As I’m sure you know, on Friday afternoon Standard & Poors reduced America’s credit rating from AAA, to AA, essentially a demotion in the credit worthiness of the United States. This will have a range of effects on all of us primarily through a rise in interest rates, lord knows credit card companies will use any excuse to jack our rates up. The downgrade is not all that unexpected and while it certainly is a slap at how ineffective congress has been, it may also be a cover your ass move by Standard & Poors, they had Lehman’s Brothers well rated right up to the moment it failed and kicked off the financial crisis. So they want to make sure they don’t look bad again.
Like me you are probably all pretty sick of the around the clock news coverage of this and the same old story, over and over again. We were downgraded, what will it mean, will the stock market freak out? Ok, we got it the first 26 times.
For me there is a bigger historical issue well at hand. Over the last forty years we have seen more and more control of our lives and our governments by corporations. They have infiltrated every sector of our life, their lobbyist have changed laws and distorted the truth, think nicotine is not addictive and smoking doesn’t cause cancer. Or how about all the current natural gas commercials about how natural gas fracking is a clean,safe and effective way to help our energy needs, take a look at this before you buy that one. http://zdeaconblue.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/natural-gas-fracking-in-the-news/
The bigger issue here for me is that Standard & Poors’ has said they are downgrading the US because congress didn’t go far enough in dealing with our national debt. They are certainly correct about that but this is a credit rating corporation telling us how to run our country, and holding it hostage by its credit rating. Much like the Tea Party folks just did with the debt ceiling increase. At least the Tea Party are elected American officials and not a multi-national corporation. Why this is significant to me is that this is the first time a corporation has publicly directed the United States of America to take a specific action. Now, the action may be in our best interest, but it is disconcerting to see the most powerful country on Earth be directed by a company.
All of this starts to make me think about the movie Rollerball, not the bullshit remake, but the one from the 70’s with James Caan and John Houseman, where the world has been taken over and run by the corporation. The takeover has been going over for years but this is the first really overt action, maybe I’m just running with a dystopian, paranoid fantasy here, or maybe it’s prophetic. Maybe your grandkids will read about this in textbooks, or maybe it will be carefully edited out, who knows?