I take exactly the opposite view from Andy on the S & P downgrade warning for U.S. public debt, and agree with my AEI colleague Des Lachman that it is a helpful move, strengthening the Republican argument that something has to change right now — not next year, or after the 2012 election.
And as for the old talking point that the U.S. has never defaulted on its debt, well, guess what? We did once, and it occurred back in the halcyon days that liberals look to as sailors used to look for the North Star: during the New Deal. Alex Pollock has the forgotten story. And if it happened once, it could happen again.