Monday Morning Politics

Monday, August 08, 2011

Bloomberg BusinessWeek senior editor Diane Brady, and Will Saletan, Slate’s national correspondent, and Jacob Goldstein from NPR's Planet Money, and WNYC's Ilya Marritz from the Stock Exchange floor, chat about the S&P downgrade, the market reaction today, and the political fallout.


Diane Brady, Jacob Goldstein, Ilya Marritz and Will Saletan

Comments [41]

Amy from Manhattan

Ilya Marritz says the drop in the stock markets was a response to Pres. Obama's speech? They had already gone down the same amount that day before the speech--what makes him think they wouldn't have continued to drop with or without the speech? Just because 1 thing happens after another doesn't mean the other thing was the cause.

Aug. 10 2011 12:23 AM

Umm, why was Diane Brady allowed to completely ignore Nick from Cliffside Park's question about who profits from the downgrade?

Also, the caller who asks about who owns S&P gets ignored and Diane Brady says that they're "supposed to be neutral". Right.

Pretty soft stuff.

Aug. 08 2011 03:44 PM
another listener from nyc

Diane Brady certainly knows who is still in power. What a weak guest to have on this pivotal morning. It seemed to me the callers had more answers and certainly had the right questions. Again even on WNYC the media lags behind the public. Should it not be the other way around?

Aug. 08 2011 02:31 PM

Great show today. Glad your guest pointed out that Buffett disagrees with S&P, and that this is more than a crisis manufactured by the Tea Party. Real problems to be addressed and they won't get fixed if everyone keeps blaming the other side.

Aug. 08 2011 02:28 PM
Laurie Spiegel from Tribeca

Why are all the media including right here distorting the truth and amplifying the bond rating change by always mentioning only S&P without anyone ever saying that neither Moody's and Fitch Ratings (the other 2 bond ratings organizations) have downgraded their ratings for US bonds? Why are all the media (including you) making this entirely-manufactured "crisis" seem worse than it is by not telling the public that the 2 other agencies do not agree with S&P?

Aug. 08 2011 01:11 PM

What reality is Diane Brady occupying?What weed is she smoking? Obama from the very beginning has staffed his economic team with card carrying Wall Street types. There were no jobs program for the umemployed just bailouts for the bank and free money for them to borrow. So Obama says a few unkind things about business ONCE or maybe twice and all of sudden he is the worst enemy of capitalism since Karl Marx. He has given all they wanted and more even more to the hurt of his own base time and time again. Is not enough they got all the money and profits that now they want to be worship as gods as well??? Will Saletan's fantasy of emergence of radical middle made of "bond holders" is too funny but also to sad to laugh at. A radical middle presupposes an existence of a radical left. There isn't any!

Aug. 08 2011 11:59 AM
Bob from Pelham, NY

This is all Brian L.'s fault. Once again he goes on vacation and something big happens. For the good of the commonweal, can't you guys chain him to his microphone?

Aug. 08 2011 11:39 AM
natsch from mass

disappointing that the caller's excellent point about the media's false equivalency is completely ignored. The debt problem is real, but the debt crisis was manufactured and handled so ridiculously, there is no question it is the house republicans who are to blame. Our media, in their irresponsible search for a middle that the radical ends of our political spectrum have no interest in. But the equivalency ends when you look at power - the radical left has no seat at the table, the radical right dominates their party.

Aug. 08 2011 11:10 AM
LK from Queens, NY

I agree with caller Kim and her point that the"both sides" approach is not a rigorous analysis. It has become a way to dismiss the kind of significant analysis that is needed. it is done everywhere...public media, financial media, televsion, radio, blogs, on-line, and print. My position is not formed to be counter to my opponent. This is not a game to me.....and others. My point is not the battle, it is the facts and the circumstances. I am not interested in a confrontation with any mediocre, uninformed, inflamed opinion. There is so much of this. Too much positive reinforcement is being given to those who seem to be in a permanent, irrational tantrum. And, one could argue that the tantrum may be an understandable result of our current circumstance; but there is nothing of value from this. And, a considered and studied opinion, is not the equivalent of someone else's tantrum. making it so just truncates the discussion.

Aug. 08 2011 10:59 AM
dboy from nyc

The super-rich continue to hoard ALL the cheese!

Not a new phenomena but now, at an all-time high level of efficiency.

Government, super-rich and bank collusion.

Thank you Mr. Obama and Mr. Geithner!

Aug. 08 2011 10:58 AM
Maddy Sgueglia from Nassau County

Does S&P also check the 'wellness' of the board of directors and the rest of the management of companies whose bonds they rate as well? I think S&P execs are being very disingenuous when they say the rating is partly based on the political divide in Congress. I agree with the caller who said the downgrade is motivated more by the bottom feeders (hedge funds) in the financial sectors.

Aug. 08 2011 10:56 AM
Vic from .

