S&P’s History of Relentless Political Advocacy

By: Monday August 8, 2011 7:00 am

If the rating agency’s entire argument was that the political system showed itself to be “less stable, less effective, and less predictable” during the debt limit debate, and that this failure of policymaking and institutional capability increases the chances of default, I don’t have much to argue about that. But, there’s a policy response for that. S&P could do exactly what Moody’s did and call for the debt limit to be extinguished, on the grounds that the legislative branch shouldn’t get to vote twice on funding, once when they appropriate it and another time when they decide whether or not the bill should be paid. If they really wanted to exert some influence on behalf of bondholders, they could have said that they would downgrade US debt further if the debt limit isn’t abolished within 90 days. Since the brinksmanship over the debt limit constitutes the biggest – perhaps the only – threat to paying off US sovereign debt, then the appropriate action for entities judging creditworthiness is to ask that the country in question eliminate the arcane and also dangerous practice.

But that’s not S&P’s only rationale.


Flashy GOP House Fundraiser Party Stars LeAnn Rimes, Nets $59 per ‘Critter

By: Saturday April 16, 2011 4:00 pm

Spending a quarter of a million dollars to make a big splash with their first DC fundraiser, freshman California Congressman Jeff Denham and ten other fellow newbies managed to bring in a major haul: each of the eleven newly minted GOP ‘Critters will receive exactly $59.09 in campaign funds for his first re-election campaign.

Political Dynamics on Deficits All Moving To the Right

By: Wednesday April 13, 2011 4:40 pm

One thing many people aren’t factoring into this budget debate is the fact that it will be happening in a Presidential election season. The more established GOP candidates have begun to enter the race, and they will need to get votes from conservative backers. Therefore they will push the public conversation increasingly to the right.

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Gunning for Austerity

By: Saturday December 11, 2010 5:50 pm

This is the gambit that Republicans have worked for a generation – make taxes so low and deficits so burdensome that pressure builds to slash spending. They claim that tax cuts shouldn’t be counted as part of the deficit but that any spending must be offset or eliminated. It doesn’t have to make sense. Because it’s working.

Pete Peterson’s Purchase of Cat Food Commission, Media Pays Off

By: Thursday November 11, 2010 6:00 pm

I wanted to highlight something about the Cat Food Commission to permanently shrink government, something we’ve all known about, but which hasn’t been laid out in specific detail in a while. This Presidential commission has been borrowing paid staffers from groups that are ideologically committed to destroying the social safety net in America. This hasn’t been well-reported in the traditional media until today.

Deficit Peacocks on Parade

By: Wednesday July 14, 2010 6:00 pm

It’s summer in an election year, and that’s the time for the deficit peacocks to come out of hibernation and strut their feathers, letting everyone know that they care – very much! – about deficits. This is a bipartisan phenomenon. On one side of the aisle, Republicans want to freeze discretionary spending, borrowing an idea from the other side of the aisle, from Claire McCaskill (D-MO). She at least tried to sound reasonably sane, but the impact of her preferred policy would be pretty negative.

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