Standard & Poor’s lowered its outlook for the United States from “stable” to “negative,” and said there is a one in three chance it will downgrade the U.S.’s triple-A credit rating in the next couple of years. We’ve enjoyed that credit rating since 1917. Barack Obama can cook up entitlement schemes as much as he likes, but if America loses its ability to borrow money on favorable terms there will be no safety net big enough to catch us all.

And what is the president’s message at this defining crisis moment? The New York Times reports, “Mr. Obama implored the crowd [in a speech today] not to lose heart, declaring that the vision of America he laid out in his fiscal speech — one in which ‘we are connected to one another; that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper’— would animate his campaign and drive the debate in the 2012 election.”

The U.S. may lose its triple-A rating and the best Obama can do is peddle feel-good pop slogans in defense of suicidal entitlements. If only he believed what he was saying. Indeed, we are connected to one another. Which is why entitlements put all of us in debt, why taxing income for some of us will shrink our national tax base, and why every last one of us will go down with the ship unless the administration acquaints itself with reality. While the president preaches togetherness in service of class warfare, America nears an unprecedented downgrading.  He may think he’s being his brother’s keeper, but he shouldn’t be surprised if his brothers and sisters don’t see it that way in 2012.