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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Joke of the Week

The clowns at Standard & Poor's -- the folks who contributed so heavily to the collapse of American finance three years ago by overrating garbage securities -- are now acting all rough and tough and downgrading the federal government's credit rating. Whatever, guys -- you're lucky that quite a few of you aren't in jail.

They're probably holding out for some sort of fee. The rating agencies usually get paid by the very companies whose credit they judge. Or maybe they're just answering to Chinese overlords. In any event, this little show isn't going to restore the investor confidence that was lost over screwups like their AIG and Lehman Brothers ratings of a few years ago.

Comments (10)

Ya know it's probably felony theft at least. Here is another thing nobody talks about. Do you think that maybe a few people took their own lives over the thought of losing every thing that they had due to these criminal's actions.

Has there ever been a more ironically named entity? "Sub-Standard and Filthy Rich" would be a much more appropriate name.

Just another mugging of the federal treasury and working people's pockets by our oligarch overlords. Nothing to see here. Just move along.

I was wondering the same thing Jack, why are they being taken all serious now when they were complicit in the crash. A lot of politics and a MSM asleep.

There's still a zero risk that the federal government won't repay its notes and bonds, but the recent kerfluffle in Congress may have suggested to Standard and Poor's that there's a non-zero risk that the government won't miss making any interest payments on time.

Note that S&P gave investment-grade ratings to mortgage-backed securities, leading to the melt-down in housing and the global financial crisis in 2008. S&P also missed the Asian currency crisis of 1998, failed to downgrade Enron until it was too late, and downgraded Greek government debt in early 2010 which led to the current financial crisis now playing out in Europe.

This is all about politics. The global head of Sovereign & International Public Finance at S&P, David Beers, drove the downgrade. Beers met in a closed-door session with Congressional Republicans on 7/27/11 to discuss the debt ceiling talks. Beers, interviewed on Fox news, spewed the party line that entitlements must be cut and no tax increases. Interest rates on T-Bills are not likely to increase (rates are set by the winning bid when T-Bills are auctioned, not set by the US government or any outside agency). The real effect will be on other borrowers (public & private) that will end up paying more and slowing the recovery. The Republican strategy is to keep the economy in turmoil until the 2012 election.

S&P, McGraw Hill, No Child Left Behind Act, Bush Family, Federal Education Funds; what a cozy little round table.

The Association of American Publishers saw the need to send a letter to the secretary of education indicating concern that some programs were receiving explicit preference. "We request that you again clarify that there is no federally approved list, in this case for assessments, for which Reading First funds can be used," the letter said in part.

It was announced that Standard & Poor's, a McGraw-Hill company known for business credit ratings and risk analysis, would receive U.S. Department of Education and "nonprofit" foundation funding to build a "public-private collaboration" to report No Child Left Behind data.

Harold McGraw III, whose companies are major beneficiaries of federal education funds to school systems, was appointed a member of the president's transition advisory team. He also was appointed to the board of directors of ConocoPhillips, the chairmanship of the National Council on Economic Education and the Education Task Force of the Business Roundtable.


SO, the S&P is being more acurate assessing the grade of US debt? THis is bad why?

Compare what the US does to the Euro zone where they actually have a debt limit (% of GDP) and they force ocuntrie like Greece to cut back. As far as I know, in return for a $1T bump in borrowing, we have the promise of a $1T cut over the next ten years.

I didn't even notice the last cut they did about six months back to raise the debt ceiling.

"That's a nice credit rating youse got there. Would be a shame if somethin was to happen to it..."

Spot on, Jack.

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