It's strange the way our financial system works. And who are these financial rating agencies, anyway ?
Wasn't Standard & Poors among the agencies which gave "AAA" ratings to many of the banks and other financial institutions which fueled the global economic crisis back in 2008?
What have we learned since then?
Check out Charles Ferguson's compelling documentary, INSIDE JOB.

Aug. 08 2011 10:53 AM

Obama alienated business? What planet is Diane Brady living on? Is she even dimly aware of the connections between Obama economics people and Wall Street?

Aug. 08 2011 10:49 AM
BK from NJ

Don't conservatives believe in personal responsibility? George W Bush signed a law toughening personal bankruptcy law within year or so of getting into office at the behest of conservatives and big banks.
Why do these same conservatives now want us to default on our bills? The debt ceiling relates to past obligations and bills, not future spending. So in the conservative world a family who tries to declare bankruptcy due to major illness or divorce (the 2 leading causes of bankruptcy) has no options but the federal government can decline to pay its bills? Nice.

Aug. 08 2011 10:49 AM
Arthur from Astoria, NY

So, Will, this "middle" of bond holders... who exactly elected them? Why is a fundamentally SOCIAL issue - who we take care of in our society and how well we do that - always and ONLY framed in an economic context? Why are we so swallowed up in this argument over debt when the only way to pay for it is to get people working again, at a decent enough rate of pay? Since when did our creditors dictate whether we feed our seniors who contributed to the tax rolls for forty+ years? The big WTF here is that we are missing the big picture. If we focus solely on debt payments and austerity we will essentially become a country of slaves. Where is the "middle's" answer to this?

Aug. 08 2011 10:48 AM
Bob from Pelham, NY

The debt ceiling negotiating drama keeps bringing to mind the old joke about body parts debating who should be the boss; see, e.g.:

Aug. 08 2011 10:47 AM
John A.

The Whitehouse said 'We need this or we're gonna get downgraded.' We didn't get that and we got downgraded. Sounds like straight shooting to me!

The Republican party need not be the greed party, but it has chosen to go down that path for the last 12-30 years. Choose otherwise and I might vote for Ya guys. I expect this change will take up to a decade.

Voting with you for now 'john from office', not at all unhappy with this choice.

Aug. 08 2011 10:46 AM
Liz from Manhattan

Everyone is to blame for the mess that led to the S&P downgrade.Yes, the White House could have led a bit better but Congress has behaved like children. The Tea Party is naive, and the Dems and GOP are irresponsible. I'd like to vote the whole crowd out of office! Congress is an embarassment. Shame on them.

Aug. 08 2011 10:46 AM
Katherine Jackson

What in the world did Jamie Floyd mean when she said, "Of course, here at WNYC, we're always looking for the middle?" And what did the guy from Salon mean by equating two intransigent ends of the spectrum, left and right? The right wing of the GOP was willing to let the country default on its debt, and drove everyone else further and further to the right. The overwhelming proportion of Americans SUPPORTED tax increases, and protecting entitlements. (Obviously, "protecting" might involve re-tooling, but that's a conversation to be had. The Paul Ryan approach hardly a viable view from which to calculate where "the middle" is). This game the media plays of "looking for the middle," as if therein wisdom always lies, is part of the problem. What we need is intelligent, economic thinking -- NOT some hypothetical "middle," which is by definition a moving target since it depends on where the ends are.

Aug. 08 2011 10:46 AM
Henry from Brooklyn, NY

Notwithstanding S&P's role in the mortgage mess, S&P should be congratulated for the downgrade.

The debt ceiling is effectively a mechanism for the U.S. to repudiate the country's "full faith and credit". Recent history show us that in fact we might just do that. I'm surprised that S&P did not downgrade us further.

Hopefully, the ratings action will kick some sense into the discussion.

Aug. 08 2011 10:44 AM

The Tea Party brigade were widely reported (not on NPR, predictably) cheering the downgrade of the US debt on Friday. This was also caught on video -- easily found on the net.

Imagine the hysterical media response if progressives were seen cheering bad news for the US.

Aug. 08 2011 10:44 AM
James from Brooklyn

And once again, defense spending is not even part of the conversation. So glad WNYC is finding the "middle ground."

Aug. 08 2011 10:43 AM
Mike Treder from Brooklyn, NY

Guest host Jami Floyd just said: "Of course, we're always searching for the middle here on the Brian Lehrer Show."

What is that supposed to mean? That a median course is always the best way? That the Left (or the Right) cannot possibly have better answers or fairer motives than the other side?

Have you really succumbed to the suffocating false equivalence of the standard media outlook? I've always counted on WNYC, and especially the Brian Lehrer Show, to be smarter and more principled than that. Shame on you.

Aug. 08 2011 10:41 AM
Ken from Little Neck

Caller Rick - bravo! You hit on the exact point that I think has really been brought into focus by the latest embarrassment in our political process. The confluence of money and influence in Washington has basically made it impossible for elected officials to represent the people who elected them. Washington now exists in a completely separate world from the rest of us, but what happens there has grave consequences for everybody else.

