Monday, August 08, 2011

Obama Breaks Silence About Credit Rating Downgrade

President Obama broke his silence on the credit rating downgrade issued by S&P last Friday. Secretary Geithner was told that morning that the downgrade would move forward and thus, the President had plenty of time to put a statement together to re-assure the American public - and world markets alike - that the sun would come out tomorrow.

He went to Camp David with his family and we heard nothing from him, except for a brief statement of sympathy over the loss of our SEALs in Afghanistan. Apparently he was all tuckered out from the five birthday parties and fundraisers thrown for him last week.

Hey, did those swell Hollywood stars and moguls and sports folks and media types fly into D.C. on their private jets - no doubt listed in a corporate name for tax reasons, thus making them evil corporate jets -for the big bash at the White House? Just curious.

The predictable happened - Asian markets plunged and our DOW and S&P followed suit on Monday. Obama finally spoke Monday afternoon. It was a whole lot of nothing,frankly.

The usual pointing to a Congress deeply divided on political philosophy and fiscal policy, to the need for continuing unemployment benefits for those out of work,and then to extending the payroll tax cut in place currently along with spending for construction projects.

The good news here is by coming together to deal with the long-term debt challenge. We would have more room to implement key proposals that can get the economy to grow faster. Specifically, we should extend the payroll tax cut as soon as possible so that workers have more money in their paychecks next year and businesses have more customers next year.

We should continue to make sure that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who is out there looking for a job, you can get the unemployment insurance that your tax dollars contributed to. That will also put money in people’s pockets and more customers in stores. In fact, if Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut, and the unemployment benefits that I’ve called for it can mean one million fewer jobs and half a percent less growth. This is something we can do immediately, something we can do as soon as Congress gets back. We should also help companies that want to repair our roads, and bridges, and airports so that thousands of construction workers that have been without a job for the past few years can get a paycheck again that will also help to spur economic growth. These aren’t Democratic proposals, these aren’t big government proposals. These are ideas that traditionally Republicans have agreed to, have agreed to countless times in the past. There’s no reason we shouldn’t act on them now. None. I know we’re going through a tough time right now. We’ve been going through a tough time for the last two and a half years.

And, oh yeah, he'll offer up some of his own suggestions. After bloviating about the possible, predicted bickering to come out of the committee set up in the debt ceiling agreement for further spending cuts at the end of the year, he said his suggestions would be something for the committee to work with.

I intend to present my own recommendations over the coming weeks on how we should proceed. And that committee will have this administration’s full cooperation. And I assure you, we will stay on it until we get the job done.

That would be a first for Obama, you know - offering recommendations to solve a problem. He is good at speak about lofty suggestions and ideas but never presents solutions in the form of recommendations to any problem. Saying you want to tax millionaires and billionaires at a higher rate is an idea, not a recommendation. A recommendation involves setting a rate of taxation and an income level at which the higher rate kicks in.

In the end, it was just more of the same. He'll get back to us on it. And no questions allowed from the press.

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