Braddock TV: The Difference Between a Problem and a Crisis

I got a lot of reaction to this week’s segment on CBS 11 News.  Some of it was positive.  Some was negative.  I was talking about the fact that the Tea Party is driving the agenda in Washington right now when it comes to the debt ceiling debate and whether the United States will go into default.  Take a look:

Now, I don’t see what I said as a criticism of the Tea Party, but it seems a lot of people took it that way.  Perhaps it was my tone.  I often get worked up on these high-stakes issues.

Here’s what one emailer, Ken, said:

I wanted to let you know that I found your assesment of what is happening in Washington to be completely one-sided.  As an individual asked to report on the facts of what is happening you took great liberties with your comments.  Your suggestion that it is the fault of the far right (TEA Party) that this has progressed to this point is a complete and utter misrepresentation.

Here’s my response to Ken:

Thanks for taking the time to write.  I appreciate it.  No one, not me or anyone I’ve heard, has said that the national debt is the fault of one side.  I think we can agree, because it’s factual, that huge deficits were run under President Bush and they have continued and frankly gotten worse under President Obama.

I think it’s important to point out there’s a difference here between the problem and the crisis.

Blame for the problem rests with leaders on both sides of the aisle, and I have said as much repeatedly.  But, what’s pushed this into crisis mode is the fact that some Republicans, specifically those supported by the Tea Party, refuse to budge in these negotiations.

I also said, during the segment you watched, that I’m not judging whether those on the far right are right or wrong, but my job as an analyst is to be honest with people about why things are happening as they are.  The simple fact is we would not have investors fearful of another 2008-style meltdown if it were not for for those Republicans who have so far refused to go along with their own leadership’s ideas for how to solve this crisis.

I also said that this may very well turn out to be a HUGE win for the Tea Party if this results in what they want:  Smaller government.

So far, conservatives have done a masterful job of taking something that’s traditionally been a “housekeeping” item and turned it into a real discussion about the size and scope of government.  They’ve outflanked President Obama, who failed to do what he should have politically done to get ahead of this, and now we’re in the middle of a national debate about the national debt.  That’s good.  What most people view as bad is risking a stock market crash and sky-high interest rates as a result of a downgrade in the nation’s credit rating.

As for who has a better plan, I’ll leave that to the elected leaders to come up with something.  They’re the ones chosen by the people to hopefully solve problems.  But, in my estimation, they were not elected to create a crisis.

All the best,

Scott Braddock

If you have thoughts as well, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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