Outlook not good

We’ll grant that it can be difficult to hear what’s going on in the rest of the country from Washington, D.C., but if something could cut through the tumult, it should have been Monday’s announcement that the United States’ credit rating is on a watch list.

It doesn’t take a lyricist for freecreditreports.com to make it clear that instead of “lookin’ fly and rollin’ phat,” the nation’s fiscal future is in grave doubt.

The credit rating service Standard & Poor’s said Monday that there is a 33 percent chance it will downgrade the rating on the nation’s debt in the next two years.

Standard & Poors just changed one word, lowering the long-term outlook for the country’s debt to “negative.” It had been “stable.”

To put it in more everyday terms, that’s like receiving a notice that the lender for your house thinks it’s less likely you’ll make the payments because your debts are getting out of control. Good luck, by the way, with the new car loan in a couple years, or borrowing for college. And by the way, don’t get sick.

We hope Congress and President Obama grasp the implications of this warning, which comes on the heels of a similar warning by the International Monetary Fund. Fortunately, a blueprint for actions was laid out by Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., with Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., sent a letter to President Obama signed by 64 sitting senators (32 Republican, 32 Democrats) specifically urging him to adopt the Simpson-Bowles plan.

Standard & Poor’s couldn’t make it much clearer: the sooner that happens, the better.


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