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8/8/11

It's OK, America. My Credit Isn't Perfect Either

...but you don't see me yelling at Transamerica, blaming them for my faults, do you?

As you know, the US has had their credit rating downgraded from AAA to AA+ by Standard & Poor's, one of the agencies that monitors international lending.  This was done because of the very public (and very ugly) debate in our government, whether or not to raise the debt ceiling, raise taxes, cut spending (and to what), etc.  This was very much a "red vs blue" battle, and the world took notice.

...and US Citizens suffered because of it.

So who's to blame?

Republicans?

Democrats?

Obama?

The Tea Party?

How about "All of the above?"

Thanks to the rise of talk shows, pundits and bloggers like Rush Limbaugh, Arianna Huffington and Glenn Beck,  US Citizens have become more and more angry with "the other side."  Tensions were high in the 90's, but boiled over following the Bush/Gore election.  The country was divided 50/50, and the poll numbers proved that.  Even if Gore had won, 50% of the country would have been up in arms, and outraged by the result.

The 20th century saw the US becoming more and more polarized.  By the dawn of the 21st century, we were being ripped apart by partisan politics.

Over the last 10-12 years, we have been becoming economically weaker and weaker.  The softening of the dollar, coupled with a housing market crash, government spending increasing yet taxes are being cut, and multiple wars took a toll on Uncle Sam's checkbook.  We received tax cuts and stimulus breaks galore under the W administration, yet programs like Medicare Part D were being launched, which cost over $100 Billion annually to fund.  In short (Checkbook balancing 101 here...) we were taking in less money and spending more.

China has recently commented on America's current situation, and I couldn't agree more with the Chinese.  Simply put, they told the US to "cure its addiction to debt" and "learn to live within your means."  Sound advice.  One any financial analyst would tell a person like me.

I'm currently renting a house.  I'd like to buy one soon.  What do I have to do?  Have a good credit rating.  I need to pay my bills on time, keep a livable debt-to-income ratio, and show lenders that I am a good investment.  Why should the government be any different?  Why are we not judged on a debt-to-income ratio?  If we were, this country's credit rating would be abysmal.  Maybe that's what it would take to get government back in check and get politicians to put some squabbles aside and get shit done?

Sorry, congress.  Finger pointing doesn't strengthen a government.  And with the rest of the world watching (you're doing it in a public forum, you idiots...) you're just making the US look even more out of control.

Can be purchased as a t-shirt here
These current times make me miss the days of Clinton and Reagan.  Tax rates were higher, yes.  But job growth was strong, the economy wasn't drowning in its own filth, and politicians actually knew how to compromise.  There were problems with both administrations, and neither President was perfect, but you know what?  Shit got done.

We need another Clinton in the White House.  Someone who can make congress mellow out and work together.  Someone who bangs all the interns, keeps dissident countries in check, and who will get the legislative branch stoned off their ass.

This country needs a pimp.  Someone with a strong pimp hand to keep us in check.  Someone that walks into congress and says "Do I need to slap a bitch?"

Oh, and term limits on congressmen (as suggested by Q) wouldn't be bad either.  Too many of these politicians (both sides) have grown complacent and/or are in bed with too many corporations/lobbyists.

Spending.  WTF.  Our tax dollar is being wasted in so many ways it's not funny.  A great post to read is from Gucci Mama about cutting down spending to avoid raising taxes.  (quote from her article:  "Currently the government borrows forty cents for every dollar it spends."  I believe it, and that fucking sucks...)  A few good points, and well worth the read.  Do I agree with everything?  No, but I don't agree 100% on either side's stance.  So there....

For the voters that voted Obama, looking for change:  This is how you do it.  Hit the reset button on the US government.  Got some fresh faces in DC, and keep it fresh.  If a President is limited to 8 years, let's do that across the board.

After all... old dogs and new tricks... I think it's time to put Old Yeller down...
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50 witty retorts:

A Beer for the Shower said...

China tells America to live within its means.

America responds by saying, but that's the American way! And then proceeds to sell a family that makes $30,000 a year a $250,000 house.

I love this country.

Zombie said...

Sigh... if only we had bill back. lol

my day in a sentence said...

Who knew we were gonna miss the Clinton years... :S

Random Girl said...

