Standard & Poor’s did it Friday. The U.S.-based financial services agency downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+. For the first time in history.
And surprise, surprise — the Democrats are blaming the Republicans for causing it and the Republicans are blaming the Democrats. In the headlines. In the news. In the interviews. Blame, blame, blame. Name-calling. Sound bites and talking points.
Almost lost in the din (or maybe deliberately ignored) is what the S&P report itself said:
We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate 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 and will remain a contentious and fitful process.
That’s right, Washington. You’re all to blame. This isn’t just about how the numbers add up; it’s about your extraordinarily unbusinesslike and irresponsible handling of the entire issue. The S&P is telling you that your schoolyard squabbling is not acceptable, that it is not the way this great nation should be conducting its business, and that your determination to continue your infantile approach to this serious matter is not acceptable. Your antics have been noticed, your paper has been graded. You do not listen in class. You do not play well with others. You do not use your time wisely. You do not get a top grade this semester.
Take note, Washington, because the whole world is watching.