Thursday, August 4, 2011
The U.S. might as well have defaulted.
Regardless of where you stand politically, the deal to raise the federal debt limit came too late for the U.S. to achieve its main objective, avoiding the downgrading of debt issued by the U.S. Treasury that would have followed a default.
“The political and financial world surely thinks less of us now, and one demonstration of that will likely be a downgrading of the credit rating of the U.S., probably imposed in the next few months,” writes John Keefe of CBS’s Moneywatch. “The net result will be higher interest rates on U.S. government debt, which is likely to bleed through ultimately to higher costs for all sorts of other interest rates.”
The buzz on Wall Street says that Standard & Poor’s will soon downgrade T-Notes from a sterling “AAA” either to “AA+” or “AA,” the same as Slovakia. That’s exactly what would have happened had there been a default.
It is true: Our leaders are idiots.
“I have a home in Nevada that I haven’t seen in months,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate. “My pomegranate trees are, I’m told, blossoming.” Too bad. He missed his pretty flowers for nothing.
Liberals got rolled. Just like on healthcare, just like on everything else.
Everything about the way this deal went down, from the initial posturing to a compromise that will make the Great Depression of 2008-? even worse, along with Congress’ total lack of concern for the hardships being faced by the 20 percent-plus of Americans who are unemployed, has people disgusted.
If any good comes out of the debt limit fiasco, it’s that this embarrassing showdown could serve as a long overdue wake-up call to liberals who still have faith in the Democratic Party. Maybe, just maybe, these ideological rubes will finally accept the obvious truth: Those corrupt corporate-backed pigs just aren’t that into us.
Like Clinton and Carter before him, Obama has sold out core liberal Democratic principles, such as fighting for the weak and poor and expanding the social safety net, as well as civil liberties. He can’t point to a single major liberal policy achievement. Heck, Obama hasn’t proposed a major liberal bill. Even so, Team Democrats will vote for Obama in 2012. Team Democrats are Democrats first, liberals last.
Real Liberals, on the other hand, have no reason to support the Dems. The debt limit deal makes this clear.
Paul Krugman, a Real Liberal and the only reason to read The New York Times op/ed page, calls the debt limit deal “a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse… and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.”
The debt ceiling debate was ridiculous from the start. The economy is at a standstill. Recent GDP numbers came in at a sub-anemic 1.9 percent, so low that the real unemployment rate of 21 percent will continue to increase. Foreclosures are emptying out whole neighborhoods.
Obama and Congressional Democrats went along with trillions in cuts, cuts that may lead to Soviet-style collapse. The Dems’ only demand was that a final agreement include tax increases on the wealthy.
In the end, the GOP got their cuts. The Dems didn’t get a cent of taxes on the rich.
OK, Real Liberals. It’s been three years. Obama never fights. When he does, it’s for conservative values, like slashing the federal budget and giving our money to millionaire bankers.
Why would you vote for him, or any Democrat, next year?
TED RALL’s most recent book is “Wake Up, You’re Liberal! How We Can Take America Back from the Right” (Soft Skull Press).