United States government, be forewarned: Your credit won’t always be good if you fail to get control of the debt while keeping up your big-spending ways. And merely raising the debt limit won’t be enough to solve your problems.

That was the message delivered yesterday by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) credit rating firm, which lowered its outlook on the U.S. credit rating. Though the S&P kept the rating at AAA, it expressed a negative outlook for the future, saying, “We believe there is a material risk that U.S. policy makers might not reach an agreement on how to address medium- and long-term budgetary challenges by 2013.”

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