And you thought it was bad news when Standard & Poor's downgraded the United States' credit rating last year for the first time in history.
Stay tuned for a while, and that credit hit may turn out to have been small potatoes.
It didn't get a lot of media play, but the other day, S&P affirmed its 2011 decision to reduce our country's AAA credit rating to AA+, with a negative outlook. Last year's downgrade -- predictably denounced by the touchy Obama administration -- came in large measure because S&P did not see any serious action by Washington to deal with our catastrophic debt. (We owe around $16 trillion, but who's counting?)
It gets worse, though.
S&P said it sees a 20 percent chance the United States will slip back into recession. And it says the political shenanigans in Washington and the fiscal dangers the country now is facing could mean an additional credit-rating downgrade two years from now. What dangers might those be? Well, one of them is still the unaddressed national debt, of course.
Yet there is no indication that the president and adequate majorities in both houses of Congress are taking the debt crisis seriously. Heck, the president is telling European nations they need to pump still more government money into their own crumbling economies. Why on earth should we think he has the faintest interest in cutting spending here?
Maybe we should give a different president a chance to do so.