What other possible interpretation could anyone give to S&P's downgrade of U.S. government debt two years ago? The question that S&P is supposed to answer with its rating is whether bonds will be paid off as scheduled. The United States issues debt denominated in dollars, which it has the ability to print in whatever number it desires. Therefore the downgrade can only have been taken to mean an increased probability that the country would forget how to print dollars.

It would be good to point this fact out in news articles that report on the rating agencies' plans to reverse this downgrade. Otherwise readers might be led to believe that S&P assessments are actually based on the risk that the United States will default on its debt.