Who knows what is really behind S&P's downgrade of U.S. government debt? The U.S. government owes so much money that it's been clear for years that the only way the debt would be paid off is through the Federal Reserve printing money and inflating the government out of a debt crisis. It's odd for S&P to suddenly discover the debt crisis. There are a number of reasons this may be occurring now.
1. They could be working with the government to create a panic atmosphere in which it will be easier to raise taxes.
2. They could be working with Republicans to make the President look bad.
3. S&P is just inept, afterall, as Francine McKenna points out, S&P (owned by McGraw Hill) is audited by Ernst & Young. Who audited Lehman.
Here's the most likely answer:
4. A little of all of the above.