US. Credit Rating Downgraded

Posted: August 6, 2011 in Current Events, politics

Everything points to a compete dissatisfaction and disillusion with the United States and their credit ceiling fiasco.  Over 70% of the polled population are opposed.  The stock market has reacted negatively.  And now the credit rating of the country has been downgraded.  Two things are obvious and indisputable.  First, both the population and the economic community are unimpressed with the actual legislation that resulted, and second, the political circus that produced the legislation seriously shook the confidence in Congress.  The White House is disputing the numbers which led to the downgrade, but the protest is weak and silly.  The dissatisfaction with the outcome is almost universal.

What is not universal is the direction of the finger pointing.  Both the Democrats and the Republicans are pointing at each other.  Some feel that the the settlement didn’t go far enough in demanding cuts; some feel that it didn’t go far enough in generating new taxes.  The finger pointing itself demonstrates the polarity and partisanship dividing U.S. politics.  It may very well be that this partisan mess has done as much to damage U.S. economic reputation as has the actual economic problems.  Solving the economic problems in the U.S. may actually be easy compared to the challenge of healing the rift in U.S. politics and society.

The lesson for Canadians is two-fold.  Don’t allow economic policies to drift into the irresponsible landscape now inhabited by the U.S.  But more importantly, don’t allow our political system to become dominated by the same left/right political polarization and partisanship.  I’m not sure how you do that, but we clearly have an model of how not to do it.  Having politicians who are genuinely concerned with the welfare of the  country and it’s population rather than their own personal ideologies (and non-political beliefs) is probably a good start.

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