Ronald Reagan

Oh Unhappy Day

Originally published on The Agonist

From World War I until Gulf War II – these are the bookmarks that define the American Century. All through this period the United States enjoyed economic, military, and political ascendance, and by the time Germany surrendered in 1945, the United States was the preeminent global power in so many dimensions that it truly “owned” the 20th century. In the realm of finance, American supremacy was symbolized by the AAA rating accorded its government securities, a rating the United States has enjoyed since 1917.

Now the United States has lost its AAA rating, and deservedly so. It has shown itself incapable of dealing with many serious financial and economic problems, One of its two major political parties has deliberately – yes deliberately – attempted to force a default on US Treasury securities, so that it can engineer its vision of a fiscally prudent America, one in which it is forbidden ever to raise taxes on wealthy people. This despite the fact that, other than corporations, wealthy people are the only source of incremental tax revenue for a government desperately in need of cash flow.