American Idiots: How Washington is destroying the economy
What’s ailing us? It’s not just unemployment. It’s not just Europe’s debt woes. And, no, it’s not Wall Street this time. It’s the takeover of the economic debate by fanatics who are up to no good. Fix that — and maybe you fix the economy.
By Allan Sloan
What the hell is going on?
Standard & Poor’s, the bond-rating agency, downgrades the U.S., and the world trembles. The markets here go nuts on the first trading day after the downgrade, losing $1 trillion in value. European Union finance chiefs are playing Whac-a-Mole with members’ debt problems. And England … England was literally burning.
Only three short years ago we were all terrified when our financial system was on the brink of disaster afterLehman Brothers went broke in September of 2008. Those scary times seemed to have disappeared in the spring of 2009. But now those fears are back — and things are even scarier, the stock market’s “green” days notwithstanding.
Our current mess is different from the Lehman-related horror because it stems primarily from politics, not economics. The previous fear-fest came about because Lehman’s bankruptcy disrupted financial markets in unanticipated ways. Today’s crisis was completely avoidable. You can blame it directly on the fools who brought our country to the brink of defaulting on its debts in the name of saving us from … I’m not sure what. Yes, the Tea Party types bear primary responsibility — but they couldn’t have done it without the cowardice and incompetence of the Obama administration, which let things get way out of hand. This whole fiasco just enrages me. And it ought to enrage anyone who wants the U.S. to act like a real country rather than some third-rate failed state run by fanatical factions that hate one another.
So why is today scarier than 2008-09? Because this time not only have we got troubled financial institutions to deal with, but we have serious, substantial countries facing possible default on their debts. Including, heaven help us, the U.S.