A very logical and fair assessment, well done. As for who's to blame? I agree that it's across the board and really doesn't even matter right now because the bottom line is it just needs fixed. Speak on!

Al Penwasser said...

I'll be back. But, for right now, I wanted to let you know I selected you to pontificate on underwear.

Bouncin' Barb said...

You are one of the only bloggers I know that acknowledges the good way of living when Clinton was in office. We had jobs, people spent money, things were good. We cannot deny that. Great post.

Autumnforest said...

So, if we continue the theme of comparing America's credit rating to personal credit rating, I can now classify Iraq and Afghanistan as child support? hee hee Yeah,it's crazy and one thing about the world is everything cycles. We saw the happy money times of the 80s and the recession nowadays just like in the 70s. Nothing new, rather predictable. Hopefully, we step away from being the automaker leaders of the world and become the leader in green technology so we can go on to the next phase of prosperity and jobs.

The Simple Dude said...

I am so incredibly sick of the morons we elected to run our country.

Because of their idiocy our credit rating dropped, which probably was deserved. And my stocks are all in the toilet, which really pisses me off.

SD
TheSimpleDude.com

Insomniac #4 said...

I miss the Clinton years, and I'm still scratching my head as to how America fell under Obama's spell in '08.

This never would have happened if the Dems picked Hillary. That's all I'm saying.

Not the Hero said...

I love Americans, they are generally a good lot of people.

However, your country does have a rather large portion of idiots that have gone around and ruined it for everyone.

America is now the really big kid from the trailer park. You know he is broke, you know he can kick your ass, so the best thing to do is avoid him because if he catches you he is going to steal your lunch money. We all saw what 'Merica did to the foreign kids from the desert. They are going to need therapy for years.

iNews said...

Interesting post, I like your blog!
+Follow

Sinclair said...

I am seriously considering getting that Clinton T-shirt. It made me smirk.

Gucci Mama said...

Really? It's the fault of "all of the above"? Not the democrats who haven't passed a budget in 830 days? Even when they had a super majority? It's not the fault of President Downgrade who refuses to do anything but engage in class warfare?

The simple reality is that had Cut, Cap, and Balance passed, the downgrade wouldn't have happened. And why didn't it pass? Could it be the democrats who trip over themselves to demonize the opposition (calling conservatives terrorists and airing commercials of grandma diving off a cliff in her wheelchair come to mind) but can't be bothered to come up with any solution at all?

Hmm.

2012 cannot come fast enough.

Lost.in.Idaho said...

@Gucci: Ok first, just because I HAVE to see it, can you send me the link of gramma taking a header down a cliff? I'm sure it's a propaganda piece, but I could use a laugh...

I still stand by what I said. Yes, Dems have had a majority for the beginning of the term, but it's not just about Right v Left anymore. We seem to have sub-parties now, with more extreme Liberals on the left and Tea Partiers on the right. Even when Boehner told rank and file republicans to "get their ass in line" to vote for his bill, a good number of Tea Partiers scoffed at him.

When the dems propose anything, the republicans shoot it down. When republicans pitch anything, dems refuse to catch. Even if you can get GOP'ers and TP'ers to agree (which seems rare) you then have to deal with the traditional left.

Boehner had to calm down his side when proposing anything, just to make sure he had the support of his own party. Same with Obama on the left. We are no longer a nation of compromise. We no longer talk it out until we can find a mutually beneficial deal. Now it's polarization and name-calling.

I wish I was blogging in 2006. I said to my social circles "whomever is president in 2008 will get nothing done. We're too deep in the rabbit hole." I stick by this. In an ideal situation, Obama could have been an entirely different President. But even is McCain won in 08, he'd still be mucking through a lot of shit. The exact same shit? Maybe, maybe not. But shit nonetheless.

I'm calling it out here. No matter who wins the elections in 2012, even 2016, we are not going to see progress and positive growth in the US until 2020. We have dug ourselves in a deep hole over the past 12ish years, and digging our way out doesn't work.

So yeah. All sides. This isn't the playground. "Your mom" jokes and fingerpointing is juvenile. Once both sides can realize this, and act like adults, I'll have faith in this country once more.

Leila said...

