'The Downgrade'

At least for the forseeable future, it has entered the American consciousness to the point where it can be listed among the pantheon of other events memorable enough to be preceeded only by that simplest of modifiers. Now, along with 'The Catch,' 'The Flip,' and 'The Shot' we have 'The Downgrade.'

Ok, maybe famous events from sports history are not a perfect peer group for the first sovereign debt rating cut in US history. Of course there were fans on the losing end of all of those memorable events, but at least fans of the winning teams had something to celebrate. On the contrary, almost no one is celebrating in the aftermath of The Downgrade (the alleged example of one particular trader notwithstanding). That isn't to say that there is absolutely no correlation to The Downgrade from the sports world...

The sports world's answer to 'The Downgrade?'

If the action itself wasn't entirely expected, the reactions from politicians in the aftermath of the ratings cut have been predictable. Sunday morning news programs were abuzz with finger-pointing and recriminations by pols against members of the party opposite, members of their own party, the President, the boogeyman that is Europe and the ratings agency which made the the downgrade call, S&P.

Tellingly, these latter statements tended to be some of the most venemous as S&P analysts were reminded ad nauseum that they missed calling the housing bubble and had their math skills questioned. However, even if S&P miscounted by a few trillion, the alternative explanation it ultimately gave for making the downgrade is no less valid.

In citing the political process itself for downgrade, S&P seems to have hit a little too close to home with the nation's lawmakers, but it gave a tangible manifestation to the frustrations that so many Americans felt during the debt crisis. In other words, a price was put on the idea that uncertainty is no longer going to be accepted when it comes to political dealings on Capitol Hill. Here's hoping that someone in Washington was listening and that as many efforts are put into fixing the economy as have been made in blaming others for harming it. We won't be holding our breath...

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