After Standard & Poor's downgraded the long-term credit rating of the U.S. government from AAA to AA+, reaction poured in from politicians:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.:
“The action by S&P reaffirms the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines spending cuts with revenue-raising measures like closing taxpayer-funded giveaways to billionaires, oil companies and corporate jet owners. This makes the work of the joint committee all the more important, and shows why leaders should appoint members who will approach the committee’s work with an open mind - instead of hardliners who have already ruled out the balanced approach that the markets and rating agencies like S&P are demanding.”
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:
“This decision by S&P is the latest consequence of the out-of-control spending that has taken place in Washington for decades. The spending binge has resulted in job-destroying economic uncertainty and now threatens to send destructive ripple effects across our credit markets.
“Republicans have listened to the voices of the American people and worked to bring the spending binge to a halt. We are no longer debating how much to spend, but rather how much to cut. Unfortunately, decades of reckless spending cannot be reversed immediately, especially when the Democrats who run Washington remain unwilling to make the tough choices required to put America on solid ground.
“The Administration and Democrats in Congress had sought an increase in the debt limit without any spending cuts or reforms. Republicans made clear the American people would not tolerate that and fought for the largest spending cuts possible. With the Budget Control Act, we made a positive first step toward reducing the debt, but much more must be done.
“In May, I warned, ‘if we don't act boldly now, the markets will act for us very soon.’ It is my hope this wake-up call will convince Washington Democrats that they can no longer afford to tinker around the edges of our long-term debt problem. As S&P noted, reforming and preserving our entitlement programs is the ‘key to long-term fiscal sustainability.’
“Republicans remain committed to ensuring the United States always meets its obligations. Though we are outnumbered in Washington, we will continue to press Democrats to join us in taking meaningful steps to rein in our debt and deficits.”
Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.:
“This problem didn't happen overnight and it can't be fixed overnight, but the American people have a right to expect Congress to work across party lines to reduce the federal debt by at least $4 trillion over the next ten years.”
Presidential Candidate Jon Huntsman:
"Out-of-control spending and a lack of leadership in Washington have resulted in President Obama presiding over the first downgrade of the United States credit rating in our history. For far too long we have let reckless government spending go unchecked and the cancerous debt afflicting our nation has spread. We need new leadership in Washington committed to fiscal responsibility, a balanced budget, and job-friendly policies to get America working again."
Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney:
“America’s creditworthiness just became the latest casualty in President Obama’s failed record of leadership on the economy. Standard & Poor’s rating downgrade is a deeply troubling indicator of our country’s decline under President Obama. His failed policies have led to high unemployment, skyrocketing deficits, and now, the unprecedented loss of our nation’s prized AAA credit rating. Today, President Obama promised that ‘things will get better.’ But it has become increasingly clear that the only way things will get better is with new leadership in the White House.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., presidential candidate:
“Tonight’s decision by S&P to downgrade our credit rating to AA+ is a historically significant and serious event for the United States. The United States has had a AAA credit rating since 1917. That rating has endured the great depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This President has destroyed the credit rating of the United States through his failed economic policies and his inability to control government spending by raising the debt ceiling.
“We were warned by all of the credit agencies that a failure to deal with our debt would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating, but instead he submitted a budget that had a $1.5 trillion deficit and then requested a $2.4 trillion blank check. President Obama is destroying the foundations of the U.S. economy one beam at a time. I call on the President to seek the immediate resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and to submit a plan with a list of cuts to balance the budget this year, turn our economy around and put Americans back to work."
Presidential Candidate Herman Cain:
On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner promised that America faced "no risk" of a credit downgrading. Less than four months later, he is proven shamefully wrong. As I have feared for months, the S&P has chosen to downgrade America's credit rating from AAA, which we have always enjoyed, to AA+.
Perhaps this is because the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats never once demonstrated a willingness to propose its own ideas for meaningful spending cuts, something credit agencies signaled were necessary to redeem America's financial standing in the world.
As a corporate executive, I've rescued companies from the brink of bankruptcy and returned them to profitability. That involved balancing budgets or even creating them in the first place, something that the Democratic leadership in Congress hasn't done for 828 days. If I couldn't run companies without budgets, how can the government?
I also had to make tough budgetary cuts to save companies. Leadership is about doing what's right, even when it's difficult. But somehow, that sort of idea was never floated among those within the Obama Administration.
Now, Americans are fearful for their retirements and for their children's educational savings. This is a country known for dreamers and innovators, for thinkers and doers. And now, we are a nation living in fear.
This is a sad day for America. Such a rating is unfitting of the greatest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known. And such a weak leader is, as well.