U.S. Credit Downgrade:Another Obama First!

Ben Johnson,The White House Watch

Three years ago,many well-meaning Americans suspended concerns about Barack
Obama’s experience,judgment,and associations in order to vote for an
“historic”president. To paraphrase H.L. Mencken,they got one —good and hard. Friday
night,for the first time in history,Standard &Poor’s downgraded
the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+. The United States earned the top rating
the moment such rankings began in 1917 —which means we maintained our AAA rating
through the Great Depression,stagflation,malaise,and the 1982 recession. Thirty
months of Barack Obama,and it is gone for the first time in history. Change we
can believe in!

The retrogression is neither surprising nor is it the only “historic”first
The One has perpetrated against the United States. Obama cajoled Congress for
weeks that it had to pass a debt ceiling compromise by August 2 to avoid just
this occasion. But as Rep. Tom McClintock,R-CA,pointed
out
,“The purported cuts,even if realized,are far below the $4 trillion
deficit reduction that credit rating agencies have warned is necessary to
preserve the Triple-A credit rating of the United States government.”S&P
used precisely this language in its statement
about downgrading the United States,saying the resultant cuts fall “short of the
amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt
burden by the middle of the decade.”It faults political gridlock and the lack of
“containment”of entitlements. The same administration experts who insisted GOP
sellouts on the debt compromise would stave off Friday’s downgrade also insisted
passing a stimulus plan
would hold unemployment below eight percent
.

Even less surprising is the fact that the Obama administration actually
believed its rhetoric could stop the inevitable. When Standard &Poor’s began
hinting at its actions,anonymous officials began a whisper campaign that the
agency’s math was off. Jake Tapper reported
Friday evening,“Because of the pushback,the Obama administration is preparing
for the downgrade but is not 100% positive it’s going to happen,officials said.
And if the downgrade does happen,officials are not sure when it will
happen.”S&P downgraded the U.S. hours later. Choosing talk over action has
consequences,at home and abroad.

The consequences of his actions are unknown and foreboding. The new credit
rating may cause inflated interest rates to trickle down to states and
localities,or make all borrowing rates rise.

Economic growth would shrink the importance of the national debt —but such
growth is not expected as long as Obama is president. Economists expert growth
in debt,and its attendant economic disintegration,in the years to come. Under
most estimates,debt would amount to 88
percent of GDP
in ten years. S&P warns under its pessimistic
scenario,debt will reach
101 percent
of GDP in 2021. (AFP news service reported on Wednesday,that
U.S. borrowing topped
100 percent of GDP
.) Carmen Reinhart of the Peterson Institute for
International Economics testified
before the House Budget Committee in March that growth begins to slow noticeably
once debt crosses the 90 percent threshold. The European Central Bank suggested
negative impacts begin at the 70-to-80 percent level. Even the adoption of the
debt compromise spooked the stock market,causing a decline for nine out of the
past ten sessions,a streak not seen since
1978
when Jimmy Carter was president.

The other two ratings agencies,Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch
Ratings,are not likely to follow suit…at least,not
yet
. However,Moody’s has warned
the ratio would have to come down to 73 percent by 2015 “to ensure that the
long-run fiscal trajectory remains compatible with a AAA rating.”For its
part,S&P warned “a higher public debt trajectory than we currently assume
could lead us to lower the long-term rating again,”to AA,putting us on par with
such economic powerhouses as Spain
and Qatar
.

You Wanted Obama to Make History? He Has

This slide toward mediocrity is only the latest of a string of historic
firsts in Obama’s presidency. Yes,Obama was the first black president. He has
been called the first….

Read
more
.

Perry Leads Prayer Rally for ‘Nation in Crisis’

Perry Leads Prayer Rally for ‘Nation in Crisis’

By

HOUSTON — Standing on a stage surrounded by thousands of fellow Christians on Saturday morning, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas called on Jesus to bless and guide the nation’s military and political leaders and “those who cannot see the light in the midst of all the darkness.”

“Lord, you are the source of every good thing,” Mr. Perry said, as he bowed his head, closed his eyes and leaned into a microphone at Reliant Stadium here. “You are our only hope, and we stand before you today in awe of your power and in gratitude for your blessings, and humility for our sins. Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government, and as a nation we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for your forgiveness.”

In a 13-minute address, Mr. Perry read several passages from the Bible during a prayer rally he sponsored. Thousands of people stood or kneeled in the aisles or on the concrete floor in front of the stage, some wiping away tears and some shouting, “Amen!”

The rally was seen as one of the biggest tests of Mr. Perry’s political career, coming as he nears a decision on whether to seek the Republican nomination for president. While the event will be sure to help Mr. Perry if he tries to establish himself as the religious right’s favored candidate, it also opens him up to criticism for mixing religion and politics in such a grand and overtly Christian fashion.

In many ways, the rally was unprecedented, even in Texas, where faith and politics have long intersected without much controversy — the governor, as both a private citizen and an elected leader, delivering a message to the Lord at a Christian prayer rally he created, while using his office’s prestige, letterhead, Web site and other resources to promote it. Mr. Perry said he wanted people of all faiths to attend, but Christianity dominated the service and the religious affiliations of the crowd. The prayers were given in Jesus Christ’s name, and the many musical performers sang of Christian themes of repentance and salvation.

