Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Historic Downgrade Calls For Shock Sentencing

In the world of criminal justice, there is a concept called “shock sentencing,” whereby a judge orders a convicted offender to an initial short-term prison sentence followed by an extended period of probation. I think it’s time we extend this concept to the world of federal fiscal responsibility.

The downgrading of the credit rating outlook from "stable" to "negative" of your country and mine is criminal and should "shock" our collective consciousness. According to, the United States’ credit rating outlook was recently downgraded from “stable” to “negative” for the first time in our country’s history. The stock market rewarded this new failing grade with nearly 250 points at its low point during the day, and then eventually closing with a 140 decline. The market's fear is justified: without a change in the way D.C. operates, our credit rating itself could be in jeopardy. It’s past time our leaders in Washington change their ways, regain control and steer our country out of the red.

As CNN reported, “S&P said its outlook change was based on the growth of the United States’ deficits over the last several years as a percentage of gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity. From 2003 to 2008, the nation’s general government debt varied between 2 percent and 5 percent of GDP, which is “noticeably larger” than other countries with “AAA” ratings, according to S&P. In 2009, as the government increased spending to stimulate the economy, the U.S. debt load “ballooned” to more than 11 percent and has yet to come down, said S&P.”

The verdict is in: The national debt of the United States is a crime against basic economic principles and calls for nothing less than the swift justice of a “shock sentence.” The American people must stand up and offer some tough love in order for our national leaders to make the decisions needed to avoid going deeper into this fiscal melee. If we don’t, we face the tougher punishment of exporting jobs overseas.

And if we truly want to avoid this even harsher punishment, how about not raising taxes in order to balance the books? As the article suggests, what got us into this mess was a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

No comments: