The Standard & Poors’ rating agency decision to reduce the United States’ long term debt from AAA to AA+ was explained in a press release that specifically mentioned “the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues,” should, itself, make headlines like “Standard And Poors Blames U.S. Credit Rating Reduction On Republicans.”
But the fact is, some publications, most notable The Associated Press and Politico, are working (thus far) to cover up S&P’s finger-pointing at Republicans. Instead, they appear to be pointing their own fingers at President Obama – someone not mentioned in the Standard and Poor’s press release.
Take Jonathan Allen in Politico:
Standard & Poor’s delivered an unambiguous message to investors Friday that has serious implications not only for the nation’s economy but also for President Barack Obama, the tea party and anyone else with skin in the 2012 elections: America’s political system is subprime.
That was how Allen started off his article. In it, there was zero mention of the two very damaging statements S&P used in its press release, and directly aimed at Republicans:
The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. As our downside alternate fiscal scenario illustrates, a higher public debt trajectory than we currently assume could lead us to lower the long-term rating again. On the other hand, as our upside scenario highlights, if the recommendations of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction–independently or coupled with other initiatives, such as the lapsing of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for high earners (my emphasis)–lead to fiscal consolidation measures beyond the minimum mandated, and we believe they are likely to slow the deterioration of the government’s debt dynamics, the long-term rating could stabilize at ‘AA+’.
…Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act.
Allen’s Politico article had a lot of Republican quotes, not many Democratic quotes, and in all failed to tell the truth of Standard & Poor’s message.
And then there’s the Associated Press‘ article by Martin Crutsinger. It fails to include, or mention Standard & Poors’ GOP-directed press release quotes, and wrote:
Another concern was that lawmakers and the administration might fail to make those cuts because Democrats and Republicans are divided over how to implement them. Republicans are refusing to raise taxes in any deficit-cutting deal while Democrats are fighting to protect giant entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
Which would lead one who didn’t read the S&P press release to think that it was balanced and mentioned “giant entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare,” but the press release mentioned Medicare here:
It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability.
But Standard and Poors does not attack Democrats the way Republicans are addressed.
It’s purely irresponsible for The Associated Press and Politico to fail to accurately report the contents of the Standard and Poors press release. If The Associated Press and Politico want to damage President Obama, they should just come out and say so. Heck, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that his objective was to make President Obama “A one-term President.”
Looks like Senator McConnell and the GOP want to destroy the American Economy. And even then, they still will miss their objective.