Free Markets, Free People

The Tea Party downgrade

“Look at the history of this – the fact of the matter is that this is essentially a Tea Party downgrade. The Tea Party brought us to the brink of a default.” –David Axelrod, top political consultant to President Obama, in an appearance on “Face the Nation”, Sunday, 7 August, 2011

Damn those Tea Partiers, and their rigid insistence on slashing the Federal budget. If only they were more flexible on spending and increased taxes, we’d be just fine. Their demand that we substantially cut federal spending, balance the budget, and pay down the debt without significant tax increases has now caused S&P to conclude that we aren’t serious about getting debt under control.

That’s the Democrats’ argument anyway. And they’re sticking to it.

I will defer to Protein Wisdom’s Jeff Goldstein for his response:

For all those — both left and (establishment) right — inclined to excuse their own complicity and try to scapegoat the TEA Party, which remains the one faction who actively pushed for serious, actual debt reduction and a return to fiscal sanity, take note here: we recognize that it’s been your strategy since the downgrade to seize on the warnings against “political gridlock” in order to insist that a failure to “compromise” on the part of the TEA Party supporters is what led to the downgrade. We also recognize the dishonesty and cynicism of such a strategy: as has been noted time and again, Cut Cap and Balance was the compromise, with the vast majority of TEA Party supporters in the House voting for the bill, which gave the President his debt ceiling increase in exchange for both real cuts and a mechanism by which to control future deficit spending and debt.

Who didn’t compromise — and whose political intransigence is at the heart of the downgrade — is the Democrats, who refused to come up with their own plan, and who then refused to even allow CC&B come up for a vote. This faction — along with the go along/get along GOP establishment — is now looking to pass blame for their own willingness to block compromise onto the TEA Party.

It won’t work. 66% of the population backed CC&B; 75% backed a Balanced Budget Amendment. What they got instead was more spending (the single largest increase in history) for more empty promises of future cuts in the rate of spending.

This didn’t come anywhere near to what the credit agencies demanded, and it is not lost on us, no matter how feverishly you wish to spin it, that what is missing from any plan but those pushed by the TEA Party is any “‘stabilization and eventual decline’ of the federal debt as a share of the economy,” something that simply won’t happen without real cuts. Raising taxes on “millionaires and billionaires,” even were you to confiscate all their wealth by taxing them at 100%, would run this government for less than a year. And once you confiscated it all, you’d have to then look elsewhere for new “revenues” to keep the government running.

The political class is unwilling to accept a simple premise: They’ve looted the system.  And they’ve looted it to such an extent that some notional increase in revenues obtained by taxing the "rich" can never make up for the spending.

Blaming the downgrade—or anything else—on the only group in America who are willing to fix the problem, rather than kicking it down the road as far as they can, is just a non-starter.

Or, it would be, if there weren’t so many people who weren’t so desperate to believe the gravy train can roll forever.

Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed

45 Responses to The Tea Party downgrade

  • Hilarity to ensue at 1:00 when the Downgrader in Chief <strike>addresses the nation about the downgrade </strike> makes another divisive campaign speech 

    • “We must tax the jet plane owning millionaires and billionaires (especially those who didn’t anty up the $35,000 to have dinner with me at my last fundraiser, uh, tour of the nation stop).  If we take this balanced approach, we’ll get our deficit problems under control.
      I’ve appointed a rating Czar to investigate these ratings services and a Teaparty Czar to investigate the Tea Party organizations.   I’ve asked Attorney General Holder to begin review of these organizations and determine if they are linked to those who would do us (me in particular) harm.”

    • He’s late, guess they can’t quite decide which words poll best in saying
      “we’re fracked, it was the tea party’s fault, and the fault of the Republicans, vote for me in 2012, and I promise it will all be cool.
      Peace out, I have a tee time at 2:30 and I have to go”.

    • I feel so reassured the president is not wavering or averting his gaze. He’s standing firm … eyes looking straight ahead into those headlights.

