- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Obama administration has made history by presiding over the first-ever downgrade in the U.S. credit rating. President Obama has outdone all his predecessors in wrecking America’s good name. His answer to this problem: Spend even more. 

Raising the debt ceiling was sold as a way of guaranteeing the U.S. credit rating. It had the opposite effect, which makes sense to anyone who understands credit. Take a family with a median household income around $50,000. If they spend $85,000 a year and have debt at $300,000 and growing, it’d be foolish to let them borrow more because they don’t have the income to pay it back. Raising the debt ceiling ignored this reality. Then, the Obama administration immediately demonstrated its utter lack of creditworthiness by blowing 60 percent of the initial $400 billion increase in one day, the largest single-day accumulation of debt in U.S. history. 

The White House blames the George W. Bush administration for every economic woe, but the numbers speak for themselves. In 2008, the federal budget deficit was around 3 percent of gross domestic product. In 2011, it’s around 11 percent. Total federal debt was $10.7 trillion at the end of 2008 and is currently $14.6 trillion. Debt as a percentage of GDP was a painful 69 percent at the end of the Bush years, but Mr. Obama is pushing it over 100 percent, another disgraceful historic milestone. A record 45.8 million are on food stamps, and the percentage of working-aged Americans who have jobs is the lowest in three decades. According to Gallup’s daily tracking poll, in late January, 44 percent of Americans felt the economy was getting better, and 52 percent thought it was worsening. Now only 17 percent have a positive view; 77 percent understand our economy is nosediving.  

The Standard & Poor’s ratings downgrade is only the beginning. Moody’s Investors Service still lists the United States as AAA but with a “watch negative” caveat, and S&P managing director John Chambers warned that should U.S. debt go over 100 percent of GDP, America would face a second downgrade. Speaker John A. Boehner should immediately call the House into emergency session to start passing serious budget cuts to stave off this looming credit disaster. If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid chooses to block these necessary measures, Democrats can shoulder the blame.

Mr. Obama is blithely passing the buck. At a Wednesday fundraiser, he refused to own up to his responsibility for the economic calamity America is facing, saying “because we were inheriting so many challenges, we’re not even halfway there yet. When I said, ‘change we can believe in,’ I didn’t say ‘change we can believe in tomorrow.’ ” If the nation continues on this disastrous course Mr. Obama has set, there will be no tomorrow.

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