Standard & Poor's recent downgrade of the U.S. credit rating AAA to AA+ has caused some concern and even panic.
But some economists in California - a state rated A- by S&P - say it's no big deal.
"A half-point drop on a single rating by a single credit service means very little," said Ann Stevens, an economics professor at the University of California at Davis.
And Stevens lives in a state with a lower S&P rating than Spain and the same rating as Botswana and Aruba.
For economist Steve Levy of the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto, the S&P's downgrade was simply a political statement - a message of sorts to politicians.
"So in that sense, it doesn't mean anything," Levy said.
What makes sense, said Levy, is not worrying about a letter grade but worrying about the broader economy.
In California's case, S&P's A- rating has been in place since January 2010. That's one reason Californians pay the highest sales tax in the nation and the highest state income taxes in the nation on income above $46,000.
On top of that, the state is saddled with an unemployment rate of 11.8%.
But the state's treasurer says California has passed a balanced budget and made tough spending cuts, steps the state hopes will improve its credit rating.
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