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S&P Downgrades US to AA+, Michele Bachmann to F

Last updated on 2011.08.14

If you take Standard & Poor's' (Standard & Poor's's? and how do you form that possessive?) downgrade of the United States' (ah, apostrophes!) credit rating seriously, if you see it as reason to vote out President Barack Obama or any other politician, then you should also take S&P's rationale for the downgrade as reason to write off Michele Bachmann as a serious Presidential contender.

The Washington Post's Greg Sargent juxtaposes Bachmann's typical fantasy world with the S&P's reality. First Bachmann, in last night's GOP debate:

"I think we just heard from Standard & Poor's. When they dropped — when they dropped our credit rating, what they said is, we don't have an ability to repay our debt. That's what the final word was from them.

"I was proved right in my position: We should not have raised the debt ceiling. And instead, we should have cut government spending, which was not done. And then we needed to get — get our spending priorities in order."

Then, today, S&P:

Without specifically mentioning Republicans, S&P senior director Joydeep Mukherji said the stability and effectiveness of American political institutions were undermined by the fact that "people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default," Mukherji said.

"That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable," he added. "This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns."

Not common amongst AAA sovereigns... gee, I guess if you want an uncommon President, you could elect Michele Bachmann. But you'd also be electing a woman who would drive the economy into the ground out of ignorance or willful deceptiveness. Bachmann fails a basic test on grasp of fiscal reality.

But maybe the F really goes to Bachmann's husband, to whom she has vowed her submissiveness. Bachmann can't explain that, either, so it's hard to tell.

Update 2011.08.14 07:15 CDT: NYT's Charles M. Blow dismisses the rest of the Republican field for its impractical ideological absolutism: thing that I didn't miss was the moment when all the candidates raised their hands, confirming that they felt so strongly about not raising taxes that they would all walk away from a hypothetical deficit-reduction deal that was as extreme as 10 parts spending cuts to one part tax increases.

That moment should tell every voter in America everything about this current crop of Know-Nothings — no person who would take such a stance is fit to be president of the United States or any developed country [Charles M. Blow, "Genuflecting to the Tea Party," New York Times, 2011.08.12].


  1. Steve Sibson 2011.08.12


    I am very disappointed in this post. Default did not have to occur. If that was true, then S&P should have lowered the rating much further. If you can't service your debt without more debt, then you are broke.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.08.13

    Steve, I don't see how default doesn't occur without raising the debt ceiling... unless you seriously think that stopping all other federal expenditures cold was a good idea. That's the unrealistic wrecking-ball approach libertarian dreamers were hoping for. They'd have regretted it if it had happened.

    Again, the debt ceiling is an absurd artifice with no connection to fiscal reality. No one has shown me how capping the debt at $14T or any other figure corresponds to an actual measure of how much debt the wealthiest nation in the world can actually carry. We're spending more than we're taking in, and we do need to change that in the long-term, but we're not broke.

    And people who pay their bills are able to take on more debt without harming their credit rating all that much. The world knows the U.S. isn't going to skip town. The world bought all sorts of T-bills this week.

  3. Steve Sibson 2011.08.15

    "unless you seriously think that stopping all other federal expenditures"

    The debt ceiling did not stop "all" federal expenditures. That is a very serious misrepresentation, if not an out right lie.

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