Editorial Roundup: The governing chaos, disruption costly for U.S.

Published 8:50 pm Friday, August 25, 2023

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Why it matters: Shutting down government shouldn’t be a way to settle policy differences.

The U.S. Congress continues to be stuck in the throes of conflict instead of compromise. And that can’t be good for most Americans.

The GOP House Freedom Caucus seems intent on shutting down government to get concessions for its members, who make up a minority of the Republican caucus. The group unveiled demands Monday that include building a bigger border wall, cutting funding for the Ukrainian war, cutting federal spending from limits agreed to earlier by the Republicans, and addressing “weaponizing” of the justice department and the FBI.

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If those demands are not met, the caucus says it will not provide Speaker Kevin McCarthy the votes to keep the government open past the Sept. 30 deadline. That comes on the heels of a compromise deal that McCarthy made with President Joe Biden earlier this year to raise the debt ceiling. Democratic votes pushed that reasonable compromise over the finish line. The agreement pushed the debt limit off for two years but also cut spending by $1.5 trillion.

But such chaos in Congress has led Fitch credit rating agency in August to downgrade the U.S. credit rating from its top AAA rating to AA+.

The rating agency noted a decline in “governance” and said: “The repeated debt-limit political standoffs and last-minute resolutions have eroded confidence in fiscal management,” according to a report by the Associated Press.

We’ve argued time and again that America doesn’t work when parties are unwilling to compromise. But now there is real taxpayer money involved. While experts say the downgraded credit rating will not necessarily raise interest rates, banks are independent agencies who can do what they want according to the risk they perceive.

And lately, American governance is looking more and more like a risk. There remain long term problems like financing of Medicare and Social Security that a divided and chaotic Congress is unlikely to address anytime soon. That too, figures into the U.S. credit rating.

Many an elected official vows fiscal responsibility, but the rating agencies are not believing it. Sooner or later, that will cost the taxpayers money.

— Mankato Free Press, Aug. 23

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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