For those of us lamenting the results of the recent S&P downgrade, I think we should try to understand the basis for this downgrade — aside from the $2 trillion math error. I think the best way to try to review their rationale is to read S&P’s actual report.

The following are excerpts from that report:  

• “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.”

• “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed.” 

•  “Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. 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.”

I believe these facts highlight the ideology and destructive power of the tea party.

I blame President Barack Obama for not presenting a case strong enough to offset the tea party’s influence, but it must be difficult to negotiate with folks that think the earth is 6,000 years old, gays can be “cured” by prayer, etc. 

Charles R. Burns Jr.


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