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Standard & Poor's Defends Lowering U.S. Credit Rating

S&P says United States is "slightly less credit worthy."

ByABC News
August 6, 2011, 9:18 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2011— -- Standard & Poor's was making no apologies today for downgrading the United States, telling investors that the gold standard of global finance is no longer the safest place to put your money.

Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. rating from AAA to AA+ on Friday.

"Our job is to hold the mirror up to nature, and what we are telling investors is that the United States government is slightly less credit worthy," said John Chambers, head of Standard and Poor's sovereign ratings committee.

In its statement Friday, S&P said: "The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."

For more on Standard & Poor's downgrade on U.S. long term debt, click here.

The rating agency is saying in essence that Washington is broken and hasn't done enough to deal with the country's economic situation, pointing to "the gulf" between the political parties and how they used the debt ceiling as a "bargaining chip," leaving the United States "less stable, less effective."

"This is not really a serious way to run the country," Chambers said.

The Obama administration fought back against the downgrade, pointing out that the rating agency made a $2 trillion mistake in its math, declaring, "A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself."

When the Asian markets open Monday -- late Sunday in Washington -- Treasury Department officials will be watching to see the effect on stocks and bonds, and by extension on the retirement accounts of millions of Americans.

"Even if it's not great on Monday and the market trades down, I dont think we are going to see significant trading down in terms of U.S. treasuries," ABC News financial analyst Melody Hobson said. "There is nowhere for the rest of the world to go. America still remains the best place to put your money."