Once upon a time a country spent decades adding to its debt while creating new government programs to expand later and expanding old government programs to use more and more money.
Many big banks and and companies gambled dangerously with money they never would have gambled if their risk hadn't been basically covered by the government. And when the walls came tumbling down, the government spent $3/4 trillion it didn't have to bail them out.
In the ensuing economic cratering, another $3/4 trillion it didn't have was spent on a Keynesian "stimulus" package, and to top it all off, a purported $1 trillion new government "health care" system was created, when everybody knows these figures are lowballed and even at that end up costing at least 5 times their predicted cost.
The national debt went from 9 trillion to 14 trillion over a 3 year period, while Congress never passed a budget for over two of those years.
The whole time, everybody knew what the debt ceiling was, and everyone could see we were fast approaching it, and nobody had the guts to do anything to change the habits that was lading them there.
When, not long after the bailout and quite quickly after the "stimulus" was passed, a group of people started jumping up and down saying "What are you doing? This is Crazy!"
"Fringe idiots!!!!" the government supporters cried. But they did not go away.
"Racist!!!!!" the government and its supporters shouted!
But when their public attemtps at race baiting failed, they cried "Astroturf!!!!!"
When the 2010 elections toppled many of the party of the worst offenders out of office, they changed to screaming "Extremist!!!!!"
But as the debt ceiling approached and it was asked what was extreme about averting bankruptcy and living withing something like your means, they exhorted "Terrorists!!!!"
And so it is that the word has gone out in The Party of Spend that this downgrading of the credit of that nation is the fault of those who wanted the country to spend more responsibly.
Up is down. Left is right. Freedom is slavery. Debt is solvency. It's 1984.