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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:48 pm 
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I want to add at least one more thing. I do believe that there are some things that cannot be compromised on no matter what. For me, those things are the issue of the sanctity of human life at all stages and the protection of the institution of marriage. I do consider myself a fiscal conservative and do support a Balanced Budget Amendment, the Fair Tax and do oppose a rise in tax rates. But, honestly, on the economic issue, I could see myself working with someone who disagrees with me to find some middle ground. Because with money, you can split a dollar and come up with some sort of middle ground between your proposal and their proposal. But, on the other hand, on the issue of human life, you can't have a middle ground between life and death.

I say this to say that now that many conservative leaders in Congress have shown how they will not compromise on their principles, I, as a pro-life social conservative, am looking to see them take that same approach on the issue of human life. Will they use their ultra-strong committment to principle to push for the Human Life Amendment? Or will they compromise by leaving those types of "divisive" issues along and compromise by electing wishy-washy-squishy-wishy Republican candiddates who have no clear committment to protect Human Life.

If a person is going to hold your ground even at great risk to the whole country and the economy, I want to at least see them be consistent and have that stance toward the things that really matter.

I expect to see no elected member who calls themself a fiscal and social conservative and who held out for the ideal legislation here in any way bending on the issue of the sanctity of human life, which, in my world, is much more important than even the issue of taxation. Anything less would be ... inconsistent.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:57 pm 
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melopa wrote:
If I ever got into such a situation due to totally irresponsible, immoral actions; as well as the economic stupidity exhibited by all those who a few years back were saying how sound the economy was and that deficits don't matter.....
If my clearly wrong and immoral actions led to such a predicament, and not things such as medical bills, unexpected job loss, etc...
Then my situation would be much like your scenario and you know what??
I would deserve to lose my home. Maybe the strong medicine would be what I needed
to once again behave morally and not like the Government and the minions running it.



Okay. Point taken. But let's say that the person here has the ability to borrow money in order to keep his home and avoid a very costly foreclosure and eviction. But they won't do it because they claim that it's against their principles to be so fiscally irresponsible as to borrow more money - even though it would also be pretty fiscally irresponsible to stop paying the mortgage and to get a lower credit rating.

Would you trust the judgement of the person who chooses to avoid having credit issues and missing mortgage payments but refuses to do so out of some principle? Even though missing the mortgage payment would also be a violation of that same principle? Would you want this person to be making decisions on your behalf?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:13 am 
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I'm sorry, but I cannot agree that your analogy is a fair characterization of what a large number, if not the actual majority, of the TEA Partiers are saying - as the Paul video clip above illustrates.

I cannot help but suspect that your caricature is being presented with Bachmann in mind; I know that she has said some things similar to what you are describing, but that's pretty much what I would expect from someone running for POTUS who has been blatantly characterizing themselves as the leader of a particular group of TEA Partiers in order to hold on to their support. I would not characterize her panderings as being anything more than what they are - pandering.

Based on what I've been reading & viewing on the news, I am pretty confident that Rand Paul's statements are closer to the actual heart of that movement - which (analogically speaking) consistently looks more reminiscent of we the people being forced to bail out those who bought more house than they could afford (that would be govt spending) & then ended up being foreclosed on even after the govt's bail out because they just plain couldn't afford the lifestyle they were attempting to live even when they had their credit extended out past reason (that would be on par with having our credit rating downgraded even after we raise the debt ceiing, & we can soon expect that we will no longer have the advantage of being the international currency to help support our unsustainable lifestyle as well).

I don't know what the consequences of going past Aug 2nd would really be, but it is pretty clear what the consequences of not getting the spending under control is going to be, and I have not seen anything to convince me that the negative consequences of the former are any more dire than that of the latter. We desperately need a POTUS, as well as a Congressional majority, that is ready, willing, and able to rein in the profligate spending.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:44 am 
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QuoVadisAnima wrote:
I'm sorry, but I cannot agree that your analogy is a fair characterization of what a large number, if not the actual majority, of the TEA Partiers are saying - as the Paul video clip above illustrates.


I don't think I implied that this is what most TEA party supporters are saying. I agree in general on the TEA Party aims of having a smaller government, a balanced budget, and doing so without raising the tax burden. My problem is with how certain leaders failed to balance the advocacy of these issues with the immediate need to come up with an interim solution that would avert a financial default.

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I cannot help but suspect that your caricature is being presented with Bachmann in mind; I know that she has said some things similar to what you are describing, but that's pretty much what I would expect from someone running for POTUS who has been blatantly characterizing themselves as the leader of a particular group of TEA Partiers in order to hold on to their support. I would not characterize her panderings as being anything more than what they are - pandering.


She definitely comes to mind. My main issue is her implication, made repeatedly, that it would not be a big deal if we were unable to avoid default. I guess being a Huckabee supporter, I may have gotten a bit spoiled in my expectations for politicians. I probably have grown accostomed to expecting for a politician seeking the presidency not pander and especially not potentially mislead the public about the danger of a credit default. I just could never imagine Mike doing that.

Quote:
Based on what I've been reading & viewing on the news, I am pretty confident that Rand Paul's statements are closer to the actual heart of that movement - which (analogically speaking) consistently looks more reminiscent of we the people being forced to bail out those who bought more house than they could afford (that would be govt spending) & then ended up being foreclosed on even after the govt's bail out because they just plain couldn't afford the lifestyle they were attempting to live even when they had their credit extended out past reason (that would be on par with having our credit rating downgraded even after we raise the debt ceiing, & we can soon expect that we will no longer have the advantage of being the international currency to help support our unsustainable lifestyle as well).


