So how much money did your IRA lose on Monday?
Your Ward Room Blogger’s lost 6 percent of its value, about as much as the stock market as a whole. That wiped out the contributions I’ve made so far this year. My retirement account is as poor as I’ve seen it in quite a while, and it’s all because the Republicans and Democrats in Washington couldn’t pass a debt ceiling bill without first arguing for a month.
The stock market slide was in response to Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the United States’ credit rating from AAA to AA+. The Wall Street company said its decision was motivated by Congress’s partisan intransigence, and its willingness to use government default as a “bargaining chip” in negotiations over the debt ceiling.
Tea Party Rep. Joe Walsh refused to vote for the debt ceiling compromise, demanding a bill that “fundamentally changes the way Washington D.C. spends money. I believe the way to do that is by statutory spending caps and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.”
Our own Sen. Dick Durbin, who doesn’t want to make the partisanship any worse, simply said, “everyone’s to blame -- both parties.” But Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who represents the state that held the original tea party, called Standard and Poor’s decision the “Tea Party downgrade.”
Kerry has a point. The U.S.’s credit rating has stood at AAA since 1917. Only seven months after the first Tea Partiers entered Congress, it’s already dropped.
What makes the Tea Party different from other political movements is its willingness to damage the nation it hopes to govern. Tea Partiers would rather control a nation with diminished credit and diminished international authority than see President Obama leading an economically prosperous America.
Tea Partiers are not conservatives. Their closest historical antecedents are the Bolshevik revolutionaries who welcomed Russia’s defeat in World War I, because it created the chaos that allowed them to seize power. Lenin famously said, “the worse, the better.” Tea Party hero Rush Limbaugh basically said the same thing at the beginning of Obama’s presidency: “I could say I hope he fails and I could do a brief explanation of why. You know, I want to win. If my party doesn’t, I do.”
Limbaugh, who earns $36 million a year, has the luxury of cheering the stock market’s collapse because it increases a Republican’s chance of winning next year’s presidential election. The rest of us can’t afford his Bolshevism.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!