Budget Blues: Messenger Shooting Statesmanship

When Michael Moore weighs-in on an issue (pun intended), you know the game is afoot, as Sherlock would say. And as the Washington Times reports, braying for dollars Michael wants the CEO of S&P arrested for his capitalistically piggish downgrading of America’s formerly pristine AAA rating. To wit:

Michael Moore to Obama: ‘Show some guts,’ arrest S&P head

Liberal firebrand Michael Moore called on President Obama to respond to the U.S. credit downgrade by arresting the leaders of the credit-ratings agencies.

On his Twitter feed Monday, the Oscar-winning film director also blamed the 2008 economic collapse on Standard & Poor’s – apparently because it and other credit-ratings agencies did not downgrade mortgage-based bonds, which encouraged the housing bubble and let it spread throughout the economy.

“Pres Obama, show some guts & arrest the CEO of Standard & Poors. These criminals brought down the economy in 2008& now they will do it again,” Mr. Moore wrote.

As has on occasion been suspected, Mr. Moore was merely repackaging another’s idea, as is evidenced by the fact that. . .

He went on to link approvingly to an article last week in the Guardian, a left-wing British newspaper, about a police raid in Milan against the offices of S&P and fellow ratings agency Moody’s. Italian police were searching for evidence on whether the rating agencies, in the words of a local prosecutor, “respect regulations as they carry out their work”.

So much for originality. But would we really be better off if American bureaucrats were as scrupulous about “respecting regulations” as the Italians claim to be?

At least Mr. Moore, not even running for election as far as I know, didn’t damage his populist bona fides by taking it out on those pesky Tea Partiers. That was left to Senator Kerry during one of his semi-regular Sunday appearances on network news programs, such as “Meet the Press,” where he explained exclaimed, “I believe this is, without question, the tea party downgrade.”

S&P had previously downgraded its rating of the other political parties but has not, as of this writing, offered any opinion regarding the Tea Party.

A not insignificant segment of the American electorate appears to have an even more negative opinion than the Senator. As reported in a recent Rasmussen survey, 29% of Americans consider Tea Party members “terrorists.” Another 16% are “undecided.” Oh,my!

Following closely with a second attack was a former White Houser and Obama confidant, who, also according to the Washington Times, stayed precisely on message:

David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Obama, used the exact same phrase in dubbing the credit rating drop the “tea party downgrade,” as Democrats tried to position themselves as reasonable, pragmatic leaders and conservative Republicans as irresponsible ideologues who caused the downgrade by refusing to accept any new taxes.

At least they manage to keep their stories straight, however ludicrous they may be. Bipartisan protocol seems to require some degree of demonization of the Tea Party by establishment Republicans. It’s nice to see how they can work together on occasion and on some subjects.

However, S&P seems to have anticipated Mr. Moore’s warrantless exhortation of the President with the following preemptive strike:

“Congress and the administration are jointly responsible for the conduct of fiscal policy. So, this is not really about either political party,” David Beers, the head of S&P’s government debt-rating unit, said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

Mr. Moore probably doesn’t watch FOX News. At least not for pleasure. He therefore Twittered-on fearlessly and with a noticeable frisson. If such as his is what now passes for reasonable political debate in this country, it’s no wonder we’re in such deep doo doo.

On the other hand, the former Head of the Fed, Maestro Greenspan, had this to say during his segment on “Meet the Press”:

MR. GREGORY: Are U.S. Treasury bonds still safe to invest in? 

DR. GREENSPAN: Very much so. I think there’s–this is not an issue of credit rating. The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default. What I think the S&P thing did was to hit a nerve. . .

As, apparently, was the case with both the Dow and Mr. Moore.

What do they call that “print money” thing? The Quantitative Easing? Wasn’t that invented in Weimar Republic Germany? Trying to remember the name of that mustachioed painter. . .

Ciao, Dennis




This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.