From what I've seen in general, I like Rand Paul. I saw him tonight on CNN. He does a better job of articulating his viewpoint than many others. Having said that, one other option for our person in this fictitious scenario other than either continuing to live an unattainable lifestyle indefinitely or to accept default is to borrow for long enough to restructure. The house can be sold and more affordable accomodations can be bought. But it won't happen overnight and it would be necessary to borrow for at least a few months until the transactions can be completed, which will lead to a lower cost of living. However, if the person's credit rating is damaged and especially if it is damaged because of missed payments, the ability to ever afford even more modest accomidations is compromised. The person either needs to do short-term borrowing until the long-term plan can be implemented or they won't be able to pay their bills. I would question the decision making of the person who has the option of trying to transition to a long term plan through short-term borrowing but thought it was a better idea to just stop paying their bills.

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I don't know what the consequences of going past Aug 2nd would really be, but it is pretty clear what the consequences of not getting the spending under control is going to be, and I have not seen anything to convince me that the negative consequences of the former are any more dire than that of the latter. We desperately need a POTUS, as well as a Congressional majority, that is ready, willing, and able to rein in the profligate spending.


The consequences of not getting our spending under control are extremely dire. If we don't get our spending under control, we will eventually have debt that is completely unmanageable and we will eventually face a dilema that is like what Greece is facing. I agree completely with everyone who has emphasized this point over and over again. There is no argument. We have a spending problem. We need a systemic solution to this problem. Amen and amen - I could not agree with this more.

The difference, though, between the consequences of continuing to spend in an unchecked manner and the consequences of default are manifold. The consequences of continued unchecked spending are long-term. The consequences of default are both short-term and long-term. If we default, the cost of borrowing money in order to pay our bills increases, which means that the amount of our income we need in order to pay our debts increases even if we don't borrow any more. There could be a run on the dollar. Significant losses in the market. Employers who won't hire because things look too crazy in Washington. And all of this will result in us having an even harder time getting to the point of having a balanced budget, which will still lead to the long-term negative effects of not stopping the spending.

Avoiding the problems of a potential credit default and stopping spending are not in my opinion mutually exclusive. One good thing that came out of this is the focus on the huge problem of our national debt. I think the solution is to do the short-term work that needs to be done in order to keep the lights on and then working very hard to build solutions to address the spending, including a balanced budget amendment. But if we don't do the first part - keeping the lights on - it's almost useless to focus on the long-term solution because a new set of financial challenges will be added by the fact that we have failed to address the short-term issue.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:52 am 
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I guess the reason I am confused is because you have been expressing anger & frustration in such broad terms with politicians in general & the TEA Party as a whole when the main idea that I have been hearing from these guys is that most of them were open to a significant amount of compromise for raising the debt ceiling on the condition that it included an authentic plan for living within our means. (Bachmann & the loons who are posting after articles appear to me to be a minority within a minority)

My impression from what reps of Moody's & S&P's have been saying during all this mess is that the economic armageddon is not as far off for our country as people seem to believe - and many pols want to believe.

It is clear that the default was Obama's game of chicken - why else would he be saying "panic, panic, panic" to the voters while telling the banks "don't worry about it"? So if there had been the modern equivalent of a 'run on the banks', it would have been largely his responsibility for inciting it. Geithner actually began ringing this default alarm bell all the way back in January - why did they take so long to deal with it? Why did Obama & the Senate just sit back and let the House deal with it? The answers are disgustingly obvious.

So O was trying to force the GOP to crater & give in to his demands by putting pressure on them from upset people freaking out & calling their congresspeople. It is to much of the GOP's credit that they did not, IMO. If it were just about playing politics, why would they have stood firm when the political impact was clearly negative, & the Dems were successfully convincing people that they were the bad guys in this garbage? They saw that the Dems were not going to stop spending, were going to raise taxes, and take our country down while continuing to live on in denial to the bitter end. Political survival means little unless your country's survival is taken care of.

With the rating agencies making it clear that raising the debt ceiling was secondary to our immediate spending problem, I can understand where the TEA Party backed congresspeople were coming from.

Most of these guys do a creditable job of appearing to sincerely believe they are fighting for what's best for our country -
http://video.foxnews.com/v/108908692400 ... =obnetwork

I am still not convinced that default was an acceptable option, but I understand what was motivating their stance. And it is clear that the coordinated effort to demonize the TEA Party has reached a frenzied level reminiscent of Bush derangement syndrome. That is why I am sympathetic.

I cannot extend any such sympathy to Obama or the Dems in this as their motivations and efforts appear not only deplorable but unconscionable, IMO - they have hit the lowest low yet.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:32 am 
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QuoVadisAnima wrote:
I guess the reason I am confused is because you have been expressing anger & frustration in such broad terms with politicians in general & the TEA Party as a whole when the main idea that I have been hearing from these guys is that most of them were open to a significant amount of compromise for raising the debt ceiling on the condition that it included an authentic plan for living within our means. (Bachmann & the loons who are posting after articles appear to me to be a minority within a minority)


I AM frustrated with politicians in general - and with BOTH political parties. To me, the thing that we've seen in Washington over the past month is a joke and a circus that makes America look like a joke before the entire world. The Democrats don't seem to understand that there isn't enough money to fund everything for everybody forever, but did understand the importance of avoiding a default. The Republicans, and in particular the freshmen House Republicans who are aligned with the Tea Party, did not seem to have any real sense of urgency about avoiding default but did understand the importance of getting our budget under control. It's like neither side fully got the importance of getting out of where we are - the Dems think we can spend forever and the Republicans think we can take forever to act on the debt ceiling.

We all have enough stress in our lives without needing more stress coming from our political leaders. This is the SECOND time this year that we've had down-to-the-wire negotiations in which both sides were deadlocked and doing fight-to-the-death political battling over things that should have been pretty simple (remember how Federal Government near-shutdown earlier in the year?) It comes down to the fact that at present, we have two groups of people in our government who are largely unwilling to work together and very afraid to concede anything for fear of backlash from their supporters on either the left or the right. This means that probably nothing of substance will ever get done in Washington for as long as these two groups of folks are in power.