  • There must have been a memo from the White House and it appears dems at all levels are sticking to that meme.  The White House had a comment or two, Shcummer had a bit to say, they trotted John Kerry out, the NYT’s is running with it.
    What a load of horse apples.
    How many tea partyers are there in the HOR & Senate?  10 – 12 tops?  How much spending has the tea party members been responsible for?  A lot of projection going on on the left.
    I hope the dims continue with this attack, I think it will come back to bite them on the butt in the up coming elections.  In this lull between the mid term and the next presidential election the tea party has been relatively quiet. Which is natural & normal.  But the war is not over and those folks will be out again in the coming months.  The political establishment is scared $hitless.

  • Gridlock did it.

  • It continues to be amusing to see which “idiots” self identify by claiming the “Tea Party Downgrade” banner.

  • Tax the rich, change medicare.  Republicans being unreasonable. I’m going to pretend to come up with a plan, again, and wait to see what other people come up with, again, and then tell them it’s not sufficient and I’ll guide them by telling them specific things like “I want this to work”.
    And so, we’re going to use government to create jobs – congress must give me what I want, or it will destroy the economy.  We have shovel ready projects, construction projects, like the ones I proposed back in 2009 – you remember how well it worked then.  Now there’s other stuff but this is the one my keen razor sharp mind remembers from my campaign in 2008 and I don’t have to make up more words, I can just say the same things, over and over, as I usually do.  In fact it would save me time in the future if I say “fix #1” and you all say “shovel ready projects and repairing the infrastructure”.

  • S&P called for a $4 trllion cut or else.  The Ryan budget proposed a $6.2 trillion cut in spending and CCP bill cut and capped spending yet the Democrats and the President opposed it.  Both bills were supported by the TEA Party.  So who refused to do what was required?

    We TEA Partiers had shifted to local and state issues to a large measure, but we are still out and about.  We have been called passe’ because we haven’t been rallying, but beware of the threat we “terrorists” can pose to back up those we elected and to push the RINOs to conform or move on.

  • Obama’s plan had $4 trillion in cuts, and all the GOP had to do was accept some tax increases — tax increases that do less harm to the economy than spending cuts, and still leave us the least taxed country of the industrialized world, especially for the wealthy.  The tea party’s inability to compromise on taxes made a down grade inevitable.  Obama had entitlement reform out there, he was willing to meet half way.  The tea party liked like spoiled children saying it was there way or no way.  That was of course unacceptable (in our system that can’t work) so we got a deal that simply pushed decision making down the road.  Obama didn’t give in to the “frustrati” – the progressives on the left who think Obama has sold out to the GOP.  Obama stared them down and was willing to make the difficult call.  Boehner did not, he was unable to lead, he buckled under tea party pressure, no deal was made and now we have a tea party downgrade.   This just hastens the pace of American decline.

    • The GOP proposed $800 billion in tax increases, so it’s a complete lie on your part to claim that the GOP wasn’t accepting “some tax increases”.

    • Scott
      You’re a f*cking liar, because Obama never presented a PLAN.
      Show us the plan, or shut the f*ck up – forever.
      I hesitated to go with this, and then realized, enough of your sh*t, it’s time.

      • Scott
        You’re a f*cking liar, because Obama never presented a PLAN

        • We had a debt problem before the debt ceiling vote. We had a debt problem AFTER the vote and now have a downgrade. If the Tea Party nuts had allowed their elected representatives to negotiate, like our founding fathers planned, we wouldn’t have had the downgrade. Obviously the Tea Party Downgrade.
          If the deal had worked, would you be giving Obama credit for anything? I doubt it.

          • What are you talking about?  Their representatives DID negotiate as the founding fathers intended, they negotiated on behalf of the people who voted them into office.  That would be the Tea Party.  They perfectly represented their constituents who demanded no further spending, no increase in the debt.
            They drew a line in the sand as they were told to do by the people who put them in Congress to…represent them.  What a concept eh?  Imagine how the found fathers would laugh at that.
            If you think continued out of control spending is a good plan you should go peddle your foolishness elsewhere, it won’t sell here.

