Economy & Budget
Apparently, the majority in the house doesn’t think passing a budget is important. Or necessary. Or politically helpful to them.
Like reversing the epigram in T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral,” Congress’s last temptation in financial reform is to “do the wrong deed for the right reason.” The credit rating agency liability concepts in both the House and Senate financial reform bills are “wrong deeds” in this sense.
In late April, a Senate committee released 18 pages of email messages documenting the utter corruption of the ratings process. In early May, Sen. Franken prevailed on a large majority of his colleagues (52 Democrats, 11 Republicans, and 1 independent) to end the cosy partnership between the rating agencies and the issuers of the securities they rate.
If bill sponsorship in Congress is the best indication of legislators’ budgetary demands, we shouldn’t be surprised that Washington is awash in red ink. That level of red ink, with debt poised to overtake national GDP, has become alarming to many. And as the findings of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) BillTally study illustrate, at least some members of Congress are starting to scale back their demand for new spending initiatives.
Today, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd delivered the following prepared statement at the House and Senate conference on the bill to bring accountability to Wall Street:
“Thank you Chairman Frank.
“And thank you to my fellow conferees for the tremendous work you have done over these many months as we try to tackle the tough questions of how to create a financial regulatory structure that will protect our economy for years to come.
At the direction of President Obama and the Democrats who run both houses of Congress, American taxpayers have put up $700 billion to bail out the nation’s largest banks, $787 billion to stimulate the economy, and $82 billion to buy into two of the Big Three automakers, with the resulting government deficit soaring toward $1.7 trillion.
At a hearing in March, I asked Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner whether the U.S. was at risk of losing our AAA credit rating, as a Moody’s quarterly report had indicated. He point-blank responded that there is “not a chance” that this would happen to our country. I wish I could share his confidence, but given how things have unraveled in the past few months, I believe that America needs to take a step back and seriously re-evaluate the way the government does business these days.
I share the concerns that many Americans have about our country’s financial future. With our debt at more than $13 trillion, and growing, there is a legitimate concern about how we begin to correct our economic course. As a Blue Dog Democrat, I have always taken tackling our debt very seriously.