This week, the United States had its credit rating downgraded from AAA to AA-plus, making our nation the financial equivalent of the short, fat, bald, masked guy in those FreeScore.com commercials. In announcing the downgrade, Standard & Poor's cited "the difficulties of bridging the gulf between the political parties" over reducing the deficit, and indicated they wanted even more spending cuts from Congress -- joining the misguided consensus that completely misses the fact that economic growth is the most powerful weapon against the deficit. The White House challenged S&P's analysis, claiming it was off by trillions of dollars. Maybe the ratings agency was using the same math it had when it helped create the fiscal crisis we are still struggling to get out of by awarding AAA ratings to trillions of dollars in subprime mortgages repackaged as securities.
The debate we have just witnessed has shown Washington, D.C. not just to be broken, but corrupt. The American people are disgusted watching politicians play political chicken with the nation's economy and future. In such a bitter and unprincipled atmosphere, whoever has the political clout to enforce their self-interest and retain their privileges wins the battles. But there are two casualties in such political warfare: the common good and the most vulnerable.