          • Would I be giving Obama credit for a plan that he didn’t create?  No, why would I?

            We don’t have a debt problem so much as we have a spending problem.  If the US were a family of 4 making $55,000 a year, they’d be spending about $75,000 a year and be over $300,000 in debt.  And the “solution” that Congress reached was to promise to spend only $72,000 a year.  What should the creditors say to that?

    • Don’t give me the April plan that no one wanted – the plan contrasted against the Boehner plan that he screwed with.
      The ‘secret’ plan
      THIS secret plan

      The ‘plan’ we weren’t privileged to see.
      You should have waited with this bullshit for 6 months, then maybe the memory of his no plan secret plan would have faded.

    • Please explain how increasing taxes on the people who create jobs will increase employment or wages.
      Please explain how forcibly taking money from people, spending a large bulk of that on bureaucracy overhead, graft, political favors, overpayment ($1000 hammers and such), and just plain stupidity (cowboy poetry, Alaskan grandparents’ sociology) is more efficient than not taking away as much money from the people who earn the money in the first place and have a vested interest in seeing that it is spent or saved wisely.  You offer the lame rationalization that some may spend it in foreign markets, but there’s no way that the amount of money spent that way amounts to even a small fraction of the wastage of government which I just listed.
      Besides, if you earn money and want to spend it in Europe on food and fun, it’s your damned money and nobody else has any moral standing to lay claim to it, arguing that the money would be better spend on guns for Mexican drug cartels or bridges to nowhere.  The fact that it’s your money trumps those considerations.
      But you’ll never see the ethical side of ownership and taxes.  You’ll simply offer very lame, obviously fictional arguments that personal expenditures aren’t as efficient as government.
      As for the cause of the credit downgrade, it’s the Republicrats and the Democans who spent too much damned money for decades who put us in this mess.  And, the more sane and sensible a politician or pundit is on spending, the more they are attacked and demonized as being “crazy” and “terrorists”.
      Future generations will curse people like you and the politicians you enable.

      • We’ve had taxes since the founding of this great country. Taxes are what you pay for the freedoms you enjoy.
        If the Bush tax break for the wealthy supports jobs, where are they?
        Never in history has a minority pushed an agenda that created the Tea Party Downgrade.
        History will judge the Tea Party as an unAmerican movement that went nowhere but created the first downgrade of our credit standing.

        • Alas sir, you will never be important enough historically to be judged for your own foolishness.
          But your ideas will be judges and found wanting.

    • “tax increases that do less harm to the economy than spending cuts,”

      That’s your opinion, unsupported by any serious economic analysis or theory.

      “The tea party’s inability to compromise on taxes made a down grade inevitable”

      Another unsupported, and unsupportable,  assertion.


      Do you parrot all this rot for free? If so, you are even dumber than we thought.

    • Obama’s plan had $4 trillion in cuts…

      You mean his speech…???
      Put up the cite to Obama’s “plan” in any durable form, liar.
      Just written on the wind in moonpony farts.

    • This just hastens the pace of American decline >>> Don’t worry Scotty, decline is not a destiny, it’s a CHOICE, and America will choose to bounce Baracky in 2012 and reverse our decline.God, anyone want to take bets on how much the Dow will shoot up the day after Barack is told in no uncertain terms by the American people to GET THE EFF OUT? 

  • Once again Erb steps up to the plate with his “America is on the decline and the Republicans are the reason why” meme.  How about facing just a few facts, there Erb.  To steal a few words from the Powerline Blog:What did the Democrats do with respect to federal debt during the four
    years they controlled both Houses of Congress? Here is a summary of the deficits
    the Democrats racked up during that time:

    FY 2008 — $460 billionFY 2009 — $1,410 billion ($1.4
    trillion)FY 2010 — $1,300 billion ($1.3 trillion)FY 2011 — $1,600
    billion ($1.6 trillion)(estimated)

    Of the $14.5 trillion national debt, nearly $4.8 trillion–one-third of
    the total–was incurred during that four-year period when the Congress was
    exclusively controlled by the Democrats. Moreover, and equally important, during
    that time the Democrats did nothing to assure the markets that they have a
    long-term plan to deal with the country’s burgeoning debt. On the contrary, for
    more than two years the Congressional Democrats have refused to adopt or even to
    propose a budget! If you are looking for the reason why rating agencies have
    lost faith in the ability of our government to get its spending and debt under
    control, you need look no farther.

