Dude, your stuff is consistently excellent, which is why the headline on your piece re the speech [ http://www.businessinsider.com.au/did-obamas-playing-politics-cause-the-us-outlook-downgrade-2011-4 ] kind of surprised me, both in general and given what the item actually said.
As your pull quote from the S&P announcement — which I totally agree is a LOT less than meets the eye — makes clear, the issue is the gap between the insane RPBs and the pitiful Dems.
So while Obama remains a colossal disappointment for anyone who wanted “change” from Cheney / Bush, I think the real story here is the increasingly evident breakdown in governance at all levels in the US — clearly in Washington, but also as the states & cities play “hot hands” with insufficient resources to meet their — minimal — obligations.
As you say in your — basically — excellent piece about the difference between the US & Japan:
the politics of spending is already posing huge systemic risk, merely by the fact that some politicians and analysts are actually calling for ths US to not raise the debt ceiling, which could potentially threaten default.
So why blame Obama in your headline and not Ryan and the Tea Fartiers ??? Btw, Japan is FAR from having done well, despite bond downgrades, but that’s a topic for a different time ;-) .