WASHINGTON -- Speaking with a show panel on the country's debt and credit rating on Tuesday, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan decried economic plans put forth by Democrats and Republicans alike, calling them "reckless, irresponsible and stupid."
After lawmakers on Aug. 2 agreed to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and cut $2.4 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, national debate has centered on how that's less than the $4 trillion Standard and Poor's said it wanted when it downgraded the long-term U.S. rating from AAA to AA-plus on Aug. 5.
That conversation, Ratigan said, misses the point entirely.
"Tens of trillions of dollars are being extracted from the United States of America. Democrats aren’t doing it, Republicans are not doing it, an entire integrated system, financial system, trading system, taxing system, that was created by both parties over a period of two decades is at work on our entire country right now," said Ratigan. "We’re sitting here arguing about whether we should do the $4 trillion plan that kicks the can down the road for the president for 2017, or burn the place to the ground, both of which are reckless, irresponsible and stupid."
After the show, lobbyist Jimmy Williams, who sat on Tuesday's MSNBC panel, wrote to Ratigan to express support for his angry tirade. "I'm proud of you," wrote Williams in an email obtained by The Huffington Post. "Someone just texted me and said, 'You didn't get to say anything!' My response: 'I didn't need to.'"
"Money in politics is pure, unadulterated corruption," Williams continued. "Get rid of campaign contributions and the political parties will cease to exist because policy will prevail or politics. We have amended the US Constitution twice with regard to liquor but not once with regard to the buying and selling of our politicians. What's wrong with this picture?"
A viewer wrote in to say she had written a song on the subject, and suggested they collaborate on a video to draw attention to the issue.
In his rant Tuesday, Ratigan blamed not only both houses of Congress but also the president for failing to address the root of the country's economic problem. He said of President Obama, according to an MSNBC transcript:
I would like him to go to the people of the United States of America and say, “People of the United States of America, your Congress is bought, your Congress is incapable of making legislation on healthcare, banking, trade, or taxes because if they do it, they will lose their political funding and they won’t do it. But I’m the President of the United States, and I won’t have a country that is run by a bought Congress. So I’m not going to work with a bought Congress and try to be Mr. Big Guy ... I’m going to abandon the bought Congress like Teddy Roosevelt did, and I’m going to go to the people of the United States get rid of the bought Congress." ... Until a President says that’s the problem and says he’s going to fix it, there is no policy that I can possibly see no matter how brilliant your idea may be or your idea or my idea or her idea or your idea at home, is that idea will not happen as long as there’s a capacity to basically fire a politician who disagrees with me by taking funding away from him. Is that a fair assessment?
In conversations with The Huffington Post Tuesday night, Ratigan contextualized the comments, calling the rant his truest and most piercing and emotional expression of fact since he's been in broadcasting. He also said he hoped the president was up to the task of addressing the real economic issues.
"In a nutshell, Hope without Courage is Lost," he told HuffPost in an email correspondence Tuesday night. "And I don't mean the destructive cowboy bravado of the Republican Party either! I mean true courage to observe truth and work through it together."