Quote:
My impression from what reps of Moody's & S&P's have been saying during all this mess is that the economic armageddon is not as far off for our country as people seem to believe - and many pols want to believe.


Yes. Absolutely. I am glad that the public is now aware of how much debt we have. But we are very vulnerable and we face so many challenges from so many directions. And I agree with you that many politicians would like to pretend that the we have more money than we have. The very fact that we spend as much as 40% more than we take in is almost criminal. How in the world can a responsible government do that??

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It is clear that the default was Obama's game of chicken - why else would he be saying "panic, panic, panic" to the voters while telling the banks "don't worry about it"? So if there had been the modern equivalent of a 'run on the banks', it would have been largely his responsibility for inciting it. Geithner actually began ringing this default alarm bell all the way back in January - why did they take so long to deal with it? Why did Obama & the Senate just sit back and let the House deal with it? The answers are disgustingly obvious.


I think that the President probably wanted to give private assurances in order to keep money people from freaking out and could have believed that this would ultimately work out at some point in time. At the same time, it did not seem as though Congress was in any hurry to get the ceiling raised - even though it clearly could be seen a long time ago that we were getting close. As to why Obama did not try to get it raised when there was a Democratic congress? I have no idea, but, obviously, this was a blunder. He should have.

Quote:
So O was trying to force the GOP to crater & give in to his demands by putting pressure on them from upset people freaking out & calling their congresspeople. It is to much of the GOP's credit that they did not, IMO.


I don't see anyone coming out of this situation as being seen in a positive light and I don't applaud anyone on either side. I respectfully disagree with you, but, I don't think anyone in Washington really deserves any type of positive credit for this circus. If I owned a company and these two factions were trying to run it the way they've run the government - with all the constant infighting and unwillingness to budge or compromise - I'd be extremely tempted to fire both sides and hire a new group of leaders who didn't have enmity of the other side as their core mission in life.

Quote:
If it were just about playing politics, why would they have stood firm when the political impact was clearly negative, & the Dems were successfully convincing people that they were the bad guys in this garbage? They saw that the Dems were not going to stop spending, were going to raise taxes, and take our country down while continuing to live on in denial to the bitter end. Political survival means little unless your country's survival is taken care of.


Because by refusing to give in to any form of tax loophole closing and, in some cases (like Bachman's), by opposing any proposal that doesn't instantly bring America into economic order by next Friday, they are able to look strong for their supporters. The same thing is true about the Democrats who refused to vote for it because of possible entitlement cuts - they can say to their supporters that they're "fighting for you."

Honestly, I think for many on both sides and in both parties, political survival and avoiding condemnation from their bases is at least almost as important as the welfare of the whole country. Is there anything that scares a fiscal conservative more than being accused of "supporting tax increases" or "refusing to cut spending" - or anything that scares a liberal more than being accused of "turning your back on the most vulnerable" or "failing to protect Medicare?" I think that a pretty good cross section of Congress on both sides would rather roll the dice and hope that the country doesn't actually default and that the fallout won't be too bad rather than face this type of drama from their own side.


Quote:
With the rating agencies making it clear that raising the debt ceiling was secondary to our immediate spending problem, I can understand where the TEA Party backed congresspeople were coming from.

Most of these guys do a creditable job of appearing to sincerely believe they are fighting for what's best for our country -
http://video.foxnews.com/v/108908692400 ... =obnetwork

I am still not convinced that default was an acceptable option, but I understand what was motivating their stance. And it is clear that the coordinated effort to demonize the TEA Party has reached a frenzied level reminiscent of Bush derangement syndrome. That is why I am sympathetic.

I cannot extend any such sympathy to Obama or the Dems in this as their motivations and efforts appear not only deplorable but unconscionable, IMO - they have hit the lowest low yet.


Although I have been critical of certain TEA Party leaders (like Bahcman, whom, it sounds like you agree has not done a good job here), my frustration is with ALL of Washington, not just with certain TEA Party leaders. Our government at present is dysfunctional. All they do is fight with each other while the important issues that this country is facing go unresolved. I wouldn't mind if they all went on a one and a half year recess and we get a chance to start over again in the next Election. They will get nothing done except for fight and occasionally have a member or two get into some sort of embarassing scandal. And in the meantime, a number of them will get a lot of enjoyment over the inflighting and name-calling while they're busy "fighting for us."

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:33 am 
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Thanks TVV, QVA and others for updating us on this huge concern.

QuoVadisAnima wrote:
This article seemed to be a good synopsis of where things stand this morning -
http://thehill.com/homenews/house/17460 ... nding-cuts

For your entertainment, here are two articles that win this mornings awards for 'Most Surprising' and 'Least Surprising'
Quote:
Rep. Conyers to Obama: "We've Had It", Calls for Protests at the White House


Joe Schoffstall

Monday, August 1, 2011 - 9:45am

At a press conference held by the House "Out of Poverty Caucus", Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) lambasted President Obama over the debt ceiling deal and called for people to march on the White House in protest.

Said Conyers:

We’ve got to educate the American people at the same time we educate the President of the United States. The Republicans, Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor did not call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. The President of the United States called for that. My response to him is to mass thousands of people in front of the White House to protest this.
http://www.mrctv.org/blog/rep-conyers-obama-weve-had-it-calls-protests-white-house


Sounds kind of Tea-Party-ish for a Democrat! But maybe we need to amass and have a peaceful protest to say to Congress and the President, "Cut More, Cap Spending, Balance the Budget."


Quote:
Quote:
Budget Deal a 'Joke,' Obama Is 'Incompetent': Trump

Published: Monday, 1 Aug 2011 | 8:44 AM ET Text Size By: Jeff Cox
CNBC.com Staff Writer

The apparent deal to extend the debt ceiling is "fantastic" for President Barack Obama but a "joke" for the rest of the country, real estate magnate Donald Trump said.

