Debt upset!

This was — so far — the granddaddy of the fabled Friday document drops. Standard and Poor’s downgraded the USA’s long-term credit rating from AAA to AA+, in the bargain marking its outlook negative. The full report is here.

Are you surprised? I’m not.

Are you outraged? I am.

This ignominy was influenced by the recent debt ceiling sideshow, but it’s deeper than that. Such follies of governance, accourding to S&P, “indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed.” In other words, our elected and unelected federal overlords have screwed up, are screwing up, and are expected to continue screwing up.

S&P further sees “America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed.” Are you outraged yet???

I work for a company that takes its fiscal responsibilities very seriously. When times are tough, we cut back. One of the annual highlights for the senior executive team is the trek to New York to meet with the credit agencies, followed by anxious waiting for a maintaining of, or perhaps even a small upgrade in, the company’s credit rating. I am certain that if performance were poor enough to merit a downgrade on the basis of past performance, the Board of Trustees would have serious discussions about firing said team for cause.

It’s time to have the same discussions about our country’s executive team, and our Congressional legislators as well.


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