Standard & Poor's Downgrades United States Credit Rating

A day after Standard & Poor's took the unprecedented step of downgrading the creditworthiness of the U.S. government to AA+ from AAA, the ratings agency offered a full-throated defense of its decision, calling the bitter standoff between President Barack Obama and Congress over raising the debt ceiling a "debacle" and warning that further downgrades may lie ahead.

China, the largest foreign holder of United States debt, said Saturday that Washington needed to “cure its addiction to debts” and “live within its means,” just hours after the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s long-term debt.

For the first time in history, the United States has had its credit rating downgraded by a notch, from triple A to double A plus, causing predictions that it would affect economies around the world.