I doubt the finger pointing and polarization by political officials has an ounce of sincerity. When bad shit happens, putting blame keeps a diversion on things. Why not make it easier for the culpable? Let's BUY into their arguments and what-not. Was it you who called the political arena a wrestling match? That's such a good analogy! This mob mentality has made American dumber than complacent jackals they were 20 years ago.

Whoever thought deficit spending was a good idea needs a good bitch slap though lol

Gucci Mama said...

I'll see if I can find you a link; I'm sure it's on youtube somewhere.

The fact is, things started to slide rapidly downhill as soon as democrats took control on the Hill when Bush was still in office.

The democrats didn't do anything even when republicans were absolutely powerless to stop them. 830 days without a budget. Republicans tried to make it happen; democrats didn't. Republicans put forth more than one solution, democrats tried to convince the public we conservatives want to "kill grandma". It's a joke.

Conservatives on the Hill are not perfect, not by a long shot, but at least they're trying to find solutions instead of engaging in class warfare which is all the liberals seem to be capable of.

History shows us that liberal fiscal policy fails time after time after time.

Now, for the first time in history, President Downgrade and the Party of Downgrade has created unprecedented destruction. A return to Reagan-esque fiscal policy is the ONLY way to get things back on track. We return to that and we can turn this around much quicker than by 2020. Reagan started turning around the Carter disaster in two years!

Gucci Mama said...

Here's the ad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnnaeOHXFyI

J.Day said...

I say they need to tossed out on their asses and we can start over. If that batch acts like children, too, then they get tossed out on their asses. I'm so sick of hearing how congress is a bunch of babies. All they're missing is the damned finger paint.

Excellent post!

Mama Spaghetti said...

I'm so with you living within your means. I don't understand the "addiction to debt" on so many levels...from the federal government all the way down to just about everyone I know. We live in an era of instant gratification, and it's caused us all to lose a grip on reality.

There used to be a time when you could walk into a car dealer and get a BETTER deal by paying cash. Nowadays, they just see a cash buyer as someone who won't be paying them interest.

As someone who is VERY financially conservative in my own life, it's frustrating on many levels.

MRanthrope said...

most Democrats and Republicans in office are just corporate prostitutes who will do anything (re: ANYTHING) to stay in office.

The difference between the two? Republicans are usually assholes who will defend their constituents come hell or high water (the wealthy elites).
Democrats are total pussies who claim to care about their constituents (the poor/working class) yet cave in for just about everything that might make their lives better.


I grew up in the 90's with Clinton in the WHite House. I was too young to understand the specifics of government and his policies but from my remembrance, my family and the entire nation had things pretty good back then. Now....we and just about everyone else in America who isn't reaping the benefits of the Bush Tax cuts ( filthy rich) are fucked. =/

end rant.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Dou you want us Brits to come back and take over again? We've forgiven you for the revolution.

The Simple Dude said...

@Gucci: Methinks you've been watching too much Fox News. Brandon is right on this one, both sides are to blame - and that's coming from a guy (me) who generally leans to the left. I can fully admit that my side played a part in this mess, why can't you admit yours did too?

Don't forget it was a Republican president that rushed us into a 10+ year war - seems to me that has cost our country a couple bucks.

SD

Lost.in.Idaho said...

I saw this on a message board and laughed. Granted, it's oversimplifying...

>Democrats:
"We want to increase revenue!"

>Republicans:
"No! We want to cut spending!"

>Democrats:
"Okay, let's compromise...we'll cut spending a bit and increase revenue a bit. Problem solved!"

>Republicans:
"NO! NO NO NO! ONLY CUT SPENDING! NO NO NO! WE CANNOT COMPROMISE! OUR PLAN IS THE ONLY PLAN THAT WILL WORK! WE WILL HOLD THIS ECONOMY HOSTAGE UNTIL WE GET OUR WAY!"

>Democrats:
"Wtf bro? Shit it's the final hour, I guess we should just agree with them..."

>Economy:
"I'm gonna die now, k?"

>Republicans:
"Democrats' fault."

What made me laugh was watching CNN after the legislation passed. Pundits from both sides saw this as a Tea Party win, if anything. TP'ers were going "Fuck yeah, we got our way." S&P drops our rating, and instantly it's outrage on both sides. Left blaming right, and vice versa.