Speaking as Washington politicians move closer to approving a deal that would give the US another $2.1 trillion in borrowing authority, the colorful businessman and TV personality said the nation is tinkering while losing even more ground to China.

In all, Trump said in a CNBC interview, the weeks-long squabble is another black eye for America.

"Eventually you have to balance the budget. This is a long way from balancing the budget," he said. "This is just a joke. This is a down payment at most."

Trump has toyed with the idea of running for president and has been a harsh critic of Obama. However, he said the president did manage to score a political victory during the debt debate, removing an issue that had the potential to derail his run for a second term next year.

Beyond that, he said, Obama is incompetent.

"When I say incompetent, he's competent in getting elected and re-elected, but as far as running the country, he's incompetent," Trump said.

In addition to making another broadside at Obama, Trump repeated his worries that the US continues to fall behind China in terms of infrastructure, manufacturing and education.

"China is eating our lunch," he said. "Our country is going down and going down fast."


RELATED LINKS
Current DateTime: 07:15:55 01 Aug 2011
LinksList Documentid: 43969657
Trump: I May Run for President if Economy Stays Bad

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43969198/


I disagree that Obama was helped by this, but I also agree that we came far from solving the problem. Our country is going down fast unless some leaders rise to the occasion, quickly. I like Gov. Huckabee's ideas and leadership style the best. Can we pray if it is God's will that he be persuaded to run for President? It would be a tremendously burdensome job, I realize.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:00 pm 
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Grace, I don't believe O was helped by this either, but I definitely believe that he tried very hard to manipulate things to his advantage instead of working to find a viable solution. It's a safe bet that all of us here would prefer GH's leadership - I promise you that our family has been praying fervently that God will bring GH, or at least some other person after His own heart, into the 2012 race for POTUS. Things have never looked so bleak. It keeps getting more & more difficult to remain hopeful.

TVV, thank you for being patient with me as I try to understand your pov. I appreciate you taking the time to explain it & hope you do not feel that I am being contentious as it truly is not my intention.

I hope you don't mind if I ask you one more question.
First, a summary of the timeline for this default crisis:
It began some time in January when Geithner sent Congress his first warning. For better or worse, Paul Ryan worked out a plan to help get us back on track - the Dems practically literally demonized him and all Reps for it, completely mischaracterizing his effort, yet offered no alternative solutions of their own.

Then there was Cantor and Biden working together for a solution; they reached the point where the only subject left was tax increases; Cantor warned Biden that they would never be able to get enough support in the House to pass it with tax increases; Biden said 'no tax increases, no deal'; Cantor, unable to see a way past the impasse, turned it over to Boehner.

The Gang of 6 was working on their proposal, too. Coburn of OK finally walked away, also unable to see a way past the impasse. (The analysis I read of their proposal stated that the deal looked a lot better than it actually was - suggesting that even Reid's proposal was more effective)

Boehner in the meantime began his effort with the WH which looked very promising, with each side compromising, until O then tried to add back all of his wish list at the 12th hour on top of the tax revenue compromise that had already been given him by the GOP. He refused to back down on it because by that point the Dems had gotten wind of the initial compromise and were giving him heck. Boehner, unable to see a way past the impasse attempted to garner attention by passing CC&B, presumably to bring it to the attention of the American people that the House majority was seriously trying to address the crisis with a fiscally responsible approach while the Dems were stymying every effort.

Then we had the Boehner plan - which led to the Boehner plan vs. the Reid plan as the Dems finally offered their own solution less than a week before the manufactured default deadline of Aug 2nd.

Then we had the revised Boehner plan vs. the revised? Reid plan.

Then we had Reid struggling to get enough support for his plan, after Boehner succeeded in passing his, while McConnell insisted that the WH had to be involved in the negotiations or they would not bother because the WH had been sitting on the sidelines during all this mess lobbing veto threats at every effort the two sides were making at compromise.

Finally, the WH condescends to join in & they hammer out a deal; it's inadequate & only gets us half way (at best) to where we need to be to save the dollar, but it puts off the default.

---

When I look over this recap of events, I see the Dems wanting to cut virtually nothing & pay for their crisis with increased taxes, while the Reps want to avoid raising taxes & cut spending to fit the nation's income. The Dems primary interest is continuing the current status quo, while the Reps have valid concerns that tax increases will worsen the economy.

So my question here would be, if you could have had your ideal, what course do you feel the GOP should have taken?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:56 pm 
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We might have avoided a default, but I see a credit downgrade coming. I doubt that the deal was enough to sway the serious concerns of the credit agencies, and I heard on CNN that Obama wants the debt stuff out of the way so they can start on a "jobs agenda" aka another stimulus plan.

How ludicrous would that be to start thinking about spending trillions of dollars more literally seconds after increasing the debt limit? If this happens there is no doubt that the US will lose its AAA rating. And unfortunately, I don't think Obama is wise enough to realize it. The man has a serious case of "tunnel vision."

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:30 pm 
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bmk2307 wrote:
We might have avoided a default, but I see a credit downgrade coming. I doubt that the deal was enough to sway the serious concerns of the credit agencies, and I heard on CNN that Obama wants the debt stuff out of the way so they can start on a "jobs agenda" aka another stimulus plan.

How ludicrous would that be to start thinking about spending trillions of dollars more literally seconds after increasing the debt limit? If this happens there is no doubt that the US will lose its AAA rating. And unfortunately, I don't think Obama is wise enough to realize it. The man has a serious case of "tunnel vision."


Thankfully, any kind of stimulus like the first is DOA in the House.

If anyone is interested, National Affairs printed in its last issue an interesting article on discretionary (as opposed to rules-based) monetary and fiscal policy in general (of which Obama's stimulus is an example).
http://www.nationalaffairs.com/publicat ... mic-policy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:59 pm 
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QVA, I apologize for the long delay in responding.

