Our Opinion: Politicians capitalize on frustration they created

Politics reign while people suffer.

Elected officials are scrambling amid falling markets, a sputtering economy and rampant unemployment to bolster their campaign coffers.

An Associated Press story Tuesday was headlined “Obama seeks political opportunity in debt crises.” The report of his fundraising efforts for re-election in 2012 quoted the president as saying: “The good news is that I think there has been enough frustration at Washington, sort of reached a fevered pitch last week, that we’re now looking at 16 months in which there’s going to be a clear contrast and a clear choice.”

Obama will not be the only politician — nor will Democrats be the only political party — attempting to capitalize on the fever pitch of frustration they created among the American people.

Their behavior is shameful, although not unexpected.

As Democrats and Republicans, the president and congressmen, squabbled and harangued about raising the debt ceiling, cutting spending and increasing taxes, warnings were sounded about the potential repercussions if the U.S. defaulted on its financial obligations. Those cautions included a possible downgrade of our nation’s AAA credit rating.

Our elected leaders — who perpetuated deficit spending that now totals a national debt exceeding $14.5 trillion — finally reached agreement as the deadline loomed.

Their efforts, however, were not universally satisfying. Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s recently lowered our rating for the first time in history. That downgrade has been followed by a precipitous drop in the stock market, not only on Wall Street, but worldwide.

The Standard & Poor’s action has been criticized as political, and rightfully so. The agency admitted as much when it cited “the difficulties of bridging the gulf between the political parties” on a deficit reduction plan.

In a commentary published on the July 29 Opinion page, columnist Dan Thomassen made a case for “throwing the rascals out — all of them.”

His case is strengthened by politicians who stand on the backs of the American people to reach for campaign cash.

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