Whether this will serve as any kind of a trigger, I'm more doubtful about, because as you heard from other members of the panel, S&P's credibility is not all it might be. I agree with George and Mellody. I don't think the impact of this, after perhaps a little bit of volatility, is going to be all that great on the average American.
But I would also say that it is a really embarrassing day, whether you like S&P or not, for America to not be AAA anymore, when places like France and the U.K. are. And if you talk to S&P -- as everybody has sort of indicated, but let me underscore it -- their biggest issue between us and a place like the U.K., which put in place an austerity program, is whether we have the political will to put in place an austerity program that will turn, as you heard from the S&P fellow, the long-term curve down in the out-years, and we have not done that yet.
AMANPOUR: As we show some of the other countries that are still AAA, I just wanted to ask you, Congressman Chaffetz, you know, people are saying that what is really an issue is leadership. They're seeing this huge economic crisis and markets are looking for safe havens and they're not finding leadership to match the big economic challenges ahead, and they're also saying that, look, let's face it, the Tea Party successfully used default as a weapon, publicly bringing us to the brink of catastrophe before pulling back, plus politicians have shown a willingness to gamble with the nation's economy. Is there, do you think, an overstepping of -- of the boundaries? And how can one trust politicians to pull it back?
CHAFFETZ: No, I -- well, I think we're exemplifying the idea that Washington, D.C., doesn't understand that we have a debt crisis. This wasn't about the debt ceiling. It's the fact that we have a debt crisis.
I argued back in 2007 that if we're going to continue to be the world's economic and military superpower, we're going to have to change the way we do business. It's about fiscal discipline, limited government, accountability and a strong national defense.
And I wasn't the only one who got here because we espoused those principles. So in many ways, we're going to try to vilify those that are pointing out what those of us in the heartland already know. We're spending too much money...
AMANPOUR: And debt is now established as a conversation. People do know that you have a debt crisis and you have to deal with it. The question is -- and you, I think -- I don't know whether you want to say this, but you called the congressman an economic terrorist.
RATTNER: Not -- not the congressman personally. I did say -- I did say that I thought those who essentially were tried to hold up and bring the U.S. to the brink of default without being reasonable in their compromise -- look, the president was willing to go more than halfway. He was willing to go 75 percent of the way in a package that would have both revenues...
CHAFFETZ: No, we...