QuoVadisAnima wrote:
Grace, I don't believe O was helped by this either, but I definitely believe that he tried very hard to manipulate things to his advantage instead of working to find a viable solution. It's a safe bet that all of us here would prefer GH's leadership - I promise you that our family has been praying fervently that God will bring GH, or at least some other person after His own heart, into the 2012 race for POTUS. Things have never looked so bleak. It keeps getting more & more difficult to remain hopeful.

TVV, thank you for being patient with me as I try to understand your pov. I appreciate you taking the time to explain it & hope you do not feel that I am being contentious as it truly is not my intention.


Sure. I don't think you're being contentious at all. We're all here to dialogue with each other, right?

Quote:
I hope you don't mind if I ask you one more question.
First, a summary of the timeline for this default crisis:
It began some time in January when Geithner sent Congress his first warning. For better or worse, Paul Ryan worked out a plan to help get us back on track - the Dems practically literally demonized him and all Reps for it, completely mischaracterizing his effort, yet offered no alternative solutions of their own.

Then there was Cantor and Biden working together for a solution; they reached the point where the only subject left was tax increases; Cantor warned Biden that they would never be able to get enough support in the House to pass it with tax increases; Biden said 'no tax increases, no deal'; Cantor, unable to see a way past the impasse, turned it over to Boehner.

The Gang of 6 was working on their proposal, too. Coburn of OK finally walked away, also unable to see a way past the impasse. (The analysis I read of their proposal stated that the deal looked a lot better than it actually was - suggesting that even Reid's proposal was more effective)

Boehner in the meantime began his effort with the WH which looked very promising, with each side compromising, until O then tried to add back all of his wish list at the 12th hour on top of the tax revenue compromise that had already been given him by the GOP. He refused to back down on it because by that point the Dems had gotten wind of the initial compromise and were giving him heck. Boehner, unable to see a way past the impasse attempted to garner attention by passing CC&B, presumably to bring it to the attention of the American people that the House majority was seriously trying to address the crisis with a fiscally responsible approach while the Dems were stymying every effort.

Then we had the Boehner plan - which led to the Boehner plan vs. the Reid plan as the Dems finally offered their own solution less than a week before the manufactured default deadline of Aug 2nd.

Then we had the revised Boehner plan vs. the revised? Reid plan.

Then we had Reid struggling to get enough support for his plan, after Boehner succeeded in passing his, while McConnell insisted that the WH had to be involved in the negotiations or they would not bother because the WH had been sitting on the sidelines during all this mess lobbing veto threats at every effort the two sides were making at compromise.

Finally, the WH condescends to join in & they hammer out a deal; it's inadequate & only gets us half way (at best) to where we need to be to save the dollar, but it puts off the default.

---

When I look over this recap of events, I see the Dems wanting to cut virtually nothing & pay for their crisis with increased taxes, while the Reps want to avoid raising taxes & cut spending to fit the nation's income. The Dems primary interest is continuing the current status quo, while the Reps have valid concerns that tax increases will worsen the economy.

So my question here would be, if you could have had your ideal, what course do you feel the GOP should have taken?


Thanks for the background and very good question. I do think the Democratic insistance upon tax increases were problematic. However, I also do think a few things would have made things better.

* It would have been better if the Republicans had not publicly walked away from the effort, even when there were impasses. There is a negative perception associated with walking away, even if they truly were at an impasse. I think that the GOP would have been less vulnerable to public negative perception if this had not happened.

* It would have been better if there weren't so many people, including a few leaders like Bachman, who seemed to not mind the prospect of a default. I don't understand that attitude personally and I think it probably had the effect of scaring voters to some degree.

* I don't at all understand the purpose of the Boehner plan. It seemed like a waste of time to me.

* I really wish, from all the parties, that they could have figured this out weeks ago. This whole episode unnecessarily added more tarnish to the American name and the perception of the American economy, which needs as much help as it can get.

* Although this last point is a side note and not part of the conversation we've had in this thread, it really makes all in Congress look bad when they fail to fund the FAA before going on vacation. This, on top of all the gridlock and the drama we've just been through with the debt ceiling, just makes it even more obvious that our elected leaders have no interest in working as a collective body to get things done.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:54 am 
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As I suspected, I'm not the only one who has been extremely put off by Washington and by Congress in particular.

Disapproval rate for Congress at record 82% after debt talks
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44027567/ns/politics-the_new_york_times/

Quote:
WASHINGTON — The debate over raising the debt ceiling, which brought the nation to the brink of default, has sent disapproval of Congress to its highest level on record and left most Americans saying that creating jobs should now take priority over cutting spending, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

A record 82 percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job — the most since The Times first began asking the question in 1977, and even more than after another political stalemate led to a shutdown of the federal government in 1995.

More than four out of five people surveyed said that the recent debt-ceiling debate was more about gaining political advantage than about doing what is best for the country. Nearly three-quarters said that the debate had harmed the image of the United States in the world.

Republicans in Congress shoulder more of the blame for the difficulties in reaching a debt-ceiling agreement than President Obama and the Democrats, the poll found.

The Republicans compromised too little, a majority of those polled said. All told, 72 percent disapproved of the way Republicans in Congress handled the negotiations, while 66 percent disapproved of the way Democrats in Congress handled negotiations.

The public was more evenly divided about how President Obama handled the debt ceiling negotiations: 47 percent disapproved and 46 percent approved.

The public's opinion of the Tea Party movement has soured in the wake of the debt-ceiling debate. The Tea Party is now viewed unfavorably by 40 percent of the public and favorably by just 20 percent, according to the poll. In mid-April 29 percent of those polled viewed the movement unfavorably, while 26 percent viewed it favorably. And 43 percent of Americans now think the Tea Party has too much influence on the Republican Party, up from 27 percent in mid-April.

"I'm real disappointed in Congress," Ron Raggio, 54, a florist from Vicksburg, Miss., said in a follow-up interview. "They can’t sit down and agree about what's best for America. It's all politics."

