Get Ready To Tumble

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & DeficitLeave a Comment

That's what the headlines are saying right now about the stock market, which opens in ten minutes (as I write this).

And why?  Because late Friday, S&P did the unthinkable: the downgraded the ratings of U.S. T-bills.

First of all, let's take this moment to note that S&P is one of the big three ratings agencies who continued to give a thumbs-up to credit default swaps, which got us into this economic crisis in the first place.

Just sayin.  Or as Reich writes:

Had S&P done its job and warned investors how much risk Wall Street was taking on, the housing and debt bubbles wouldn't have become so large – and their bursts wouldn't have brought down much of the economy. You and I and other taxpayers wouldn't have had to bail out Wall Street; millions of Americans would now be working now instead of collecting unemployment insurance; the government wouldn't have had to inject the economy with a massive stimulus to save millions of other jobs; and far more tax revenue would now be pouring into the Treasury from individuals and businesses doing better than they are now.

Secondly,  it’s worth emphasizing the extent to which the agency pointed the finger at congressional Republicans. It not only directly attributed blame to the GOP hostage strategy of the past few months, it lamented the very idea of allowing “the statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default” to “become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy,” before complaining that “the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues.”  The chairman of S&P's sovereign ratings committee freely admitted that the downgrade decision was "motivated" by the Republicans' debt-ceiling hostage strategy. A National Journal analysis concluded, “[I]t’s hard to read the S&P analysis as anything other than a blast at Republicans.”  

Yes, the same S&P analysis pressed Democrats on the need to consider entitlement changes, didn't Democrats do that?  Democrats did put entitlements on the negotiating table, only to discover that Republicans would refuse to compromise.

The downgrade, in other words, was the direct result of Republicans playing a hopelessly insane game with the full faith and credit of the United States, and then refusing to consider even a penny of tax increases on anyone at any time. 

Not that Republicans will admit this.  They are basically saying, "Well, the downgrade happened in the Obama administration.  Therefore, it is Obama's fault."  Right.  So did the recession, nimrods.

NOTE:  One minute after the bell rang and the Dow is down 212.  It'll come back up though, right?


NOTE #2:  One hour until the closing bell and the Dow is down 500.  It was down 600 earlier.


NOTE #3:  Dow closes down 632 — the fifth worst day drop in history.  Thank you, tea party, for making me work another three years before I can retire!