  • The lefts days are numbered so out of fear they lash out at what they fear.


  • Mostly Erb shows up to stir the sh*t then run away.

  • I recall reading (Sun Tzu?)  that the person who is most likely to be completely honest about you is your enemy: by watching how he reacts to what you do, you can judge quite well how effective you are.

    Given the vitriol expended at the Tea Party by the libs (and, to some extent, the establishment GOP), they are doing great.  The elites FEAR them because, if the Tea Party wins, it’s the end of the career politicians’ ability to buy votes with the public treasury.  The idea of being reduced to, “Vote for me and… um… I’ll… er… name a post office for you” is more than they can stand.  Like Taylor and his gang in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, they’ve got to kill the Tea Party before it kills them.

    • Given the vitriol expended at the Tea Party by the libs (and, to some extent, the establishment GOP), they are doing great.

      It took me a while — I am an ex-lib — to understand this. In the eighties I was a minor league community organizer. I stood on street corners and handed out clipboards with petitions and envelopes for donations. My betters told me how outrageous Rush Limbaugh was and I dutifully listened to the PBS Frontlines documentary exposing him. But even then, I couldn’t get it.

      Limbaugh came across as just a guy with a megaphone and opinions and maybe a less than exemplary personal life, but not like the American Goebbels or whatever. I couldn’t get behind the Two-Minute Hate against Limbaugh. I’m still not crazy about Limbaugh but I now recognize that his real crime was that he was effective.

      • huxleyLimbaugh came across as just a guy with a megaphone and opinions and maybe a less than exemplary personal life, but not like the American Goebbels or whatever.

        I think that a key tenent of liberalism is that everybody is a moron who is gullible enough to believe anything, and that libs have a duty to silence any voice that might lead people down the wrong path.  We see it with the war against Joe Camel, global warming deniers, talk radio, Fox News, etc.  The left couldn’t accept that people might listen to Rush because they thought about and agreed with what he had to say: people listened to him because he was – somehow – a clever charlatan who knew how to package his lies so that they would make sense to the dimwits who populate our country.  Well!  We can’t have dimwits being gulled, now can we?  Somebody’s gotta do something about it!  You can’t have democracy if people have the potential to make the wrong choice because they’ve been fooled!

        I suppose that I should say that I, too, regard most people as dimwits who are easily fooled (some of them self-identify with “Obama” stickers on their cars).  However, I don’t generally think it my duty to determine what information they can get.  That’s totalitarian, and it’s wrong.

        • Perhaps naively, I thought two key tenets of liberalism were open-mindedness and civility, that people came to their opinions in good faith and all deserved an equal hearing and that matters could be sorted out in a rational, civil manner — like Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird.

          I still try to be that kind of liberal.

          Of course, once I started disagreeing with my liberal friends I found I was dealing with ideologues from the SDS who considered it their duty to shout down and ostracize anyone who deviated from the party line.

          • huxleyPerhaps naively, I thought two key tenets of liberalism were open-mindedness and civility, that people came to their opinions in good faith and all deserved an equal hearing and that matters could be sorted out in a rational, civil manner — like Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird.

            Ah, classic western liberalism.  The modern “progressives” certainly don’t embrace it and never have.  In a way, I’m almost glad that they don’t like to refer to themselves as “liberal” any longer: that was dishonesty almost as odious as totalitarian countries referring to themselves as “democratic peoples republics”.

