M+ Magazine : The online magazine for geeky creatives, new talent and the digital natives. That’s youby Asha
M+ Magazine : The online magazine for geeky creatives, new talent and the digital natives. That’s you
Edited and Produced by Jane Mcconnell, supported by Future Artists LTD.
Extract From M+ (for full article click on the above link)
“All the president is, is a glorified public relations man who spends his time flattering, kissing, and kicking people to get them to do what they are supposed to do anyway.” So said the 33rd man to occupy that office, Harry Truman.
Those words seem especiallypertinent this week, when, but for a few hours, the down-to-the-wire sausage-assembly process that is legislating in Washington nearly caused the US to default on its debts for the first time in its history, blending President Obama into a bizarre hybrid of calm-the-markets PR man, and tough-talking political negotiator.
I must, rather like the father who has tried to manufacture enthusiasm in the life of a child who fails to reach his expectations, varnish this particular polished turd with a healthy wave of cynicism. I had, ready to send to my editor, a tongue-in-cheek yet optimistic article on ‘the complete idiot’s guide to the US election’, complete with humorous references to ‘walking just-for-men advert Mitt Romney’ as well as a particularly viscous (and therefore accurate) description of Sarah Palin’s intellect. But the shocking lack of scruples, judgement or even base understanding of core political situations exhibited, in particular, by the US House of Representatives in the past few days, has led me to write a different article, one which can be effectively summarised by the lament of Mercutio: “A plague on both your houses!” (of Representatives.)
Let’s begin the recounting of this sorry tale by looking at the basics. The United States, in order to fund its basic functions, needs money. It currently needs more then it has in the bank, so it needs to borrow more in order to keep its economy working. (The last time the US economy was in Surplus was in 2000, before expensive reforms of the tax system as well as two wars saw the costs of government soar.) There is a limit imposed on US borrowing, which has been renewed many a time in the past so that the country may borrow more without defaulting on its loans. Defaulting is bad. It can lead to the downgrading of the national credit rating, and send international markets into instability.
As a result of the ‘let’s treat the economy as a football’ approach that Congress has taken this time around when it came to raising the borrowing limit (also known as the debt ceiling), the US could have some credit rating agencies downgrade their triple-A status as a entity to lend to, a move which will increase interest rates on borrowing and inevitably cost the country more in the long run. Furthermore, had the country defaulted on its debt, the panic that would have ensued in the global financial system would have been sufficient to bring the world back to the stimulus-provoking terror of 2008. It has made the ‘trust my gut in the face of all evidence’ approach to politics by David Cameron look positively sound. (For evidence of which, I would offer the continued defence of Andy Coulson as exhibit A.)
The US treasury set a deadline of August 2nd for Congress to reach agreement on this matter. Not because it was being arsey, but because it was around then that the country would run out of funds. So when the Tea Party of the Republican Congress spat out their collective dummies, they directly contributed to the interest that will accrue on the US’s loans if its credit rating is downgraded. Good work, Teabags. (MORE AT M+)
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Featuring : Sheffield Doc Fest, Just do it film,
ISSUE 1: Paul Greengrass, Twitter, Camp Fire Theory
Issue 2: Lady Gaga, Ben Tallon, Social Networks,