Mr. Perry, a lifelong Methodist who regularly attends an evangelical megachurch near his home in West Austin, has been speaking and preaching in sanctuaries throughout Texas since he was state agricultural commissioner in the 1990s. Organizers for the event, called The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, estimated that more than 30,000 people were at Reliant Stadium when Mr. Perry spoke. The seating capacity is 71,500, and tens of thousands of seats in the upper decks were empty.

“I wish you could see what I see here,” announced Luis Cataldo, a leader of the International House of Prayer, a Christian ministry in Kansas City, Mo., as the event began at 10 a.m. “This is the body of Christ.”

While those on the stage avoided making overt political statements or expressions of political support for Mr. Perry, many in the audience made it clear in interviews that they would vote for the governor should he enter the presidential race.

Liz Lara, 62, who lives in La Vernia, Tex., drove about 200 miles to Houston with her daughter and two grandchildren to attend the rally. She said the family came to support Mr. Perry and pray for God’s help in solving the nation’s problems. “I believe that God has prepared Rick Perry for such a time as this,” she said. “I believe he will be our next president.”

At one point, Mr. Perry asked those in the audience to pray for President Obama. “Father, we pray for our president, that you impart your wisdom upon him, that you would guard his family,” he said.

Mr. Perry addressed the crowd nine days after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against him by a national group of atheists arguing that his participation in the rally in his official capacity as governor violated the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state.

Members and supporters of that group, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, were among dozens of people protesting outside the stadium. Others included gay activists who criticized Mr. Perry for supporting the American Family Association, which organized and financed the rally. The association is a conservative evangelical group based in Mississippi that is listed as an antigay hate group by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.

Mr. Perry had invited his fellow governors to join him, but only Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican, attended. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida made a video statement that was played in the stadium.

Daniel Cadis contributed reporting.

By

HOUSTON — Standing on a stage surrounded by thousands of fellow Christians on Saturday morning, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas called on Jesus to bless and guide the nation’s military and political leaders and “those who cannot see the light in the midst of all the darkness.”

“Lord, you are the source of every good thing,” Mr. Perry said, as he bowed his head, closed his eyes and leaned into a microphone at Reliant Stadium here. “You are our only hope, and we stand before you today in awe of your power and in gratitude for your blessings, and humility for our sins. Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government, and as a nation we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that we cry out for your forgiveness.”

In a 13-minute address, Mr. Perry read several passages from the Bible during a prayer rally he sponsored. Thousands of people stood or kneeled in the aisles or on the concrete floor in front of the stage, some wiping away tears and some shouting, “Amen!”

The rally was seen as one of the biggest tests of Mr. Perry’s political career, coming as he nears a decision on whether to seek the Republican nomination for president. While the event will be sure to help Mr. Perry if he tries to establish himself as the religious right’s favored candidate, it also opens him up to criticism for mixing religion and politics in such a grand and overtly Christian fashion.

In many ways, the rally was unprecedented, even in Texas, where faith and politics have long intersected without much controversy — the governor, as both a private citizen and an elected leader, delivering a message to the Lord at a Christian prayer rally he created, while using his office’s prestige, letterhead, Web site and other resources to promote it. Mr. Perry said he wanted people of all faiths to attend, but Christianity dominated the service and the religious affiliations of the crowd. The prayers were given in Jesus Christ’s name, and the many musical performers sang of Christian themes of repentance and salvation.

Mr. Perry, a lifelong Methodist who regularly attends an evangelical megachurch near his home in West Austin, has been speaking and preaching in sanctuaries throughout Texas since he was state agricultural commissioner in the 1990s. Organizers for the event, called The Response: A Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis, estimated that more than 30,000 people were at Reliant Stadium when Mr. Perry spoke. The seating capacity is 71,500, and tens of thousands of seats in the upper decks were empty.

“I wish you could see what I see here,” announced Luis Cataldo, a leader of the International House of Prayer, a Christian ministry in Kansas City, Mo., as the event began at 10 a.m. “This is the body of Christ.”

While those on the stage avoided making overt political statements or expressions of political support for Mr. Perry, many in the audience made it clear in interviews that they would vote for the governor should he enter the presidential race.

Liz Lara, 62, who lives in La Vernia, Tex., drove about 200 miles to Houston with her daughter and two grandchildren to attend the rally. She said the family came to support Mr. Perry and pray for God’s help in solving the nation’s problems. “I believe that God has prepared Rick Perry for such a time as this,” she said. “I believe he will be our next president.”

At one point, Mr. Perry asked those in the audience to pray for President Obama. “Father, we pray for our president, that you impart your wisdom upon him, that you would guard his family,” he said.

Mr. Perry addressed the crowd nine days after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against him by a national group of atheists arguing that his participation in the rally in his official capacity as governor violated the First Amendment’s requirement of separation of church and state.

Members and supporters of that group, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation, were among dozens of people protesting outside the stadium. Others included gay activists who criticized Mr. Perry for supporting the American Family Association, which organized and financed the rally. The association is a conservative evangelical group based in Mississippi that is listed as an antigay hate group by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.

Mr. Perry had invited his fellow governors to join him, but only Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, a Republican, attended. Gov. Rick Scott of Florida made a video statement that was played in the stadium.

Daniel Cadis contributed reporting.

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