Last week brought the bad news we all had hoped to avoid. When the U.S. Congress reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling, it looked like the economy had dodged a bullet—until stock markets began ricocheting back and forth, losing all the value they’d gained in 2011 in a single day. Then on Friday evening, Standard & Poor’s announced an unprecedented downgrade in the U.S. government’s credit rating, declaring itself “pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the administration” to ...

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