaming the messenger wouldn't deflect blame from Washington since other rating services - Moody's and Fitch - had been warning for months they might downgrade America's credit rating too.
Frankly it's a wonder America's credit rating hadn't been downgraded long before now. Were TEA Parties catalysts creating the first credit downgrade in America's history? Hardly. Progressives who claim that are portraying themselves and America as victims and trying to divert attention from their own liabilities in the matter.
To be precise, S&P offered the following rationale for the downgrade:
"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."
The downgrade is not about TEA Parties but about how Washington is (or isn't) tackling our debt crisis. For the record TEA Parties wanted to cut much more spending than has been cut in the fiscal consolidation plan, but progressives refused to budge. Progressives' failure to grasp the importance of dealing effectively with our debt crisis was the catalyst leading to the downgrade.
To be clear, Democrats and Republicans are equally to blame for this debt crisis, which progressives have only lately acknowledged. How bad is our debt crisis? A reader posted the following attributed to Dave Ramsey on my blog in the Clarion-Ledger:
"If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, & are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand."
While I haven't confirmed the attribution, I believe the analogy is accurate and replaces trillions and trillions of dollars with more understandable albeit more incredible numbers.
Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security have become the biggest drivers in our debt spiral, to the point that all three have become unsustainable if not reformed. By refusing to reform these so-called entitlement programs, progressives are dooming all three to certain bankruptcies.
To their credit and with the help of 87 freshmen "TEA Party" representatives in the House, Republicans passed a budget S&P said was sufficient to prevent a credit downgrade. What did Senate progressives do? They tabled the bill. The Senate has not passed a budget in well over two years! "Who needs a budget when one can print and spend as much money as we need?"
Coincidently, a new Rasmussen poll found "just 17% of Likely U.S. Voters think the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe the government does not have that consent."
As my friend says, "I resemble that remark."