            But what you describe is a lofty and noble vision of how society ought to conduct itself, and it’s no wonder that it appeals to decent-minded people.  I think that Americans used to aspire to it; many still do.  However, once so many of our people latched on to the idea that their fellow Americans were helpless idiots who had to have Uncle Sugar take care of them, civility, rationality and open-mindedness went out the window: why debate with people who are so incompetent that they are wards of the state or else so greedy and selfish that they oppose turning the government into a charity to take care of those wards?

          • ” once so many of our people latched on to the idea that their fellow Americans were helpless idiots who had to have Uncle Sugar take care of them, civility, rationality and open-mindedness went out the window: ”

            Taught in some of the finest univertities, colleges, and even community colleges across the land.

            That if you are degreed, and come from a north/south oriented coast line north of some varyingly drawn east west line you are a special and it is your duty, almost your ‘white man’s burden’ to take care of those benighted (dumbass being a word you would never use, it sounds so, so, backwoods) hicks in fly over country and your own ignorant brothers and sisters locally who never had the brains (cash, time, inclination) to attend an insitution of ‘higher education’.  Especially not one that has ivy growing somewhere within the precincts of it’s venerated campus, the mention of who’s very names shouts “I am smarter than you Kansas boy and Southern redneck, you will listen, and mind your betters!!”

            No, you must look upon yourself perhaps as a noble missionary bringing enlightenment, wisdom and civilization to the unwashed savages without having to get your feet muddy, your fingernails dirty, or your malaria vaccination.  All done from the safety of your residence in Brookline or Berkley.

          • sigh – spell check – where are you?



    So the argument for re-election is going to be “Don’t blame Obama, he was no match for the Tea Party”?

    • Doc that would make a good bumper sticker!
      “Don’t blame Obama, he was no match for the Tea Party”

  • Current Washington debacle forced me to get involved. This country’s biggest problem is not the budget deficit…actually it is, but read please read on…but professional politicians who are focused only on getting re-elected. Geo. Washington had it right: “avoid political parties” but did we listen? No. Well, shame on us! So how do we minimize future damage to our counrty? Return the country to the citizen legislators that George and Tom Jefferson et als envisioned.
    Yes, I would like to see a balanced budget amendment, but one that also reforms Congress. Let’s make it so no one can serve no more than 12 years in Congress (House or Senate, or any combination thereof), and make it a lifetime limit. While we’re at it, let’s take away their ability to set their own salaries…make them employees of the states they serve…let the state legislatures set their salary and benefits…think of how much we can reduce the federal budget if we don’t have to pay outrageous retirements!
    Is an amemdment the solution? Maybe, maybe not. But if a change isn’t made soon, this country is doomed. Sometimes, any change is better than no change!

  • The president obviously thinks Americans can’t hear, read or
    think for themselves.


    On July 14th, S&P issued a statement
    containing two critical requirements for the US to retain it’s AAA credit

    Reduce spending by $4 Trillion

    Convince S&P that the plan would be enacted and maintained for 10


    On August 2nd, the Senate passed, and the
    president signed legislation that:

                1.  Immediately increased the debt ceiling by
    $2.4 TRILLION.

    “Promised” to cut spending by $2.4 (NOT $4) Trillion, (while actually
    INCREASING the deficit by $10 TRILLION) over 10 years in two phases with
    typical political wiggle-room, a super Senate, designed to deadlock, committee;
    and mandatory cuts that neither side wanted as punishment if agreement was not

    No Congress has any authority to
    force a future Congress to cut anything; and there is no record of Congress ever
    implementing any promised cuts in history.


    On August 5th, in the absence of any plan to
    accomplish the specified spending cuts, S&P downgraded the US credit rating
    as promised.


    On August 8th, the president echoed the partisan
    talking points first flushed over the airways on the Sunday shows: that the
    evil partisans who demanded an actual plan to reduce the debt; rather than
    simply increasing the debt ceiling for the 75th time in 50 years
    (driving the deficit to 72 TIMES that of 1961) without paying down a penny of
    it; were responsible for the credit rating downgrade.


