By James H. Fitzgerald
Dear Mr. President,
I would like to humbly offer my response to your comments issued August 8th 2011, regarding the S&P downgrade of the nation’s credit rating. I am no economist. I have a bachelor’s degree in History from a reputable university. I do not present this information to impress you with my qualifications. On the contrary, I highlight my lack of advanced academic achievement to emphasize my commonality with the bulk of the population you govern now and wish to continue governing.
The American people are not as dull and dim-witted as your opening remarks suggest, sir. Your “smartest man in the room” routine fell flat Monday, when you choose to misrepresent public, easily searched statements from S&P. The attempt to blame the downgrade almost entirely on political “wrangling” is transparent deflection and laughably absurd. A quick internet search on the topic, possible by anyone with internet access, yielded an interesting result.
USA Today reports S&P maintains the downgrade to a AA+ rating, despite Treasury Dept. protests, because of the “current level of debt, the trajectory of debt as a share of the economy, and the lack of apparent willingness of elected officials as a group to deal with the U.S. medium term fiscal outlook.” The article also mentions S&P had been warning the government since April that a downgrade was imminent, if deficit spending was not reduced by $4T over 10 years.
As far as I am aware, USA Today is not considered a Conservative or “Tea Party” slanted news source. In fact, USA Today is one of the few newspapers available and read from coast to coast. This article was released on Saturday and was, thus, old news. Mr. President, when you were running for office, your lies were eloquent and well-crafted. Now they are crude and desperate.
After distorting the cause of the S&P downgrade, you immediately moved to dismiss it as unimportant. While the stock market is crashing around us, you boldly declare that Warren Buffet’s faith in US credit is enough to ignore S&P and their ratings.
Then you switch back to crisis mode to blame the downgrade on Conservatives and the Tea Party. You never mention them by name, but your meaning is clear. My question, Mr. President, is why did you not instruct your party to raise it when you had the majority in Congress?
You claim you have warned a prolonged battle over the debt would have a negative result. Oh, that’s right. Harry Reid punted, so Republicans would take part of the blame. You and your party planned on creating a crisis, freaking out the population and then blaming your political opponents when it all went pear shaped.
You mentioned we have maximized our cuts to defense and domestic spending. How is that possible? The yearly cuts outlined in the deal amount to about $240B in cuts per year for ten years. 2010 discretionary spending was $660B and defense spending was $689B. This means without cutting defense, we still spend over $400B into deficit every year for projects in member’s districts, stimulus spending and other activities that have not produced jobs. I suspect spending has returned many members back to Congress biannually, but I remain skeptical it has done any good for the nation.
Mr, President, more “fair share” tax talk? I recall you singing a similar tune not too long ago before you signed the extension of the Bush tax cuts. What is this fair share? Do you determine what is fair? Does a Congressional Super Committee determine what is fair? I agree that the richest 2 percent do not pay their fair share. Households making $250k per year comprise 2 percent of the population earn 24.1 percent of the nation’s income and pay 43.6 percent of all income takes. Those are 2008 numbers, but it seems to me the “rich” need an almost 50 percent tax decrease in order to pay their “fair share.” Or perhaps, Mr. President, you are suggesting we punish the successful among us by using them as cash cows for your programs? Or are you are using the “rich” as a target to foment class warfare for your own political gain?
Modest reforms to Medicare, Mr. President? I thought your flag-ship, trillion-dollar Obamacare program was supposed to save Medicare $120B over 5 years? Was that not enough?
Mr. President, I agree with you there are many smart people with plans to solve our long-term debt problems. I also agree there are ways of reducing our deficit without damaging our economic growth. The best plan is to stop spending so much money when the country is broke. Sadly, you are too philosophically rigid to grasp the obvious.
Many have criticized you for not having a plan. They have said and written unkind things about you for speaking about plans in vague terms, criticizing the plans of others and having nothing substantive to add to the debate. I find your lack of plan to be reassuring, and I would encourage you to maintain your course. Your last plans regarding the economy and our health care system were very expensive, very embarrassing failures.
Sir, you are absolutely right the long-term solution to our debt problem is a matter of political will. The problem is drawing lines in the sand and putting adherence to policy and party and self interest over the best interests of the nation. If I did not know you were referring to Conservatives, I would interpret this as a major breakthrough. You have put your self interest and the interests of the Democratic Party above the well being of the nation. If you were to remove yourself from the equation, we would have long-term debt reform. It is your illogical insistence more Federal spending is required to save the economy that is causing our financial woes. You have spent trillions of dollars and the economy is worse than when you found it.
Here we are mere days after you signed the bill, we have been downgraded by S&P and the market takes a dive. Mr. President, you willfully created a crisis, manipulated the American people, through fear, to give you more money to spend, and now the source of that fear has become reality.
You might say, Mr. President, you and your Party have been hoisted by your own petard. You will be remembered as the President who destroyed our credibility, sank the stock market and lost the faith of the nation in one week.
Good Night and God Bless America.