Standard & Poor’s Drives the Knife

“In other words, Standard & Poor’s is threatening that if the ten-year budget deficit isn’t cut by $4 trillion in a credible and bipartisan way, you’ll pay more – even if the debt ceiling is lifted next week. … Who is Standard & Poor’s to tell America how much debt it has to shed in order to keep its credit rating? Standard & Poor’s didn’t exactly distinguish itself prior to Wall Street’s financial meltdown in 2007. Until the eve of the collapse it gave triple-A ratings to some of the Street’s riskiest packages of mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations. Standard & Poor’s (along with Moody’s and Fitch) bear much of the responsibility for what happened next. Had they done their job and warned investors how much risk Wall Street was taking on, the housing and debt bubbles wouldn’t have become so large – and their bursts wouldn’t have brought down much of the economy.”

Robert Reich