Bright side to financial mess

Published 11:04 am Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Daily Herald editorial

There may be a silver lining to the clouds that have gathered over the United States’ economy this summer. It may be that enough danger signs have finally accumulated that even a Congress and president obsessed with partisan infighting, election fundraising and short-term voter approval will step up and provide some much-needed leadership.

As Congress began its summer vacation last week, shortly after reaching a short-term debt deal that is so full of holes that it will surely fail to produce tangible results, stocks began to plunge. Then bond-rating agencies down-rated the nation’s credit rating — a shock that was once almost beyond imagining: The world’s greatest power having credit problems. More uncertainty in the stock market immediately followed. No one should ever look to Wall Street for rational behavior, but it’s hard not to see this month’s financial woes as a judgment on just how poorly Congress and the White House are doing their jobs.

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The best outcome now would be if Congress and the president get back to work on meaningful, long-term reforms — a plan to fix the nation’s looming debt crisis, an energy policy, useful health care laws. None of those will be easy and none can be done without “breaking some eggs,” as the saying goes. But it has become clear that telling voters what they want to hear, and doing what short-sighted contributors and voters want, is going to land our national in real trouble.

There’s a storm gathering, but it is not too late to take action.