Friday’s downgrade by Standard & Poor’s has certainly put the U.S. economy on edge, but was it deserved?
According to National Review columnist Mark Steyn, whose new book “After America: Get Ready for Armageddon” was released Monday, it was entirely deserved. In an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Your World,” Steyn explained why the United States should be held to account — because it can drag down other economies single-handedly.
“I think at a certain level compared — as was pointed out earlier, compared to what is happening in Europe, the United States still gets the safe-haven money. But underlying that, the United States is not the safe haven but perhaps the most dangerous place of all.” (Clyburn: Downgrade a ploy to improve S&P’s standing in Europe)
Steyn continued, “I mean, Iceland is Iceland. It can’t do damage to anybody unless you‘re Icelandic. But the United States can drag down the entire western economy. And I think what we are seeing is simply a reflection of reality. This is not, I’m sorry, but this is not a AAA nation. Warren Buffet — the president by the way has another businessman. He cannot just keep quoting Warren Buffet because Warren Buffett is not a typical businessman and typical businessmen understand that this is not a AAA economy. You cannot be AAA when you have got $4 trillion in spending but $2 trillion in revenue.”
Steyn also made the point that the debt ceiling deal made by Congress last week didn’t address these issues, and said he doubted the nation’s leaders realized the scope of the debt.
“I think the deal last week actually sent the opposite message — that the political class in this country is not serious about the urgency we are facing,” Steyn said. “These are huge sums. There was a study last year in which, the question was asked, ‘Is there enough money on the planet to fund U.S. government spending?’ Now the fact they are asking that question is a sign of the trouble we’re in. Their conclusion was that there was if the rest of the plan it was willing to sink 20 percent of its GDP into U.S. Treasuries — that is, which is what U.S. government spending through the year 2020 assumes. That is never going to happen.”
In the aftermath of the S&P announcement, there has been some finger-pointing from Democrats, mostly at the tea party movement. Steyn called those blame efforts “pathetic.”
“Don’t you think something slightly pathetic by the way in smart men who claim to be able to run the multi-trillion dollar enterprise that is now the U.S. government saying, ‘Oh no it is not us. It is the guy that runs the hardware store over there. He goes to a tea party rally and the lady who owns the hair salon. They have caused it,’” Steyn said. “Do you understand how pathetic the president of the United States sounds?”