After esteemed ratings agency Standard & Poor's lowered the United States' credit rating from AAA to AA+ (and three "Great Job!" stickers down to one) the markets are still taking time to "bottom out," in the words of Alan Greenspan, and Washington and Wall Street find themselves mired in the Kübler-Ross model of the Five Stages of Grief. Grab a bottle of Night Train and cut your last Prozac in half so you can make your journey through America's psyche go a little smoother.
Denial: Billionaire Mamma's Boy Warren Buffett disapproves of what S&P did, but think's that the U.S. will come out of it just fine. “Financial markets create their own dynamics, but I don’t think we’re facing a double dip recession,” Buffet told Bloomberg News. Oh, and did Warren mention that his company's $3.42 billion second-quarter profit was a 74% increase from last year? See?
Warren America will be fine! Besides, Buffett's own ratings agency is positively indispensable compared to S&P.
Anger: Beard-oracle Paul Krugman is pissed. How could that stupid agency, who gave out the same AAA ratings on junk mortgage bonds a few years ago like they were trial AOL discs, do this to us? The S&P guy wasn't even a business major! "This is an outrage — not because America is A-OK, but because these people are in no position to pass judgment," Krugman writes. Nevermind that S&P's problem was that they gave out too many AAA ratings, they deserve a Nobel Prize where the sun don't shine.
Bargaining: Nomi Prins at the Daily Beast tries to split the difference: sure, Congress is beyond fucked up. But the private banks and financial firms are the ones who "run the show." They need to be better regulated! By, uh, Congress! Which brings us to...
Depression: This horrifically accurate Op/Ed in the Times written by psychologist and professor Drew Westen boils down the country's inability to shake off its troubles to Barry's failure to lead us out of this funk. In regard to that "arc of history" that the president always like to invoke, Westen writes:
The arc of history does not bend toward justice through capitulation cast as compromise. It does not bend when 400 people control more of the wealth than 150 million of their fellow Americans. It does not bend when the average middle-class family has seen its income stagnate over the last 30 years while the richest 1 percent has seen its income rise astronomically. It does not bend when we cut the fixed incomes of our parents and grandparents so hedge fund managers can keep their 15 percent tax rates. It does not bend when only one side in negotiations between workers and their bosses is allowed representation.
Crying yet? And finally:
Acceptance:Americans will accept this turn of fate like we've accepted everything else forced upon us by the people who use the word "summering" and get their zits popped for them. Look for mortgage interest rates to jump up a percent and gas to hike up a dollar. At least the stigma of food stamps is beginning to ebb. If that's not acceptance, what is?