Gucci, I agree with you on some points and disagree on some points. The stance I'm taking seems to make the most sense to me. I think, if Conservatives want to be taken seriously in 2012 and future elections, they need to weed out their ranks.

The far left, compared to the mainstream left, is a little kooky. The far right, however is bananas when compared to normal conservatives. And right now it's the Kooky Conservatives that are running the show. Bachman is getting more and more street cred, when you can see an emptiness in her eyes. Her and Rick Perry think that God is going to solve America's woes, and fire & brimstone await for any that oppose them. Boehner spits in the face of the opposition, and then wonders why they don't want to play ball.

I think both sides are pretty borked right now, but the Right more than the Left is tearing itself apart...

Again, let me use a big broad brushstroke. Let's just wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a brand new corps of legislators. Wipe away and rebuild the entire branch. Not going to happen, but it would be fun...

Gucci Mama said...

@ SD - It has nothing to do with Fox News. It has to do with living in reality.

It's undeniable that historically liberal fiscal policy has always failed and conservative fiscal policy has always been successful.

Do you know what percentage the defense budget is of the GDP? No? FOUR. Four per cent. During the Bush years it hovered around 3.5%. Do you know what it was during WWII? TEN. You cannot blame this on defense spending. You can, however, blame a congress controlled by liberals who allowed spending to spiral out of control while simultaneously refusing to propose a budget for 830 days and counting.

You cannot deny that your pal President Downgrade lost our AAA credit rating for the first time in history because of his out of control, wasteful, unprecedented spending.

It is impossible to spend and borrow your way out of debt. I cannot imagine why liberals don't understand that. In fact, it's so simple I have to believe they do understand that; they just choose to continue in wanton recklessness.

Congratulations, New Left. You've finally enabled us to catch up with Europe in the race toward self destruction.

Gucci Mama said...

@ Idaho - You're right that conservatives have a lot of weeding to do. The RINOs are a huge part of the problem.

To say that Bachman has "emptiness" behind her eyes and that she thinks God will solve the nation's problems, however, is marginalizing and insulting. So she has a faith? Big deal. That doesn't render her ineffective.

Here's the thing. There will always be people who hate themselves enough to vote for democrats. Unfortunately, even I in all my brilliance can't change that. But you mark my words; there will be a major, major shift in Washington soon because people are rapidly tiring of the posturing, empty promises, and obviously unsustainable utopian dreams the current "leadership" clings to even in the face of its clear and obvious failure.

Lost.in.Idaho said...

I know, oversimplifying again, but typing 10,000 words on this subject is just going to be too much. Probably easy to do, but too much. Bachman just plain scares me. The stances she has taken over the past few years shows me she'd make a bad president.

I like the TP's approach in saying "Fuck you" to both sides and doing their own thing, but I just don't like their views. Can we get centric-leaning lefties and righties to break away and become the "Like-Minded" party? I'd love that. They'd have my vote.

And just to throw it out there, my first election voting was the 2000 presidency. I voted McCain in the primaries (anyone but another Bush) and Gore in the General Election (again, tough call, but ANYONE but Bush). I voted Bush in 2004 (hated to do so, but Kerry sucked. ) and Obama in 2008 (McCain would have been good in 2000, but too close to necrotic now. Palin was a scary replacement.)

How am I going to vote in 2012? I don't know yet. If I had to pick a Conservative to stand behind, I'd pick a centric choice like Gary Johnson. He has a change to get both sides under his belt enough to get shit done. Most other Republican candidates are just going to keep things polarized.

I want someone who can unify this nation, and work on rebuilding us into the technological and economic pioneer we once were. Right now, I don't see that type of person out there...

Bio - Gary Johnson: The former Libertarian Republican Governor does not attend church, is pro-choice, anti-big government, pro-immigration, an outspoken critic of the war on drugs and favors legalizing marijuana. He led New Mexico for eight years, during which time the state saw no tax increase, and
he vetoed over 750 separate pieces of legislation to keep the government from growing. However, his views on civil liberties, foreign policy and drugs may be difficult for many conservatives to
reconcile with.

Gucci Mama said...