    Dismissing the 1334 point drop (11%) in the DJIA in the past
    , the president proclaimed that the ‘markets continue to reaffirm our credit as among the world’s safest


    Without choking on them, Obama said “…So it’s not a lack of plans
    or policies that’s the problem here. It’s a lack of political will in
    Washington. It’s the insistence on drawing lines in the sand, a refusal to put
    what’s best for the country ahead of self-interest or party or ideology. And
    that’s what we need to change

    By ‘Plans’ is he referring to his “budget”, rejected by the
    Democrat-controlled Senate 97-0 because it TRIPLED our already staggering
    deficit in 5 years?  Or does he mean the
    plan he signed Aug 2nd that rather than cut anything INCREASES the
    deficit by $10 Trillion?


    How does he classify the refusal to accept any plan that actually reduces
    spending?  Will he continue to refuse any
    plan that doesn’t include universal healthcare, universal education,
    shovel-ready infrastructure and accelerated “investment” in America’s future
    requiring us to borrow 40% or more (even though our biggest lenders have said “nevermore”)?


    Is debt that now costs us $415 BILLION a year in interest how Obama defines
    ‘what’s best for the country’?


    No, wait; the
    answer is to continue the $20 a week cut in payroll taxes (for the 42% of
    Americans still working); or maybe extending unemployment benefits for another
    year or so; Pelosi informs us that is the quickest job creator to get the
    economy moving-though the average un-employment benefit averages 36% of the
    working wage- how can people keep all that extra money from burning a hole in
    their pockets?  Think of all the
    customers that creates!!  It is purely
    asinine for the president to claim these “drops in a bucket” will create 1
    million jobs!  Who taught him how to


    How do we know if
    these are excellent “plans” for recovery or simply another ‘Line in the Sand’?  It’s so confusing!


    Maybe Obama
    thinks those 600+ regulations quietly put into place last month, with a
    compliance price tag of $9.5 BILLION is the way to make our companies more
    competitive; or is it the 16,500 IRS agents included in ObamaCare that make our
    products better?  Did sending the
    deepwater drilling rigs to Brazil make energy cheaper? How about those 12,000
    high paying Gulf jobs that he exported with the rigs?  Did that generate any tax revenue for the
    US?  Did directing the EPA to treat CO2,
    the product of photosynthesis, as a toxic waste help us make anything better?  Does having Czar Organizations working
    against Cabinet departments help our productivity?  Will those huge raises ($20K~$79K) for his
    staff (what happened to that wage freeze he so publically announced for his
    staff?) create lots of revenue-generating jobs?


    Obama promised
    that if he got almost $1 Trillion to “Stimulate” the economy that unemployment
    would be down to 8% but in fact all he did was spent that money to keep
    government workers on the payroll in the absence of tax receipts.  It’s purely coincidental that they tend to
    vote for his party because otherwise that would be putting self-interest, or
    party, or ideology ahead of what’s best for the country; you know, like
    spending $185,000 an hour to fly around the country on Air Force One giving
    outrageously divisive and highly partisan campaign speeches rather than focusing
    on fixing real problems; or waging class warfare against the segment of the
    population most responsible for creating revenue-generating private sector jobs.


    fastest way to improve our economy is to impeach Obama as he clearly deserves
    for violating the Constitutional limitations on his authority by unilaterally
    sending combat troops to Libya; repealing every job-killing regulation, law and
    program bearing his signature; and restoring Constitutional governance in

  • If Axelrod says it, it’s right from the mouth of this rotten President.

    What a despicable POS. Well, what can you expect from a Marxist whose proposal was to tax “corporate jet owners.”

    He achieved his goal: destroy the economy. Now it’s just a matter of trying to blame it on his adversaries,

    You all remember when I said that he was more dangerous to the United States than Hugo Chavez was to Venezuela. And this is far from the bottom. We’re at 46 months of recession/depression, and counting.

  • Axelrod, by the way, grew up in Manhattan right down the block from our place there. His mother was a writer or editor, or both, for PM Magazine, back in the late 40s, I believe. It was, like The Nation, back then, essentially a mouthpiece for Stalinist sympathies. So Axelrod has all the proper breeding to be at Obama’s side.