Aug. 08 2011 10:41 AM

Treasury yields will go nowhere but down as long as the Federal Reserve and Treasury continue to collude in their efforts to steal the savings of middle class Americans to fund our bloated federal budget and line the pockets of special interests and military contractors.

Aug. 08 2011 10:41 AM
Amy from Manhattan

It's not the "Tea Party's" insistence on reducing the deficit that's the problem, it's their insistence that no taxes must be raised to do it--& their definition of *any* increase in revenue as a tax.

Aug. 08 2011 10:40 AM
David from West Hempstead

Is your guest aware that treasury yields are down on the day? That they've been going down despite the bickering for the last month? That even 30-year bonds are hitting historic lows? Where are these bond vigilantes people keep talking about?

Aug. 08 2011 10:39 AM
Laura from UWS

Clinton left office with a budget surplus, so what is the problem? Think about it. Bush ran up a deficit with tax holidays for the wealthy and with wars which for the first time in history were not accompanied by raising revenues to pay for the war.

I'm afraid I'm finding your coverage sickeningly deficient. You failed to mention the confession of thuggish brinksmanship by Mitch McConnell along with the Replubicans' decades-long effort to kill The New Deal indirectly by running up deficits so that they can then say, Ooops! Nothing left for social spending.

Aug. 08 2011 10:38 AM
clajr from NYC

I'd say the downgrade has a strong political effect in support of severe austerity measures. So, wise investors may not lose their shirts, but ordinary citizens will pay the price in budget cuts.

Aug. 08 2011 10:33 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Have there been any differences among the rating agencies in how they rated things like mortgage-backed securities? Those ratings were paid for by the same financial institutions that were being rated--does anything analogous happen with ratings of the markets of entire countries? Who pays for those?

Aug. 08 2011 10:29 AM
Bill from Hempstead

Board members of S&P

Aug. 08 2011 10:28 AM

As a former long-term McGraw-Hill employee, Diane Brady is herself a stockholder in S&P. Isn't that a conflict of interest for her as a commentator on this subject?

Aug. 08 2011 10:25 AM

1. S&P has only existed for about 70 years. (Standard and Poors existed _separately_ before unifying in 1941)

2. When reporters say "first time in history" this is an invitation for Americans to hear "first time since 1776" -- nonsense. First time since the ratings game began about 80 or 90 years ago.

3. Japan was "downgraded" by S&P years ago. It may NO difference to Japan's ability to borrow OR on how the market evaluated Japan's ability to repay its debt.


The S&P move is a gamble to salvage its miserable reputation.

Aug. 08 2011 10:25 AM
Janine from NYC

To me the S&P and other rating agencies have absolutely NO credibility after their involvement in the 2008 financial crisis.

Aug. 08 2011 10:22 AM
Tawanda from Bronx

@ "john from office", it was Obama that came out with speeches talking about the impending doom of the downgrade and causing people and the markets to be scared out of some ridiculous political game of using fear to get what he wants. The Tea party was not to blame here as much as the white house is looking for a straw man.

Aug. 08 2011 10:21 AM
Ken from Little Neck

Nate Silver has his usual excellent analysis of the situation over at 538. His conclusion is basically that S&P historically have no idea what they're talking about in cases like these.

Aug. 08 2011 10:18 AM
john from office

Tea party is the best rational for a two party system. It will be distroyed by the Republican leadership.

Aug. 08 2011 10:17 AM
Tawanda from Bronx

Obama's lack of leadership during his tenure is incredible. We had a major hit to the prestige of the US and what is the administrations first move, go after the messenger (S&P) over some fake math issue, even though we know this deal does nothing to actually reduce debt, and then the tea party who had been warning about this for a number of years. He could have tried to use this disaster as a rallying point for the nation, but of course he didn't. I am at this point completely disillusioned by his presidency.

Aug. 08 2011 10:15 AM
john from office

I just have to listen to Bachmann speak on any subject of importance and will be voting Obama. And I am a republican, these people are frightening, children playing with matches.

Aug. 08 2011 10:11 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

@John (OBAMA 2012!!)

At first, of course, I thought that you were joking.
Then I realized that, as with many good folks out there, this is an (unfortunate) emotional over-reaction to a group that isn't even a real party or a solidly definable group. Axelrod and the Left have manufactured a straw group to give an otherwise disappointed Obama electorate a group to rally against in frustration.
The endgame is that, despite Obama's lackluster, even dismal performance in office (and one that very few would in their hearts say, "yes, 4 more years of this trauma"), people appear to hate the "Tea Party" more than they love their country and their children's future.

Aug. 08 2011 08:18 AM
john from office

Let us not forget that there are two other rating services that has the US as AAA.

Also, the tea party is to blame, all the infighting and politics cause d the world to see us as disfunctional. I will remember this when I vote in 2012.
OBAMA 2012!!

Aug. 08 2011 07:14 AM

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