So, you have a problem with Michele Bachman going to church but not Obama's close association with Jeremiah Wright, one of the most racist, anti-American "preachers" in modern history? Wow. Interesting.

Look, I like Bachman but I don't think she can win. I love love LOVE Herman Cain, but I very much doubt he can with either. Quite frankly, my one horned goat would be a better figure head than President Downgrade, but right now I'm a Pawlenty supporter.

It doesn't matter to me where or if they go to church (as long as it's not headed by someone who preaches things like "goddamn America") or really where they stand on social issues. Sure, there are social things I feel strongly about - I can never get behind sucking live babies from hostile wombs piece by piece for the simple sake of convenience, for example - but issues like these are going to be solved in our lifetime, I don't think. And these are not issues that necessarily affect most people's everyday lives. What matters, and what politicians must focus on, is the economy.

Anyone who has a basic understanding of American history knows who's Right on fiscal policy. So I will support which ever viable candidate who will foster a return to fiscal sanity in this country.

meandmythinkingcap said...

Actually very good point and a eye-opener post.

Gucci Mama said...

*are not going to be solved in our lifetime, I meant. God.

Lost.in.Idaho said...

I think it's more that I believe in a separation of church and state, and there are too many candidates out there that have faith-driven political views.

I like a president who goes to church on Sundays, and that's that. Keep the church out of the white house, and the white house out of the church. Palin didn't get that, and derailed McCain. Bachman is starting to get it, but it may be too little too late.

Money-wise, I'm with you. I want a president that can get us back into financial stability.

I'd like to see us get there by getting legislation passed reducing federal spending, putting more regulations in the hands of the states, and HOPEFULLY passing a "balanced budget act" in the near future. We should be at break-even or at a surplus at all times, so we can start minimizing our debt. Spending more than we make doesn't work, so spend less or make more. If one isn't feasible, than you're left with only one other option.

I'm tired of being dependent on other countries. I'm tired of owing so much money to China that they can nearly buy and sell us. I'm tired of importing more than I export. I want to be in a Superpower again.

Gucci Mama said...

I agree with everything you just said.

I don't believe that a candidate's faith is relevant or a separation issue, but everything else was spot on.

Now publish the comment where I fixed my damn typo! ;-)

Lost.in.Idaho said...

Haha, f5 faster, dammit!

If I were to run for office, that would be my stance. My problem is I can't put a D or an R behind my name because I agree with some from both sides, but I also think that some from both sides are complete asshats.

Asshats in different ways, but asshats nonetheless.

I believe in compromise. I believe in minimal regulation. I believe in minimal spending. But I also believe in taxes. Taxes to build roads, improve our schools, bolster our hospitals (not HMO's, big difference here...). Our tax dollar is being wasted in too many ways. If we can fix that, we can reduce spending. If we're in too deep, taxes have to be raised. I'd prefer the former, but that would mean a lot of politicians (both sides... both sides...) pissing off their lobbyist friends. I don't see that happening.

So what to do? (hypothetical)

Gucci Mama said...

It's a myth that taxes have to be raised in order to climb out of this mess.

Spending must be cut and capped. Federal government must be stripped of a bunch of the stranglehold of power it currently has and that power must be returned to the states.

Entitlement spending needs to be drastically reduced. Waste needs to be eliminated as much as possible.

It's actually quite simple.

I wrote a brilliant piece a few weeks ago on how to balance the budget very quickly without raising taxes one bit.

http://www.mamastillwearsgucci.com/2011/06/shut-your-lips-and-learn-liberalman.html

You're welcome.

The Reckmonster said...

Great post, Idahomie. I think that the biggest problem in America right now is the excessive case of hubris some folks seem to suffer from. Thinking THEIR way is the ONLY way. I think this is a nation filled with so many bright and brilliant people - and it doesn't have to be just ONE person (or party) who is right. But, some people refuse to concede and admit when they're wrong. And they also REFUSE to acknowledge that we all exist in this country with different opinions. Just because we believe different things doesn't make me right and you wrong, or vice versa. And attacking someone else just because their viewpoint is different, well, that's just plain arrogant and completely underscores the hubris reference. And BTW, I totally agree...I loved Bill. I don't care who was giving him BJ's and I don't care if he went to church or not. All I know is that life was good during his administration. No deficit. Business booming. And damn if we didn't have some serious entertainment in the White House. Good times, man...good times.

