Downgrading our politics

The recent stubborn politicking over the U.S.‘s need to raise its debt ceiling struck me as worrisome in its Tea Party-fueled churlishness. The Economist hits the nail on the head with this assessment of S&P’s decision to downgrade its opinion of America’s credit-worthiness. While I’m no fan of the ratings agencies, hoicking such a serious issue around for political gain shows a potentially disastrous lack of maturity in America’s current political climate.

Our economy is lubricated by a sophisticated and stable credit market whose most vital component is also the most ephemeral: trust. As the crisis amply demonstrated, when trust erodes, the system freezes up. America has built a reputation for responsible and credible management of its finances over the centuries, and that reputation has been reduced to a political football, like a federal judgeship.