U.S. Loses AAA Credit Rating

By Rep. Mike Sanders

The fears I mentioned in last week’s column have come true. Citing the lack of adjustments to federal entitlement programs, credit rating agency Standard & Poor has downgraded our government’s AAA rating to an AA plus rating. This will not only affect how much the government pays to reduce our significant deficit, but will also slowly leak into the private sector. The new rating will limit the number of personal, agriculture and small business loans available. A college education will be more daunting as interest rates on student loans increase. The home mortgage crisis will get worse. The price of food, which has already risen because of the drought, will go up even further, along with the price of fuel and diesel.

It is embarrassing to be admonished by the Chinese government, who issued a press release telling the American government to live within its means. I have also heard that we are considered economically weaker than Germany, France and Australia. The U.S. has had an AAA rating since 1917, the same year Standard & Poor was created.

Representing a huge portion of the U.S. federal budget, the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs grow every year. Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicare program made things that much worse. The stimulus did not bring us out of the recession and contributed to our current debt. We have been forced into a place where we can no longer hold our most important entitlement programs harmless and still hope to balance the budget and reduce our deficit.

I am aware that Oklahomans are among those Americans who have paid into these programs and depend on them. I believe that we owe them their Social Security and their Medicare. We will have to make changes to the benefits the younger generations receive in order to make these programs solvent in the long-term.

Political leaders in Washington need to have the integrity to be honest with themselves and the American people on what has to be done to balance our budget. Increasing taxes is not the answer, especially in our current economic climate. In order for you to be able to take care of your needs and your family, the face of American government is going to have to change. There is hope, we should work to reduce our spending by another $3 trillion to start and pass a balanced budget amendment this fall. This will help our country recover some stability.

I know school is starting again. I wish superintendents, teachers and students a productive and fun-filled school year.

I look forward to new constituent requests that I can turn into legislation next year. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.