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. Ourselves to Blame

    We as Americans are to blame. We scream that corporations go off shores to produce their goods, but we saddle them with tons of regulations. We then say we need higher wages for our jobs. These costs are transitioned into higher costs for consumer products, but then we as Americans go to some super-store and buy goods made in China or Indonesia. We then question why our corporations are moving off shore.

    Corporations then lay people off in the U.S. The overall tax base decreases. More people on unemployment or government benefits, who elect people that want to extend those benefits. We then increase taxes on those who earn money and start businesses to pay for the increased expenditures, which drives them to stop opening businesses in the U.S.

    Taxes do need to go up some ... for everyone. Spending needs to come down ... everywhere. We have to accept this as all Americans or there will be nothing left for us to hold onto in terms of the American dream.

    August 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • fdadfsfs

      its people like you that make for the reasons on a union

      August 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • becker

      Exactly right. Though Dems think the answer is to just tax more so they can give away more.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. watcher

    Obama hip hopped while the U.S. credit rating dropped.

    August 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Why idiots are always ready to blame others? Why don't learn first why this happened before you start shooting hot air from your ugly hips, Dopey.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. obamayakyak

    The deficit is what this is all about. That is what all of the rating agencies are saying. It has nothing to do with the battle over the debt limit. But Mr. Obama is pushing the debt limit angle because he wants unlimited spending to all of his Progressive/Marxist/Dem worshipers even if it does destroy us financially.

    August 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • outsider

      Actually, it is widely accepted that America has a lot of borrowing power left. Your dysfunctional government that was taken over by a bunch of ideological people who have forgotten how to govern by consensus is why you got downgraded (you might want to look consensus in the dictionary of you don't know what it means)

      August 5, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. steveNYC

    Morons think that if a bill was passed a month sooner this wouldn;t have happened? that is so funny because the dems bill would have increased the debt even further! DEBT is why we were downgraded.

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

    Way to go Tea Party & Republicans! The President tried to get a deal with 3 trillion in cuts & 1 trillion in revenue & that would have prevented this. But, nooooooo, the Tea Party & John Boehner walked out and stuck with their ridiculous "pledges" instead of doing what was needed.

    August 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. steveNYC

    Thank you TEA PARTY for changing the debate from "How much more to spend" to "spending LESS". The haters defend the FAILED DEM POLICIES by throwing false blame. NO ONE BELIEVES THEM! IT IS FUNNY!!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. stan

    The tea party owns this,they are truly not intelligent enough to realize that taxes are needed to get the economy moving.Like the age old axium "You have to invest money to make money"

    August 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Doug

    It's time for the President to call Congress back to DC for an emergency session to get at the defiicet issue-no waiting for the Group of 12 to do the "work". Oh by the way,, the president will have to stop campaigning long enough to see this through to a successful endstate.

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

    "The report said the reason for the impending downgrade was partly a lack
    of confidence in lawmakers to agree to further U.S. debt reduction and
    confusion surrounding the process of raising the debt ceiling."

    This doesnt concede a problem with congress. They wanted more cuts. It was the democrats who prolonged this event.

    August 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • outsider

      Look up the word consensus. If you all had agreed to a balanced approach (the consensus between the democrats and those republicans who had not sold their soul to the tea party and signed that stupid tax pledge). You would have had 4 Trillion in deficit reduction and shown the world that you can function as an effective democracy. Instead, you played this crazy "my way of the highway" bit and ended up looking like stupid, self centred idiots in front of the world. The sad part is that many of you will never get it.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. iwitness

    ahah yes they are censoring the board, jsut like fox

    August 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. steveNYC

    Why do socialists. liberals, communists HATE the Tea Party? Because Tea Party Patriots believe in FREEDOM, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, SMALLER GOVERNMENT, Individualism!!!! It is SOOOOO Obvious!

    August 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Because they are uneducated racist CULT.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. john

    Global Economic Collapse to ensure shortly....

    August 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. iwitness

    No deficit, just alot of thieves, when will you understand that.

    August 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DAVID

    Massive deficit incurred by george bush and whose interests we have been paying on? yeah thanks george bush...for you legacy to America and our grandkids more debts and higher interest rates...

    August 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lack of Leadership - Obama Sucks

    It starts at the top and he owns it, but he has no cue what to do. We are paying taxes, huge market declines, property values, friends out of work. What a great presidenicy. We cant afford another year.

    I always like his stmts we need to tigthen our belt then spends millions taking his wife to dinner in CHI when White House Chefs are good enough. He is like Paris Hilton will Daddys new credit card.

    August 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
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