The Universal Notebook: Blame it on the poor, Standard & Poor's, that is

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Let’s face it, I don’t know squat about the U.S. economy. You don’t know squat about the U.S. economy either. We just do our jobs. We work hard. We pay our bills. We pay our taxes. It’s not our faults the economy is in a tailspin and taking us down with it.

A quarter of the mortgaged homes in the country are underwater, meaning they are no longer worth what the owners owe on them. The price of gas is not coming down any time soon. The price of everything else is going up exponentially. Young people can’t find jobs and old people can’t afford to retire. Savings have been drained. IRAs have tanked. Investments have evaporated. American cities and towns are going bankrupt. And austerity measures in Europe are causing riots in the streets. We better hope the poor in this country don’t figure out that 1) the rich are getting richer, 2) the rich are not creating new jobs, and 3) the rich are not paying their fair share.

The national debt is on the rise. America can’t pay its bills. But the U.S. Congress, scared to death of a handful of tea party twits, refused to raise any new revenues despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans want to end the Bush era tax breaks for the wealthy and raise taxes on the rich.

The tea party poopers, however, seem to have persuaded weak-minded congressional leaders that the poor are somehow to blame for the lousy economy. They can’t pay the mortgages on homes they couldn’t afford in the first place. They’re lazy. They get unions to make exorbitant demands for them. They have no incentive to get off the liberal welfare system. They soak up tax dollars and contribute nothing. Half of them are illegal aliens. The other half are Muslim extremists bent on imposing Sharia law and ushering in a worldwide caliphate. Welcome to tea party Amerika!

The fact that the U.S. has been fighting the Third World War on credit for 10 years now apparently has nothing to do with the mess we’re in. Nor, for that matter, does it seem to occur to the conservative cowboys and cowgirls in congress that the very people who are supposed to know something about the U.S. economy know less than you and I do — meaning less than squat.

The proximate cause of the plunging stock market in recent days was Standard & Poor’s decision to lower the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+. People who invest in the stock market, meaning people who don’t work for a living like you and me, panicked and fled the market.

The S&P 500 folks will tell you they were simply responding to the irresponsible congress that almost allowed the U.S. to default. Remember, those tea party pirates are the same folks who wanted to let every bank in the country go belly up rather than bail them out with tax money. They’d rather the country come crashing down around their ears than 1) resort to socialism or 2) raise taxes on their rich masters.

But did the bean counters at Standard & Poor’s really think the American people would forget that they are the same duplicitous dolts who gave AAA ratings to worthless investments such as securities backed by subprime mortgages? The reason we’re in the mess we’re in today is very much Standard & Poor’s fault. Just ahead of them in line are George “Asleep at the Wheel” Bush, Goldman Sachs and the Republican Party.

If I weren’t philosophically opposed to incarceration for economic crimes, I’d be urging the government to back paddy wagons up to Standard & Poor’s, Goldman Sachs, and GOP headquarters to haul those shiftless mendicants off to jail for crimes against the American people.

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Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Yarmouth. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.