The second of three big American ratings agencies has downgraded US debt from triple A to double A plus, partly because of concerns about “governance”. The word refers mainly to debt ceiling brinkmanship in Congress, which frequently jeopardised federal government funding in the Obama years and has been adopted again by Republicans keen to sabotage the Biden agenda. Yesterday’s downgrade was by Fitch. S & P went to double A plus in 2011 on Obama’s watch. Moody’s maintains a triple-A rating for US bonds. The truth is a US default on its debts remains inconceivable, but it’s perception that counts, and the perception that the world’s biggest economy is also its most stable – unshakeable for most of the 20th century – has taken a beating in the 21st.