It’s really astounding how fast we forget.
Remember the housing crisis and remember how Standard & Poor’s and the other credit agencies assured everyone that the mortgage securities were solid investments, first rate, A-investments.
We believed them then, and it seems we are ready to do so now. For how else can one explain what happened yesterday when a bit of panic hit the markets after Standard & Poor’s issued a “negative outlook” on the United States if the U.S. cannot get control over its 14.3 trillion dollar debt. It was the first time that S&P gave the U.S. a negative outlook?
James Fallows, on his blog in the Atlantic, rightly points to this out, citing a report that Texas university professor James K. Galbraith burst out laughing on hearing the announcement from S&P.
“This is remarkable! It certainly will confirm the suspicions of those who have questioned S&P’s competence after its performance on the mortgage debacle,” said Galbraith, according to Dave Lindorff’s blog “This Can’t Be Happening.”
How could this non-story dominate the markets today, asked Fallows. S&P knows nothing that all of us don’t know and Galbraith is correct in saying that the U.S. government is not going to default on dollar-based bonds. It can’t.
And Dave Lindorff writes, that “Either S&P has been pressured by powerful Republicans and/or Wall Street Bankers to issue this warning, in order to add to national hysteria about the national debt and win more drastic cuts in social programs, or S&P is simply blowing it again.”
The other two ratings agencies, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings, have not followed suit. Maybe they remember the housing crisis?