The European Central Bank Blames the Tea Party

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 4 2011 3:21 PM

The European Central Bank Blames the Tea Party

If you are able to grin and get past the least perceptive quote of all time (turns out America is important globally!) it sounds like Jean-Claude Trichet is blaming congressional mucking-around for the extra jitters in the markets.

Mr. Trichet also said that uncertainty created by the U.S. budget debate had unsettled European markets. “It’s clear the entire world is intertwined,” he said. “What happens in the U.S. influences the rest of the world.”

Excuses, excuses, and a little bit of truth. Investors were mostly banking on a deal up until the last 36 hours before it was cut. There was a spike in uncertainty right after the House failed to round up votes for John Boehner's first debt compromise. Both Democrats and Republicans were complicit in delaying that bill, but only conservatives bragged about it.

So if you want to believe Trichet, you can bemoan the fact that the Tea Party dragged this process out for another day or so. I choose not to believe Trichet. Every other country that matters in this scenario is going through the same spasms as the U.S. France is talking up a balanced budget rule in its constitution. So is Germany. The UK is miles ahead of us on the austerity path.

Meanwhile, I'm already seeing signs of how activists will build on their opposition to the debt deal, as it inevitably does nothing for the economy. Duane Sand, a perpetual candidate who wants to deny the GOP its pick in the North Dakota U.S. Senate race, is making that the focal point of his bid.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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