Smart Ass Sara said...

Well let me tell you- Bachmann and Pawlenty scare the crap out of me. Mostly because in my old job I got the displeasure with working under a Pawlenty administration in Minnesota and that's not a place this country wants to be.

And quite honestly, the fact that our credit rating is down is hopefully a wake up call that the finger pointing and Dem vs Rep battle isn't working.

And another thing? If you're wealthy, you SHOULD be paying more taxes. You can't expect those of us barely making it as your piss on employees to foot your bills.

Squiglet said...

Completely agree with you, I think it is a bit ridiculous that people can stay in such a position of power for so long. Forced change is good, keeps thing mixed up which keeps things moving.

Gucci Mama said...

Take a peek and see which party held congressional majority during the last six of the eight Clinton years.

Hint: It rhymes with "Shmesmublican".

Gucci Mama said...

@ Smart Ass - I lived in Minnesota under Pawlenty too. He was fabulous there, especially considering what a blue state it is. Can you say "balanced budget"? I think that's EXACTLY where this country wants to be.

Guess what? The rich and the people Obama wants you to think are "rich" ($250,000 a year is NOT wealthy) DO pay the most in taxes. You've bought into the class warfare rhetoric.

Close to 50% of people in America pay ZERO income tax. I very much suspect you're one of them.

You know what I'm sick of? Being vilified for finding success and having the government reach into my pocket to fund the ridiculously out of control entitlements given to people who won't work.

I'm not saying you're one of those people, but don't jump on the "tax the rich" bandwagon when you have nothing to back it up beyond empty talking points.

We cannot be taxed into prosperity. It has NEVER worked and it never will. If you think slapping more taxes on job creators will stimulate the economy, you need to take a serious look at first a history book and then an econ 101 text.

This Guy said...

The world we live right? I too miss the Clinton days. Although I wasn't old enough to vote yet, I didn't hear too much complaining except for the whole sex thing. . although it wasn't sex. Why don't they look into his old books and take some notes!

Gucci Mama said...

Wahoo! Thanks for the link, baby.

Red Shoes said...

I liked Clinton... he knew what the voters wanted, and went about making it happen... even with a Republican controlled House and Senate, Bill came out smelling like a rose!!

Great commentary!!

~shoes~

Red Shoes said...

Gucci Mama said: "The democrats didn't do anything even when republicans were absolutely powerless to stop them. 830 days without a budget."

This isn't exactly true... they passed Obama Care and tons of spending measures... Bush was spending approximately $1.5 B per day... the current President is spending about $4.3 B.

~shoes~

Al Penwasser said...

Outstanding post! I couldn't agree more. Chock full of thoughtful and insightful commentary. You're much more than a pretty face.

Al Penwasser said...

The Congress was packed with self-serving weasels during the Revolution, too. The more things change......

I'm not sure that makes me feel better, though.

Gucci Mama said...

Shoes - Good point; of course the democrats did a ton of horrible, destructive things when they controlled everything. But they never passed a budget.

Missed you, by the way; glad to see you around!

Mynx said...

Great post Brandon and the comments have been a wonderful debate.
Usually I avoid posts from Bloggers about Politics as they really don't interest me. However I read all of this one and just wanted to say that it doesn't matter the country, politicians need to put personal agendas aside and learn to work together to solve the issues.
They call our Opposition Leader "Dr No" as that is all he seems to do. Say no and offer no alternative solution.
Just hope you guys sort out your credit stuff because it is affecting the world

Thank, Q said...

Excellent post! I couldn't have said it better myself. The comments are great, too! The media has been successful in turning the citizens against one another while the Dems and Repubs rob us blind. They don't suffer. They don't feel the burn. Even sports league commissioners waive their salaries until agreements are reached in lockouts. Once Congress shows that they are serious about getting the country together, then I'll be onboard with supporting them. Waive your salaries and get the people's attention.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

Anonymous said...

I would love to use your graphic of the elephant and donkey boxing, on my website. Where did you find it and am I allowed to use it? thanks!

Brandon Lostinidaho said...

Go ahead and use it. I only ask for a link-back to the source (me) on the picture.

Thanks for asking!

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