Downgrading our politics

Malheureusement, nos démocraties sont gérées par des politiciens oligarchiques, ils s’éloignent de plus en plus du bien commun de leur peuple.


Extrait de: Downgrading our politics, G.I.,The Economist, Aug 6th 2011.

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Our economy is lubricated by a sophisticated and stable credit market whose most vital component is also the most ephemeral: trust. As the crisis amply demonstrated, when trust erodes, the system freezes up. America has built a reputation for responsible and credible management of its finances over the centuries, and that reputation has been reduced to a political football, like a federal judgeship. Henceforth a foreign pension fund or central bank that once mindlessly ploughed his spare cash into Treasurys will have to think twice.

I never had much sympathy for the view that America’s economy was about to be eclipsed by China’s, and the main reason was our political institutions. Those checks, balances and laws provide an orderly means to change course in response to new challenges. China’s authoritarianism deprives the government of a feedback mechanism to tell it when it is meeting the needs and aspirations of its people. That makes its system intrinsically fragile.

Events of the last few weeks have forced me to reconsider. While the crash of a high-speed train highlighted many of China’s ongoing weaknesses, it also revealed, in the vigorous reporting and commentary that followed in print and online, a nascent apparatus of accountability. Conversely, America’s ostensible success in avoiding default in fact highlighted the growing dysfunction of its political institutions.  If these events are portents of things to come, then the day when China displaces America as the world’s economic superpower is closer than I thought.


Les blogueurs

shubrook wrote:,Aug 6th 2011 5:40 GMT

Sadly, if the politicians were capable of learning the right lessons from the downgrade, S&P never would have needed to do it.

The roots of the dysfunction go far deeper than the floor of the house. I am not sure that congress can cure its own madness.

Strictly speaking wrote: Aug 6th 2011 7:41 GMT

If America stopped gerrymandering its voting districts, it would have fewer extremists in the House. Until that's fixed, it's hard to see where mature compromise will come from.

Remember, the difficulty is not that America doesn't know what needs to be done, or doesn't know how to do it. The problem is that America's political system is poorly designed - giving it political representatives without the right incentives to promote the long-term interests of the nation

XJGR3RbB3t wrote: Aug 6th 2011 9:08 GMT

I think you're a bit too optimistic and the reality is that Congress doesn't care at all what happens. It will only get worse as long we have a president that doesn't know how to lead or negotiate deals, and a congress that consists of extreme dysfunction on both sides and people who only care about the next election cycle rather than what really matters

napper6162 wrote: Aug 6th 2011 10:29 GMT

quote: "I never had much sympathy for the view that America’s economy was about to be eclipsed by China’s, and the main reason was our political institutions. Those checks, balances and laws provide an orderly means to change course in response to new challenges. China’s authoritarianism deprives the government of a feedback mechanism to tell it when it is meeting the needs and aspirations of its people. That makes its system intrinsically fragile."

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It's pretty obvious to me that the author of the article knows next to nothing about the gravity of America's financial nightmare. Equally obvious is the author's delusional take on the reality of America's corrupt and dysfunctional political system.

"Checks, balances and laws ..."?? I almost fell out of my chair after reading that line. How many times has the debt ceiling been raised?? How long (measured in decades) has America's reckless, out of control spending been going on?? How many times has the US Constitution been raped by Congress, the White House, the Pentagon, and the Supreme Court??

With such ignorant (if not propagandist) writers in the press, it's no wonder most Americans are equally, if not more, clueless and ignorant.

jgress wrote: Aug 6th 2011 2:35 GMT

The Economist has gone absolute bat-shit crazy as have most of the commenters here.

The debt deal has done nothing in the way of addressing the debt deal, and was political brinkmanship to cater to the voters of both parties. All the while Republicans and Democrats alike are really interested in appeasing special interest groups that control them.

The establishment is still very much in control. The only deal achieved was an agreement that our PROJECTED debt should be a mere 2.4 trillion dollars less than what it might otherwise be - when it's beginning to look increasingly likely it will be even larger than that. The deal is less than 10% of a massive debt we expect to have down the road.

The credit-rating could've been saved if the politicians have been serving the interests of the people and not special interest groups.

·        A complete and immediate freeze of real growth in Federal expenditure - this would mean nominal rises in expenditure, but in real terms it would remain the same.

·        Tax reform - elimination of tax-breaks, simplification of the tax-code and lower progressive taxes for our nation's most productive (what the media call, wealthy).

·        Deportation of illegal immigrants to reduce the labor supply at the lower end of the labor market - to improve the lot of uneducated workers of whom we already have millions - as if we needed 12 millions Central Americans who can't speak English to exacerbate our own massive social problems.

·        A 25% import tariff on goods from nations who artificially depreciate their currencies against the dollar and with whom we have large, continous trade-imbalances.

It is the productive of this nation that will pull the rest of us up with the fruits of their labors. Conditions for them must be improved in order for us all to benefit.