There were signs that the repeated Republican calls for more spending cuts were resonating with the public: 44 percent of those polled said the cuts in the debt-ceiling agreement did not go far enough, 29 percent said they were about right, and only 15 percent said they went too far. More than a quarter of the Democrats polled said that the cuts in the agreement did not go far enough.

Jobs are first priority

But by a ratio of more than two to one, Americans feel that creating jobs should be a higher priority for the nation right now than cutting spending.

Though Republicans prevented tax increases from being included in the debt-ceiling deal, half of those polled said the agreement should have included increased tax revenue, while 44 percent said it should have relied on cuts alone. That issue is likely to be revisited soon: Congress is preparing to appoint a special committee to recommend ways to reduce the deficit. Sixty-three percent of those polled said that they supported raising taxes on households that earn more than $250,000 a year, as President Obama has sought to do — including majorities of Democrats (80 percent), independents (61 percent) and Republicans (52 percent).

There were signs that President Obama was emerging from the crisis less bruised than the Republicans in Congress.

The president's overall job approval rating remained relatively stable, with 48 percent approving of the way he handles his job as president and 47 percent disapproving — down from the bump up he received in the spring after the killing of Osama bin Laden, but in line with how he has been viewed for nearly a year. By contrast, Speaker John A. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, saw his disapproval rating shoot up 16 points since April: 57 percent of those polled now disapprove of the way he is handling his job, while only 30 percent approve.

Americans said that they trusted President Obama to make the right decisions about the economy more than the Republicans in Congress by 47 percent to 33 percent. They were evenly divided on the question of whether he showed "strong qualities of leadership" during the negotiations, with 49 percent saying he did and 48 percent saying he did not. And they were still more likely to blame President George W. Bush for the bulk of the nation's deficit: 44 percent said that the deficit was mostly caused by the Bush administration, 15 percent said it was mostly caused by the Obama administration and 15 percent blamed Congress.

The growing fears about the economy — amid a sinking stock market and warnings that the nation risks sliding back into recession — were reflected in the nationwide telephone poll, which was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday with 960 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Uncertainty over debt deal

The number of Americans who rated the economy "very bad" was the highest it has been in a year. But there was uncertainty about whether the debt-ceiling deal would help or hurt the economy: nearly half said it would have no effect, while 24 percent said it would make the economy worse and 22 percent said it would improve it.

Americans were evenly divided on the parameters of the debt-ceiling agreement, in which Congress agreed to allow the federal government to borrow the money needed to pay its current obligations and avoid default on the condition that it reduce the deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years. Over all, 46 percent of those polled approved of the deal, while 45 percent disapproved of it.

Most of those polled said that the spending cuts included in the deal either did not go far enough or were about right. But with the nation's unemployment rate at a stubborn 9.2 percent, 62 percent of those polled said that creating jobs should be a higher priority now than cutting spending.

"Cutting spending is important, but getting people back to work is more important," said Diane Sherrell, 56-year-old Republican from Erwin, N.C. "If people are working, they are more productive. There is less crime, there is less depression, there is less divorce. There are less hospital and medical bills. If you put people back to work you are cutting spending."

Stanley Oland, a 62-year-old Republican from Kalispell, Mont., said that the government needs new jobs to generate the economic activity and the revenue it requires. "That revenue supports the basic foundation for the economy, creates more jobs and stimulates the economy," he said. "Unless you have working people you don't have revenue from taxes. If you cut spending, jobs will be eliminated and you won’t get any revenue. Every dollar spent creates jobs."

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:02 am 
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With the stock market dropping will profits made there be dropping along with their associated tax revenues? Will that contribute toward reaching their new debt ceiling sooner than they plan? What about losses in state pension plans tied heavily to Wall street generating new bailouts? I'm sure you all can think of more unintended consequences that will derail their "kicking the can down the road" non-solution to this problem.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:57 am 
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More fallout ...

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/05/7262872-first-thoughts-better-than-expected

Quote:
*** “Worst. Congress. Ever.”: A couple of weeks ago, congressional scholar Norm Ornstein dubbed this 112th Congress as the “Worst. Congress. Ever.” And after the combative and exhaustive debt debate, it appears the American public agrees with him. Per a brand-new New York Times/CBS poll, 82% now disapprove of Congress’ job, which is a record high in that poll. A CNN poll also had Congress’ disapproval at an all-time high of 84%. Here are more numbers from the NYT/CBS survey: 72% disapproved how congressional Republican handled the debt negotiations, while 66% said that of congressional Dems and 47% said that of Obama; the Tea Party’s fav/unfav is now 20%-40%, compared with 26%-29% back in April; and by a margin of greater than 2-to-1, respondents said creating jobs should be a higher priority than spending cuts. The best news for Obama this entire week? His job approval (48%-47%) remains relatively unchanged. By comparison, however, House Speaker John Boehner’s disapproval rating has sky-rocketed to 57%.



I know a lot of people here think Congress did a fine job. But going back to the guy about whom every one of us agrees, Governor Huckabee, I can think back to his admonition for what he called "vertical politics." While there are some on both the left and the right who long for the opportunity to score points against their arch-rivals on the other side, most people are concerned about the issues that pertain to their everyday life. Can they find jobs. Can they pay their bills and get decent interest rates. When partisan circus shows are held in Washington, most people in the middle - the people who decide elections - are just not entertained. This caused a lot of people, including me, no small amount of stress and many people will enact revenge at the ballot box at the people they think are not working for them.

We absolutely needed to both raise the debt limit as well as do dramatic cuts in spending - more than we got. But we didn't need to do this game of chicken with the US and world economies. This back-and-forth was absolutely NOT the way to increase the number of conservatives in Congress.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:34 pm 
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Just great. Now we have been downgraded, largely because of the debt ceiling debacle. I am furious.

Everybody who voted against the debt bill, which helped us avoid actual default, should be asked to resign and should not come back from the congressional break.

