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An excellent summary of the consequences of a lower credit rating for the U.S. government.
There is a lot of anger at the moment in the US over the embarrassment of the downgrade, as well as shock. I’m most amused by the shock, to tell the truth. S&P didn’t say anything yesterday that was not common knowledge and common sense. If you had to rate a potential investment that had an income of, say, $22,000 a year but had costs of $37,000 per year, a standing debt of $143,000, and contracted future debt that exceeded $1 million, would you give that investment a gold-plated AAA rating and buy their bonds at the lowest interest rate possible, or at all? Of course not, but that’s exactly the fiscal situation of the US, at a 100,000,000:1 scale.