First, I have not much respect for Moody's and the big credit rating agencies following the mortgage lending/banking debacle we've all lived thru. Many are suggesting they've tipped the other way becoming much more conservative. So. If that is the case, how can the "fiscal cliff" possibly trigger a downgrade of U.S. debt ? A mandatory move towards balancing the budget, raising tax revenues, cutting spending, should make U.S. debt more likely to be repaid and therefore, an UPGRADE, not a downgrade. It might create a great recession or maybe not, but that isn't the business of a credit rating agency for U.S. debt. It's the ability of the borrower to repay. So Moody's is so intuitive that they KNOW that the fiscal cliff, should we go over it, is going to create such a contraction in the economy that tax revenues are going to sink even faster than spending cuts and thefore, an even more difficult situation to service the outstanding debt! But, guess what? That hasn't even started to happen, but what is starting to happen is balancing revenue with spending...... or a possible UPGRADE FIRST!!!!