2 Out of 3 Ain’t Bad: Moody’s, Fitch Give U.S. AAA Rating

When the umpires are also in the game, you've got trouble. - promoted by david

I never thought Standard & Poor’s downgrading of the United State’s bond rating was motivated by their diligence. I mean, why start now, you know? That Moody’s (with reservations) and Fitch’s have now kept our triple-A rating only raises more doubts about S & P’s actions.

The Economics of Contempt (page doesn’t permit copying and pasting) argues that S & P’s rating was due to its faulty assessment of the future of Washington politics. The U.S. political system has been ugly, but it is not permanently unstable. And the ugliness is largely due to the Tea Party wingnuts that drove the debt ceiling showdown. They are unlikely to wield such power in perpetuity. Other congressmen and women  will take their place. At some point, we could have reasonable Republicans to deal with. Republicans or Democrats could capture all three branches of governement. The balance of power will shift and politics will become more predictable, if not more palatable. This too shall pass.

The market itself offered the greatest refutation of S & P’s downgrading doubling down on U.S. securities the week after the downgrade.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has questioned S & P’s motives too. Apparently, they didn’t like the fact that Dodd-Frank would make credit ratings agencies liable for their assessments; they successfully lobbied to remove that liability. And behind the scenes, S & P allegedly told the White House that they wanted to see a $4 trillion cut in the national debt. Smith speculates:

It’s becoming more and more obvious that Standard and Poor’s has a political agenda riding on the notion that the US is at risk of default on its debt based on some arbitrary limit to the debt-to-GDP ratio. There is no sound basis for that limit, or for S&P’s insistence on at least a $4 trillion down payment on debt reduction, any more than there is for the crackpot notion that a non-crazy US can be forced to default on its debt.

Whatever S&P’s agenda, it has nothing to do with avoiding default risks or putting the US on sound fiscal footing. It appears to be intertwined with their attempts to absolve themselves from responsibility for their role in the 2008 financial crisis, and they are willing to manipulate not only the 2012 election but the world economy to escape the SEC’s attempts to regulate them.


4 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Yeah, I figured S&P was not happy with Dodd-Frank.

    And John Chambers, with his English Lit Master’s degree, went Old Testament on the USA. Who woulda thunk it?

    Seriously, though. Nobody takes S&P’s rating seriously anymore.

    I do like that S&P pointed out the GOP’s debt ceiling/No New Taxes psychosis for everyone to see (page 4, S&P downgrade report).

  2. And Standard and Poors' leadership has an interesting resume - neutral? Nah.

    First, here is their website: http://www.standardandpoors.com/home/en/us Lots of stuff to mine there.

    Frank Chambers, its leader is looked at as politically motivated in the United Kingdom’s press, and possibly even an ongoing target of investigation: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2025530/Bombshell-investigators-start-insider-trading-enquiry-Standard–Poors-Who-prior-knowledge-downgrade.html

    Here is his Bloomberg extensive bio: http://investing.businessweek.com/businessweek/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=642553&ticker=CSCO:US

    Lots to mine, folks. Have fun.

  3. It's not permanently unstable?

    I suppose with the trajectory we’re on, things are so broken and chaotic now that there’s every possibility things get so screwed up we decide to cut our losses and recreate the entire Republic with a new Constitution Convention… but short of that, I don’t see this genie going back into the bottle. The GOP has learned that they can control government with or without a majority, and with or without even needing to control one branch or legislative house of government. What on earth makes any of us think they’re suddenly going to end that, particularly when there’s all too many corporatist “Blue Dog” Democrats, all too willing to join in on their fun?

    I’m afraid without serious reform that transforms our very government and how it operates, so things can actually get done, we’re *never* going to move away from the “permanently unstable” feel and tone of our government. Not unless the Republican Party itself goes kaboom, and with the increasing power and influence of corporations, even that may not be enough.

    RyansTake   @   Tue 16 Aug 8:46 PM
    • You can read E of C yourself.

      I was just trying to paraphrase.

      If Obama were to lose, the government would be much, much less to our taste, but more stable if the House stayed Republican.

      More importantly, WTF does S & P know about politics?

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