Monday, August 8, 2011

Congressman explains his vote against debt ceiling increase. Fails to mention S&P downgrade

Standard and Poor's downgraded the US credit rating due to waning confidence that the US can and will continue to meet financial obligations.  This unprecedented move spooked the confidence of investors and set in motion a major sell off in financial markets in the US and around the globe.  Hard to say when it will hit bottom.  (I say around the same time oil hits $50, just a guess)

But now comes Rep. Scott DesJarlais the Tea Party Republican from Tennessee's 4th district with a terse explanation for his no vote on the debt ceiling increase.  DesJarlais: Why I Voted Against Raising The Debt Limit    I assume he wrote this prior to the credit downgrade by Standard and Poor's because he fails to mention anything about it in the column defending his opposition to raising the debt ceiling.  As if that were a subject for another day unrelated to the debt ceiling question.   
After careful consideration and numerous conversations with my constituents, I came to the conclusion that while some of these proposals contained worthwhile measures, they all ultimately fell short of the spending cuts needed to justify giving President Obama another $2.4 trillion blank check.
First, if the congressman really thinks that increasing the debt ceiling amounts to giving President Obama a blank check, either he has a basic misunderstanding of the Constitution or he thinks we do.  But back to the point that he never mentioned the credit downgrade in the explanation for his vote.

I wonder, did DesJarlais not realize the credit downgrade was a likely outcome with Washington's dysfunctionality on full display. They boldly threatened to let the US default just to prove a point to their political opponents, the country be damned. A few more votes next time, and they could succeed. That's a big part of the S&P downgrade. There are kids driving the bus over a winding mountain pass. Or perhaps DesJarlais knew about the impending downgrade but didn't think it would spook the markets all that much. The classic, "Who could have seen that coming?" Or just maybe he knew about the impending downgrade and knew of the massive sell-off it would trigger, but still held on to the idealistic Tea Party position that got him elected.

Anyway, one of those three scenarios is true and none of them speak well of the apparent Tea Party initiative to save the ship by sinking it. The credit downgrade will cost more money to US taxpayers than they ever could have hoped to save with the dramatic negotiating tactics.  

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