S&P’s Prescient Warning on America’s Fiscal Unpredictability

S&P Global Ratings is proving to be a better predictor of U.S. partisan political discord than an adjudicator of creditworthiness in the eyes of the bond market.

Almost six years after revoking its AAA rating for the U.S., the credit arbiter’s rationale for the downgrade remains eerily prophetic. Another showdown over the debt ceiling looms, with the Treasury poised to run out of money by early October unless lawmakers agree to extend the statutory limit on the nation’s borrowing.

Back in August 2011, S&P warned that “the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policy making and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned.” The fact that some lawmakers were willing to let the government default despite the unquestionable ability of the U.S. to service its debt was even more worrisome to S&P.

What’s confounding this time around is



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