Sunday, August 07, 2011

More on the debt limit debacle

The New York Times writes:
The day after Standard & Poor’s took the unprecedented step of stripping the United States government of its top credit rating, the ratings agency offered a full-throated defense of its decision, calling the bitter stand-off between President Obama and Congress over raising the debt ceiling a “debacle.” It warned that further downgrades may lie ahead.

In an unusual Saturday conference call with reporters, senior S.& P. officials insisted the ratings firm hadn’t overstepped its bounds by focusing on the political paralysis in Washington as much as fiscal policy in determining the new rating. “The debacle over the debt ceiling continued until almost the midnight hour,” said John B. Chambers, chairman of S.& P.’s sovereign ratings committee.
I am tempted to call for a plague on both their parties, since the Democrats and Republicans could not reach a compromise good for the nation, and squabbled for an unconscionable time before reaching the lame compromise that they eventually settled for.

On second thought, the Republicans were holding out against a more reasonable position held by President Obama, for a balanced approach to quickly achieve more progress on debt reduction. Failing to compromise away from a reasonable approach toward a less reasonable approach is not as reprehensible as failing to compromise by holding out for a worse alternative.

On third thought, there is blame enough for both parties, since many politicians were almost surely seeking the alternative that each thought best for his/her own political future and for the future of his/her own party rather than seeking the alternative that was best for the country.

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