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Letters to the Editor

Fri., Oct. 7, 2011, midnight

Downgrade not that simple

Gail Oehl purported to resolve the back-and-forth between other readers over S&P’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, but I’m afraid she only muddied the waters (“Reality goes both ways,” Sept. 26).

Quoting from the S&P statement is fine; doing so selectively to alter its meaning is not. The statement goes on to say: “More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges. … The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.”

We all know who was responsible for the “brinksmanship” turning the “debt ceiling and the threat of default” into “political bargaining chips,” so it turns out the reader with whom Oehl disagreed was pretty fair in his assessment, and that “making up data,” as she charges, isn’t necessary to manipulate “reality.” She’s done so by simple omission.

Steven A. Wells


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