Monday, April 18, 2011

S&P downgrade = what?

I have the opportunity to do something that I could not practically do in Gabon and that is listen to NPR. (Thankfully, it seems to have not been defunded). While I can get the same sense of news online while overseas, there is something much more visceral about listening to the news on the radio. While it is typically not as in depth as a well researched article, but having to listen to quotes from whoever has been deemed relevant to the story and other sound-bites is able to induce a much stronger reaction from me than merely reading the words on a computer screen.

In this case, I've been mulling over the S&P downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. You can read about it from from any number of articles on the issue. However, the move is fundamentally a political one. The end-game of it is perhaps not entirely clear, but the business-level savvy of S&P (and Moody's, the other major credit rating institution) is highly questionable given their failure to assess what was going on during the great boom of mortgage-backed securities. My boy Barry Ritholtz expresses it much better than I can just how much disdain he has for the credit rating agencies.

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