While some predict doom and gloom in 2012 because of Mayan calendar calculations, others look to Standard & Poor's negative credit outlook for the United States. According to Reuters:
Of the four AAA-rated countries that S&P has placed on negative outlook between 1989 and this March, three were downgraded within 15 months on average. That would put July 26, 2012, as the date to watch for whether the United States loses the star credit status it has held since 1941. Such a move would likely make it much more expensive for the country to service its massive debt burden.
The budget wrangling over the past six months has not inspired confidence at S&P, the credit ratings agency that is a division of McGraw-Hill. Ratings from S&P and Moody's are used by investors as a guide to the riskiness of holding an issuer's debt. Many insurance firms and pension and mutual funds rely on ratings to decide where to invest. [AR]