Predictions:
* Everyone associated with this fiasco - the President, every member of Congress, and numerous pundits - will suffer lasting reputation to their reputations.

* Rep. Bachman will NOT be the next President of the United States. Neither will Mitt Romney (but we all knew that anyway, didn't we).

* Whether fair or unfair, the Tea Party brand has suffered permanent damage. There will not be a greater number of Tea Party-affiliated members of Congress than there are now in the next Congress. It is entirely possible that the Republicans may lose seats in the House.

* Many of the same career politicians who hitched their wagon to the Tea Party last year will slowly start to try to dissassociate themselves from it.

* In the midst of all the blaming, many Americans will begin to ask how in the world the President managed to raise the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $14.2 trillion in a two and a half year time span. Plenty of blame to go around here, for sure.

* And since there is so much blame to go around, long-tenured members of Congress will be publicly questioned about their own roles in building up the $14.2 trillion dollar debt.

* Although President Obama owns the economy (although he keeps trying to blame President Bush), the Republicans in the House did him a huge favor by fighting so much about the debt ceiling. According to the polls, the public puts a good bit of the blame on Congress as well as the President.

* The Debt Commission will now be taken seriously.

* The Balanced Budget Amendment will now have some serious consideration. I would bet that some form of a Balanced Budget amendment (even if it is something like what Ben Stein has proposed) will become law.

* Governor Huckabee may very well take a second look at the possibility of running for President, knowing that the country needs someone who can truly unite people.

* If the Governor does decide to run, the self-proclaimed ficons who attacked him in 2008 are now weakened to the point that their criticism won't hurt him. Do you really think Grover Norquist's stock has gone up in all of this?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:23 pm 
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Honestly, I am not surprised at all. It was going to take a serious showing of A)understanding the problem and B) a REAL effort to resolve it. Neither of which happened with the deal. I think the Repubs understood this, and Obama arrogantly assumed that no one would ever actually downgrade us. Therefore he attacked the situation politically and not with the notion of actually fixing the problem. (The last statement actually applies to many of the decisions that he makes.)

Then from S&P's perspective, it was pretty obvious the two criteria from above were not met, and were not convinced they would anytime soon. They called Obama's bluff and America loses.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:40 pm 
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The companies that do the credit rating were saying long before the TEA Party reps dug their heels in that a spending reduction of at least $4 trillion was going to be necessary - that's part of the reason that the TEA Party reps dug their heels in.

The only thing that the debt ceiling gridlock contributed to their negative assessment was that it very starkly demonstrated that the majority in DC (a) still do not get it and (b) that the partisanship is too extreme to get anything done about it.

As Brett said, they were sure the US wouldn't be downgraded; they were wrong. And I suspect that the only reason it didn't happen sooner was because of the terrible ripple effect that this could have on the rest of the world economy because they have been warning our country for some time that this was coming.

Furthermore, the rating companies have been talking about spending while the Dems focus almost exclusively (after all, they're willing to eliminate defense spending with China & Iran growing more threatening every day) on the deficit. The deficit is certainly a major issue, but we're spending more than we're bringing in - so what good does it do to try to fill in a hole if you're still digging at the same time?



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:58 am 
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QuoVadisAnima wrote:
The companies that do the credit rating were saying long before the TEA Party reps dug their heels in that a spending reduction of at least $4 trillion was going to be necessary - that's part of the reason that the TEA Party reps dug their heels in.

The only thing that the debt ceiling gridlock contributed to their negative assessment was that it very starkly demonstrated that the majority in DC (a) still do not get it and (b) that the partisanship is too extreme to get anything done about it.

As Brett said, they were sure the US wouldn't be downgraded; they were wrong. And I suspect that the only reason it didn't happen sooner was because of the terrible ripple effect that this could have on the rest of the world economy because they have been warning our country for some time that this was coming.

Furthermore, the rating companies have been talking about spending while the Dems focus almost exclusively (after all, they're willing to eliminate defense spending with China & Iran growing more threatening every day) on the deficit. The deficit is certainly a major issue, but we're spending more than we're bringing in - so what good does it do to try to fill in a hole if you're still digging at the same time?


Something more for us to pray about on this day of a Call to Prayer and Fasting. Our nation is in great need of moral and spiritual guidance. We need humility to listen and ask God for solutions. We need leaders of courage, wisdom, and integrity.

There are some pretty simple solutions to the messes we get into financially in our own homes and that carry over to the government. It is not a matter of blaming the Tea Party or the liberals. It starts with us! If you have not read Governor Huckabee's book, A Simple Government, this is the place to start. It is fantastic, and I do not know why it is not recommended more strongly by conservative leaders. While the financial theories and statistics may seem so sophisticated that only financial experts can solve them for us, it is really the simple principles of doing the right thing that will get us out of the messes we are in. Financial experts like to spin numbers and find trends; they have theories that often do not work because they have departed from common sense. I think that the Tea Party as a movement is right in asking our leaders to be responsible. I do like their courage to say to government leaders: Quit scaring us into thinking that we have to spend, spend, spend in order to get the economy moving.

I opened Huckabee's book and saw this message:

"Do the Right Thing"

And realized our government is not doing it! Neither are most families and individuals or we would not be in this fiscal mess. We have been careless.

We have let government grow too much, so that it is taking away our freedom and squelching the entrepreneurial energy and private enterprise through over-regulation and over-taxation. I see the Congress a little differently than TVV, perhaps. Sure, they are squabbling. But the problem is that we still need to get out more of the long-standing liberals, especially in the Senate. We are just four votes shy in the Senate of being able to overturn the massive, irresponsible Obamacare bill, that was pushed through by a liberal President and Democrat majority. What we need is a way to encourage private insurance companies and Christian health care groups to take care of people's needs in the private sector. Government, when allowed to overgrow, will always mismanage dreadfully. There will always be great opportunity with every social program for those who are dishonest to milk the programs. Then, what we end up with, is punishing the honest through over-regulation by a greedy government and over-taxation. We are much better served by encouraging churches and private enterprise to do their work of helping people. Government has no heart or soul. It should not be in the business of providing what family, church, community organizations, and private enterprise can do much more efficiently. We could get rid of 3/4 of what the government is doing now to the private sector and local government and be much better off!

