The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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The Credit Gods

Just suppose you had a good credit score of 760, but you want to improve it to 800, an excellent score which few people achieve. So, you hire a financial planner, who tells you where to live, who to have dinner with, who your kids should play with, where your spouse should shop, what church you should attend, etc. Expecting to see your credit rise, it drops to only 650. What happened?

For the second time, one of the big international credit agencies (Fitch) has lowered the credit rating of the United States. It is not a question of whether we can write a check to pay our debts – we can! It is a question of whether we can agree to write the check. In other words, the inability of our politicians to agree on anything is hurting our creditworthiness. Who led us astray?

I nominate Newt Gingrich, who railed about Congress being too collegial. It should be a place of combat, he argued. He urged congressman to stay with their own kind, their own party, avoiding dinner with members of the other party, avoiding weekend family cookouts with opposing members, just get mad and FIGHT! He was a better coach than a Speaker!

Is it a big deal that Fitch downgraded our credit? Not really! It’s a bigger deal in theory than in practice. Don’t lose any sleep over this! It’s more appropriate to be annoyed than frightened!