The United States suffered a reduction in its credit rating by Standard & Poor’s and then the stock markets fell faster than the Mariners in the American League West.
Both events cost me a lot of money. I also feel less financially secure, which means I’m probably going to hold off on that 52-inch plasma to replace my tiny 48-inch plasma.
So I’m angry and a bit headachy from squinting.
I could be angry at myself for ignoring the advice from those CNBC financial analysts who suggested cashing out my 401(k) and investing instead in gold coins and ammunition. But blaming myself would stride a little too close to personal accountability, and that would be wrong. I’m an American, after all.
No, I’m looking for someone else to blame. Democrats blame the congressional Republicans, the tea party and greedy corporations. Republicans blame congressional Democrats, President Barack Obama and greedy Medicare beneficiaries.
Standard & Poor’s blames gridlock, brinksmanship and political posturing. Others blame Standard & Poor’s for using the downgrade to divert attention from the fact that it once thought mortgage-backed securities were a pretty sweet deal.
Come on, people, you’re not trying. All that is simply rounding up the usual suspects. Besides, blaming politicians for posturing is like criticizing pigs for squealing.
Here’s who (and what) I am holding responsible for the threatened double-dip recession:
The 18 percent: According to a recent New York Times/CBS poll, 82 percent of Americans disapprove of the performance of Congress. That is an all-time high/low. But before you go patting yourselves on the back for your record-setting cynicism, please understand that as long as your disapproval isn’t at 100 percent, they have hope. Until you 18 percent come around, Congress will continue to place re-election over problem solving.
Alarm clocks: Many politicians and commentators said the rating downgrade was “a wake-up call.” Why do we need credit-rating agencies to wake us up? What the heck is wrong with American clock makers? Come on folks, try using your smartphones.
Finger pointers: I blame this economic and political crisis on those who are looking for someone to blame for this economic and political crisis. (Except me, of course. I’m just trying to hold others accountable. Big difference). Take Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who first dubbed it a “tea party downgrade” and then condemned those who use the issue for political advantage. And former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (what’s with Massachusetts?), who told Obama to stop blaming and start leading – then he pinned the crisis on Obama.
Newsweek Magazine: The weekly mag decided to place Rep. Michelle Bachman on its cover this week. But the picture was so scary that it surely frightened Wall Street brokers on the way to the trading floor. And if they weren’t scared by those eyes, they surely were spooked that the presidential candidate – who said defaulting on the nation’s debt wasn’t a big deal – might win.
Arun Raha: Why not? Washington state’s chief revenue forecaster gets blamed for everything else.
The Mariners’ offense: Stay with me here. What if the team could score a run or two for a change, and what if they stayed in games until the ninth inning once in a while, and what if all those stock holders didn’t turn off the TV in disgust and call up their portfolios, and what if they didn’t place all those sell orders before they went to bed? When you open your next 401(k) statement, blame Franklin Gutierrez.
Grade inflation: If a teacher had told me I was getting an AA-plus, I would have kissed them on the lips (so maybe it was a good thing the nuns gave me mostly C’s). Now we’re told that AA-plus is just OK and the president says we “must do better.” Doesn’t anybody get a B anymore? Are the credit-rating agencies worried about our self-esteem? Is this an example of No Nation Left Behind?