Monday, August 08, 2011

Westmoreland Reacts to S&P Downgrade, Volatile Markets

After a rocky week in the markets and a less than stellar deal to raise the debt ceiling, the credit agency Standard & Poor (S&P) downgraded the United States’ credit rating from AAA to AA+ last Friday afternoon. The firm had been threatening a downgrade recently, so the move was not shocking. However, the markets responded with big drops at the opening bell and remained down approximately 3.5 percent this afternoon. This follows a 5.8 percent drop in the Dow last week and a staggering 8.1 percent drop in the NASDAQ drop last week. The two remaining credit rating agencies – Moody’s and Fitch – have kept the United States at its AAA rating. President Obama addressed the nation on Monday after the downgrade and market fall. Below is Congressman Westmoreland’s reaction to current economic events.

“Friday marked the first time in history the United States of America was no longer considered the cream of the crop when Standard & Poor downgraded our credit rating from AAA to AA+. While we will not know the long-term effect this downgrade will cause, we have seen the short-term effect as markets are dramatically down around the world. In fact, during the day, the Dow was down as much as 550 points from this morning and had dropped below 11,000 several times.

“This was not something that should have surprised the president or any of his economic advisers. The S&P, as well as the other credit rating agencies, have threatened for months that the federal government’s failure to get its fiscal house in order would have serious consequences. They demanded a debt ceiling increase include at least $4 trillion in savings – something the president fought against with his insistent request for a ‘clean’ debt ceiling hike. Yet President Obama and Congressional Democrats just can’t seem to put down their credit cards and understand that the solution is to cut spending. In addition, President Obama has still not offered the specifics of a plan while advocating that Secretary Geithner remain at the Treasury Department, a choice I do not agree with.

“Unfortunately, this is just a taste of what’s to come unless Congressional Democrats and the White House are finally willing to come to the table and make some substantial cuts. We can no longer afford to play the blame game in regards to spending: the blame lies with both parties who spent without restraint over the last 20 years. But now we have the opportunity to fix those mistakes and get Washington back on a sustainable path. House Republicans have put forth multiple long-term plans to address our national debt, get our spending under control, save Medicare and Social Security from insolvency, and revive our economy – including the Path to Prosperity and Cut, Cap and Balance. Congressional Democrats and the White House need to join us in our work to stabilize our economy and get our AAA credit rating back,” stated Westmoreland.

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