The United States recently had its credit rating downgraded, a decision that could have sprawling financial impacts on average Americans. But rather than working to fix the problems, both Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other for the downgrade. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: The United States recently had its credit rating downgraded. It’s a decision that could have sprawling financial impacts on the average American. But rather than working to fix the problem, both Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other for the downgrade. I have Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins joining me. Probably the best, absolutely the best progressive commentator in the business. That’s what I think of you, I actually think you are the best commentator in this business.

Farron Cousins: That means a lot. Thank you.

Mike Papantonio: So I wanna know what your take is on this. I see it looks like a food fight, doesn’t it? Fitch says, look, we haven’t downgraded you. Biden is, it’s like musical chairs. Biden is the guy that’s in charge when this happens. He’s, you know, and all of a sudden the Democrats say, no, this is, this was Trump. This happened because of January 6th, two and a half years ago. And understand, they do these ratings like quarterly.

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: So if it would’ve been January 6th, I think they would’ve downgraded by now. Let’s talk about it though.

Farron Cousins: It is funny because when happened, you know, all the liberal sites I checked, they all say, look at this, Republicans, it’s January 6th. They’re responsible for this. Their attempted shutdown of the government. It did this. You look at the conservative media sites, oh, look what the Democrats have done with the spending, the outta control spending. So both sides have said, it’s not us, it’s these guys.

Mike Papantonio: But let’s go to what they said. Let’s go to what Fitch said. I mean, let’s, and then talk about it. Fitch said, look, it is, they made a list and it is spending. It was one of the, Fitch is one, first of all, Fitch is one of the big three credit ratings. It’s an important story. They expected fiscal deterioration over the next several years. That was in there. High government deficit burden because of crazy spending. And that’s Republicans and Democrats spending like drunk sailors on a weekend, you can’t say that was just Democrats. Republicans had to vote for it too. They had the right to stop it if they didn’t want to do it. Last minute resolutions on debt limits. Children in a food fight. All, well, let’s wait till the last minute to see if we still are in business. And deterioration of governance. But, you know, deterioration of governance is pretty evident. They can’t even be in a room without like being children fighting over nothing. Everything’s so tribal and divided. Fitch looks at it and says, my God, who is, it looks like Home Alone. We’re not interested in a Home Alone series. Right?

Farron Cousins: Well, and I think it may be the last thing on the list, but I really think that is the most important because that is the one that represents the worst trend that we see right now in politics. It is almost impossible for Democrats to get Republicans to go along with their legislation or Republicans to get Democrats to go. Nobody wants to work with the other side because it has become more tribal. And you and I have been doing this for over 20 years, we haven’t seen it like this. Even during the bush years, we did not have this much of a divide in Congress.

Mike Papantonio: You know what I think is funny? We have comments that come through our staff. Our staff shows us a comment every now and then. And the comment is, you got me and they got you. Now, first of all, we’re friends. We disagree with a lot of things, but we don’t yell at each other. We respect each other. And the people can’t stand that. When I say something that might sound middle of the road, they say, by God, Farron, why didn’t you jump in there and beat him up? Because that’s not how it ought to go. We ought to be able to carry on a conversation. But these numb nuts, these, I don’t know how else to describe it, absolute numb nuts, believe that everything has to be conflict. And that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins: Yeah.

Mike Papantonio: You’re saying that in politics, that’s where we are right now. And Fitch said, that’s dysfunctional. That’s a lack of governance. Along with the fact that you’re wasteful spending. Along with the fact that you have $10 trillion in new spending. Along the fact you’re buying bombs for Ukraine like it’s yesterday, you know, like you’ve gone crazy. We’re just in this situation where Fitch looks at the whole picture and says, this scares the hell out of us and we’re gonna downgrade you.

Farron Cousins: Yeah. And about that whole, the tribalism thing, we’ve always seen that with the public. You know, it’s something you and I have had dealt with the whole time we’ve been doing this. But this is really one of the first times we’ve seen it this bad in Congress. And that’s where it becomes this really big problem. And people have to understand when our credit rating gets downgraded as a country, that means other countries are not going to wanna buy up our debt. It could drive up our interest rates, pricing you out of buying a car or a house, or even a refrigerator. This will impact not the people in DC causing it. This will impact you and you the consumer, you the voter, at some point you have to look at the decisions you’re making every time you step in that polling booth and I’ve been saying this a lot recently, but y’all have to take responsibility for what you’re voting for.

Mike Papantonio: Oh, absolutely. And the other part of the responsibility is too, don’t dare send a comment to this site and say, Pap, why didn’t you jump on Farron about this? Farron, why didn’t you jump on Mike? Because we’re not frigging children. Because we can think, we don’t think like a five-year-old. That’s why we don’t do that. But unfortunately, the general public, it’s all tribal. Oh my God, he said this, why didn’t you beat the hell out of him about it? That’s the mentality out there right now. And it’s all a reflection of what’s happening in Washington. And Fitch sees it and it scares the hell of Fitch.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.