S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating
August 5th, 2011
09:44 PM ET

S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating

[Updated at 9:44 p.m. ET] Referring to the Obama administration's contention that Standard & Poor's analysis of the government's finances was off by about $2 trillion, a Treasury Department spokesperson said: "A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself."

The Standard & Poor's rating agency announced Friday evening that it has downgraded the U.S. credit rating to AA+ from its top rank of AAA.

On Friday afternoon, hours before S&P publicly announced the downgrade, the agency revealed its plans to the Obama administration and sent an analysis to the Treasury Department. The senior administration official said the analysis inflated U.S. deficits by $2 trillion.

Treasury analysts contacted S&P and challenged the analysis, and S&P acknowledged the mistake, the official said. But S&P said it still would stick with its decision to downgrade the United States' credit rating, according to the official.

"This is a facts-be-damned decision," the senior official said. "Their analysis was way off, but they wouldn't budge."

The official the administration can do nothing now but hope that S&P's decision and analysis faces outside scrutiny.

"These guys make Congress look good," the official said of S&P.

[Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET] Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's on Friday downgraded the credit rating of the United States, stripping the world's largest economy of its prized AAA status.

In July, S&P placed the United States' rating on "CreditWatch with negative implications" as the debt ceiling debate devolved into partisan bickering.

To avoid a downgrade, S&P said the United States needed to not only raise the debt ceiling, but also develop a "credible" plan to tackle the nation's long-term debt.

In its report Friday, S&P ruled that the U.S. fell short: "The downgrade reflects our opinion that the ... plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

S&P also cited dysfunctional policymaking in Washington as a factor in the downgrade. "The effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges."

iReport.com: What does this mean for the U.S. economy? Share your thoughts on video.

[Initial post, 7:15 p.m.] The Standard & Poor's rating agency served the Obama administration with notice Friday afternoon that it planned to downgrade the U.S. government's AAA credit rating, an administration official told CNN.

But S&P has yet to make its ruling public, and the source told CNN the agency is reconsidering after the administration challenged S&P's analysis of the government's finances.

The source, a senior official involved in the discussions, said the agency was off by "trillions" in its economic model and was now working to revise its analysis.

S&P did not return repeated calls for comment.

The official described the talks as a "moving target" and said "it's clear some people there still want to go forward" and downgrade U.S. debt.

Rumors swirled for most of the day Friday that S&P was preparing to make its move. But even several hours after the market close, official notice had yet to materialize.

soundoff (678 Responses)
  1. Richard Scollon

    If anybody believes S&P isn't controlled by hard-core, Right-Wing Republicans, that would love to take this opportunity to attack President Obamma, please go back on your prescription Meds! Organized? Yes. Criminal? Maybe. Republican? Absolutely!

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Do not run real names. Ridiculous. "Required" was interpreted as "Honest", for you, not the public.

      August 5, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Really

    Great job, politicians. You are all fired! Wait for it.

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. fdadfsfs

    The problem expanded under Obama. It was just Lehman brothers in 2008. Now its the whole of America. Thanks for the bailout... really did some good.

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Actually, Obama's bailout DID do good, and the revitalization of the Big Three is perfect testament to that. Bush's bailout in Oct/08 had the potential to do a lot of good, but being the free market guy he is, didn't want to attach any real strings to a $ 900b handout. Moron.

      August 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • fdadfsfs

      you dont fix a tree by duct taping one of the branches..

      August 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • fdadfsfs

      I dont understand why people insist on blaming bush for america's problems during his presidency and cast a blind eye to obama during his. I guess America never really got past rac ism like a rookie driving oversteers into oncoming traffic.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Slowzuki

    The tide will turn... Obama will win the election, the house will have less republicans and dems will hold the senate... Just because any functional brain in America will know the facts.... The GOP can't hold their lies any longer

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gadsden

    This is FDR's fault. This has been coming for decades. The Tea Party is the only group in the room actually demanding that we live within out means. The reason S&P downgraded us is because we raised the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts. When you spend 40% more than you earn, it's not difficult to see why you are a credit risk.

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will S

      FDR? Really? Try Reagan and Bush...those 16 years account for a disproportionate amount of our debt.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DaveNYUSA

    And people thought Obama couldn't bring change!

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jb

      The tp express is nothing but a buck of idiots

      August 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Martha

    Ok teapartiers, you ignorant jerks, are you happy now!

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jb

    Thank you Tea Party for ruining the US

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Gee... and S&P is one of the agencies that rated the s**t Mortgage Securities as AAA ... Now downgrading TBills. Both makes them money.


    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    wow! so it's not Obama that's anti business but business that's anti obama

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. yepman

    It should serve as a wake up call to all. the good old days are over. In my opinion it is too much government regulation which is killing the entrepreneurial spirit. As a centrist, I think higher taxes on the millionaires is justified too.

    August 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. President Barack Obama

    Sorry guys! I tried my best. We will have a better plan in my 2nd administration if I get elected. We will make change then!

    August 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JS

    YAAAY! I love it!! SCAMerica corruption– down the tubes!! Time to file bankruptcy and start over and quit rewarding bad behavior. Stock market need to CRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Don

    S&P management ought be brought up on charges of treason.

    August 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jacobs

    senator mitch mcconell said "our main job is to deny obama a second term" tahnks mitch for working for the American people...NOT!!!

    August 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
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