Politics straight out of Toon Town

I’m reluctant to wade into the finger-pointing over who’s to blame for S&P’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, but one thing President Barack Obama said rang true to me.

The president said S&P’s move was “not so much because they doubt our ability to pay our debt … but because after witnessing a month of wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, they doubted our political system’s ability to act.”

The sad fact is that after standing as a beacon of stability in the world for most of our history, we’re becoming a politically unstable nation, unable to handle the most basic functions of government in an orderly and effective manner.

Our political system is a complex array of checks and balances that depends on compromise to get things done. It’s virtually impossible for anybody to have everything their own way, and when the parties refuse to compromise, the system breaks down.

We’ve come to play it as a game of sticking the other guy with the blame, but the collapse of the stock market in the wake of the debt crisis shows that this “game” has very real consequences — not only for the high-rollers on Wall Street, but for ordinary folks within pensions and 401k’s whose retirement depends on stable markets.

Of most concern is that the major players don’t seem to have learned anything from the trauma they’ve caused us.

Political money and passion these days flow to the extremes, where compromise is reviled, and the two sides are already revving up a 2012 national political campaign likely to take cartoonish demonization to a new level.

With so many voters disgusted and disengaged, I’m not seeing a path back to political stability anytime soon.

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3 Comments on “Politics straight out of Toon Town”

  1. kalaheo Says:

    David – the blame here clearly rests 100% with their guys. My guys are blameless and are the very ones who tried to prevent this!

    Yeah, I don’t know what happened to us either.

  2. Richard Gozinya Says:

    The average guy is still shaking his head wondering how it is that the people responsible for almost tanking the economy not only got off scot-free but have seen their huge bonuses reinstated. There was a window of time when the financial manipulators could have been called out, punished, and sent on a perp walk thereby restoring the sense that the average American’s interests were being protected. Instead, the so-called Wall Street “Masters of the Universe” and banksters were protected and rewarded.

    This showed clearly that there are different rules for the rich, a meme that persists to now. As wealth continues to be stratified and the real economic pain is borne by the middle and lower classes, it is no wonder that the mood of America has turned nasty on the one hand and disengaged on the other as some simply give up.

    I think a lot of folks feel simply betrayed by the fat cats in business and in politics. In Washington and at Washington Place.

  3. Hugh Clark Says:

    If this ugly scene is not cleared soon, I predict London-like riots since the unemployed poor are being sapped of any hope whatsoever and the middle is feeling the pinch.

    It will not be pretty and it will be because (a) U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 decided presidential election and the Bushy busted the bank account that Clinton had left him with a budget surplus. The big spenders are not the Democrats.

    Then (b) we allowed a few bigoted southerners pretending to be revolutionary reformers take out our government hostage and blow up the economy. Bonehead Boehner was rejected by them and became useless in an effort to forge a compromise.

    Wall Street has gone nuts, too. Itts CEOs are too big to prosecute. And so you have a man-made recession about to become an unnecessary Depression of epic proportions

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