ALEXANDER Says we must meet two “urgent” goals: reducing our debt, and meeting our financial obligat Alexander: “We Can’t Go From Being the Most Creditworthy Nation in the World to Being a Nation that Pays Its Bills Out of a Cigar Box”
been paid back. We don't know what we averted – probably a much worse problem – but we are still suffering from what happened in 2008. But we didn't do that deliberately.
In this case, if we were to deliberately go from being the most creditworthy country in the world to a country that paid its bills out of a cigar box, we would be deliberately injecting uncertainty into a turbulent world.
Look at Europe, with the eurozone trembling over the debt in Portugal and the debt in Greece, with sovereign nations perhaps having to bail out European banks.
Look at Japan, the third largest economy, in a 10-year recession, with a third of its powerplants closed after the tsunami, sweating through the summer, with an inability to sell their goods.
Look at China. China is a big success story, but it may be growing too fast. Its inflation is up, and it has a lot of unreported debt at the provincial level.
Look at our markets. We make trades in milliseconds, and twice in the last year we had sudden drops in the market which we couldn't explain for months. Do we really want to inject this level of uncertainty into the turbulence we have today and into the financial markets when we know we could avoid it? I think not.
Then there is a third reason, and this is a purely partisan reason. Maybe it is not even appropriate to talk about it on the Senate floor, but let's talk about it for a moment anyway.
The President has done a pretty good job of blaming his predecessors for problems, but lately people have said, “Mr. President, we don't blame you for the problems you inherited, but we do hold you responsible for the decisions you have made to make it worse. You have made it worse with the health care mandates and higher individual health care policies. You have made it worse with the financial regulations bill. You have made it worse by not sending over the trade bills. You have made it worse with the high cost of energy. You have made it worse with your National Labor Relations Board appointments and undermining right-to-work laws. You have made it worse by doubling and tripling the debt.”
People are listening to that. They agree with that. But what would happen if the Republican Party or the Democratic Party or any group of people have the primary responsibility for turning this country from a country that is the most creditworthy country in the world into one that pays its bills out of a cigar box? The President will say – instead of us saying, “Mr. President, you made it worse,” he will say, “You made it worse.”
There is every reason in the world to regard the debt ceiling decision we have to make as an opportunity to take a significant step to reduce the debt. We can do that while still honoring our financial obligations, and we