I see the basic problem in Congress is that it is trying to do everything for everyone and thinking it ought to have unlimited power to spend our money. It forgets that to pad the accounts of its leaders or its favorite programs it must tax and take the honest earnings of the people. And it is the President and the liberals now that seem not to think anything can be put on the cutting block except for the military. And that is one of the few actual reasons for government--to protect our borders and our security.

Yes, government needs to make sure people are lawful and punish criminals that harm others. But there are not really supposed to be many more functions for federal government than to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare. We have become a nanny state, and that is the problem. We are so bloated with irresponsible spending and over-regulation. Our entitlement programs are fraught with fraud, corruption, and mismanagement. And so it will not be easy or quick to turn this all around. Yet we can work for a more simple government, step by step.

It is simple...(not easy)... to:

1. Be responsible. Do not spend more than you make.

2. Learn self government as the way to prevent big government.

3. Promote government to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Leave the rest to the private sector.

I could go on and on. But today, with the focus in Houston and in states across America on fasting and prayer (at least eight governors have signed on to The Response: A Call to Prayer) the right starting place seems to fall on our knees in humble repentance for greed and turning from God. We need to get our heads and hearts straight with Him if we are to turn things around.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:46 pm 
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I have a question, didn't the credit agencies rate all of those CDO's at AAA?

Here is the press release from S&P.


Quote:
Overview
• We have lowered our long-term sovereign credit rating on the United
States of America to 'AA+' from 'AAA' and affirmed the 'A-1+' short-term
rating.
• The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan
that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of
what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's
medium-term debt dynamics.
• More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness,
stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political
institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic
challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a
negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.
• Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the
gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us
pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be
able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal
consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics any
time soon.
• The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the
long-term rating to 'AA' within the next two years if we see that less
reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new
fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government
debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.


Quote:
Rationale
The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,
and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt
ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in
the debate over fiscal policy. Despite this year's wide-ranging debate, in our
view, the differences between political parties have proven to be
extraordinarily difficult to bridge, and, as we see it, the resulting
agreement fell well short of the comprehensive fiscal consolidation program
that some proponents had envisaged until quite recently. Republicans and
Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on
discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on
more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have
dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions
only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements,
the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability.


Quote:
We view the act's measures as a step toward fiscal consolidation.
However, this is within the framework of a legislative mechanism that leaves
open the details of what is finally agreed to until the end of 2011, and
Congress and the Administration could modify any agreement in the future. Even
assuming that at least $2.1 trillion of the spending reductions the act
envisages are implemented, we maintain our view that the U.S. net general
government debt burden (all levels of government combined, excluding liquid
financial assets) will likely continue to grow. Under our revised base case
fiscal scenario--which we consider to be consistent with a 'AA+' long-term
rating and a negative outlook--we now project that net general government debt would rise from an estimated 74% of GDP by the end of 2011 to 79% in 2015 and 85% by 2021. Even the projected 2015 ratio of sovereign indebtedness is high in relation to those of peer credits and, as noted, would continue to rise under the act's revised policy settings.

Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now
assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012,
remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority
of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise
revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act. Key
macroeconomic assumptions in the base case scenario include trend real GDP
growth of 3% and consumer price inflation near 2% annually over the decade.


Quote:
Our revised upside scenario--which, other things being equal, we view as consistent with the outlook on the 'AA+' long-term rating being revised to
stable--retains these same macroeconomic assumptions. In addition, it incorporates $950 billion of new revenues on the assumption that the 2001 and
2003 tax cuts for high earners lapse from 2013 onwards
, as the Administration is advocating. In this scenario, we project that the net general government debt would rise from an estimated 74% of GDP by the end of 2011 to 77% in 2015and to 78% by 2021.

Our revised downside scenario--which, other things being equal, we view
as being consistent with a possible further downgrade to a 'AA' long-term
rating--features less-favorable macroeconomic assumptions, as outlined below
and also assumes that the second round of spending cuts (at least $1.2
trillion) that the act calls for does not occur. This scenario also assumes
somewhat higher nominal interest rates for U.S. Treasuries. We still believe
that the role of the U.S. dollar as the key reserve currency confers a
government funding advantage, one that could change only slowly over time, and that Fed policy might lean toward continued loose monetary policy at a time of fiscal tightening. Nonetheless, it is possible that interest rates could rise
if investors re-price relative risks. As a result, our alternate scenario
factors in a 50 basis point (bp)-75 bp rise in 10-year bond yields relative to
the base and upside cases from 2013 onwards. In this scenario, we project the
net public debt burden would rise from 74% of GDP in 2011 to 90% in 2015 and
to 101% by 2021.


Quote:
Outlook

The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. As our downside alternate
fiscal scenario illustrates, a higher public debt trajectory than we currently
assume could lead us to lower the long-term rating again. On the other hand,
as our upside scenario highlights, if the recommendations of the Congressional
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction--independently or coupled with
other initiatives, such as the lapsing of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for high
earners--lead to fiscal consolidation measures beyond the minimum mandated,
and we believe they are likely to slow the deterioration of the government's
debt dynamics, the long-term rating could stabilize at 'AA+'.
On Monday, we will issue separate releases concerning affected ratings in
the funds, government-related entities, financial institutions, insurance,
public finance, and structured finance sectors.


http://www.standardandpoors.com/servlet ... lue3=UTF-8


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:35 pm 
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My take on the downgrading:

http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/2011/08/ ... ppens-now/


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