Friday, April 22, 2011

Concept of the Day: DOUBLE STANDARD

Hey kids! Today's concept is: DOUBLE STANDARD. As in, "The Republicans seem to espouse a double standard when judging private sector and government sector finances."

The piece What's Good Enough for GE is Good Enough for the United States argues the point that S&P's downgrading of the U.S.'s credit rating was widely met with snorts and chuckling. Why?
Still, it’s true that federal debt held by the public has reached 60 percent of GDP, while tax revenues remain around 20 percent of GDP. 60 percent of GDP is a lot! And double, nearly triple, tax revenue! What would we call a company with outstanding debt double or even triple its revenues, and expected to keep the highest bond rating?

We would call it General Electric. As recently as 2007, GE had an S&P rating of AAA with outstanding debt at over three time revenues...

Even Transocean, which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig for BP, managed an A- rating prior to the spill, with a debt-revenue ratio similar to what the federal government has now. [J.W. Mason, New Deal 2.0]

We all know the conservative mantra, spouted ad nauseum from our Gret Stet of Looziana to the congressional halls of the Beltway: "Government should be run like a business!" As it turns out, the government is already run like a business. So thank you, Republicans. Your work here is done. You can all step down from your lives of public service now and go home.

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