Liberals shoot the downgrade messenger

Byron York on the left attacking S&P for the downgrade in US debt rating:

In the wake of Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the United States government's credit rating from AAA to AA+, a number of commentators on the left are directing most of the blame not at high levels of government spending, and not even at tax rates they would like to increase, but at the ratings agency itself. Since S&P made enormous mistakes in rating securities backed by subprime mortgages prior to the economic meltdown, they argue, the ratings agency has no right to judge the U.S. government today.

"These are some of the people who have the worst records of incompetence and irresponsibility around," top House Democrat Rep. Barney Frank told MSNBC. S&P analysts, Frank continued, are "trying to justify their reputation" by being tough on the U.S. An unnamed White House official, quoted by CNBC, called S&P's performance "amateur hour" and cited a $2 trillion math mistake made in an earlier S&P assessment. Another anonymous administration official added: "A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself."

Farther along on the left, the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the downgrade "an outrage" and accused S&P of "just making stuff up." "After the mortgage debacle," Krugman said, "they really don't have that right." Later, Krugman approvingly passed along a tweet from the lefty blogger Atrios, who wrote of S&P: "Apparently we're supposed to care about what some idiots at some corrupt organization think about anything."

There's no doubt that S&P's rationale for the downgrade is subjective; much of the report reads like political punditry. On the other hand, S&P's assessment is based on a reasonable reading of trends in deficit spending that even administration officials admit are unsustainable. The bottom line of the report seems to be this: S&P's analysts doubt that all of the spending cuts in the recent debt-ceiling deal will actually take effect. And even if all those cuts do take effect, they would not be enough for the credit agency to restore the U.S. to its former AAA rating.

Remember when these very same folks wanted a "clean" up or down vote on the debt ceiling? Imagine if the GOP had given it to them and then S&P had downgraded our rating. What would the left's reaction be then?

They are starting to lose it because they know they are facing unmitigated disaster at the polls in 2012. Shooting the messenger might make them feel better, but it won't change the fundamentals of politics that point to a GOP sweep a year from November.


Byron York on the left attacking S&P for the downgrade in US debt rating:

In the wake of Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the United States government's credit rating from AAA to AA+, a number of commentators on the left are directing most of the blame not at high levels of government spending, and not even at tax rates they would like to increase, but at the ratings agency itself. Since S&P made enormous mistakes in rating securities backed by subprime mortgages prior to the economic meltdown, they argue, the ratings agency has no right to judge the U.S. government today.

"These are some of the people who have the worst records of incompetence and irresponsibility around," top House Democrat Rep. Barney Frank told MSNBC. S&P analysts, Frank continued, are "trying to justify their reputation" by being tough on the U.S. An unnamed White House official, quoted by CNBC, called S&P's performance "amateur hour" and cited a $2 trillion math mistake made in an earlier S&P assessment. Another anonymous administration official added: "A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself."

Farther along on the left, the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the downgrade "an outrage" and accused S&P of "just making stuff up." "After the mortgage debacle," Krugman said, "they really don't have that right." Later, Krugman approvingly passed along a tweet from the lefty blogger Atrios, who wrote of S&P: "Apparently we're supposed to care about what some idiots at some corrupt organization think about anything."

There's no doubt that S&P's rationale for the downgrade is subjective; much of the report reads like political punditry. On the other hand, S&P's assessment is based on a reasonable reading of trends in deficit spending that even administration officials admit are unsustainable. The bottom line of the report seems to be this: S&P's analysts doubt that all of the spending cuts in the recent debt-ceiling deal will actually take effect. And even if all those cuts do take effect, they would not be enough for the credit agency to restore the U.S. to its former AAA rating.

Remember when these very same folks wanted a "clean" up or down vote on the debt ceiling? Imagine if the GOP had given it to them and then S&P had downgraded our rating. What would the left's reaction be then?

They are starting to lose it because they know they are facing unmitigated disaster at the polls in 2012. Shooting the messenger might make them feel better, but it won't change the fundamentals of politics that point to a GOP sweep a year from November.


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