When Standard and Poor’s downgraded their outlook on US credit, down from a AAA rating (the best) to AA+, investors acted in probably one of two ways. One group ran for cover and doubted their T-Bills and the meaning of “full faith” in US debt. The others, yours truly included, were justifiably upset at the reckless disregard S&P showed.

At the time, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that S&P had shown, “terrible judgement”.

Several months later, others are hopping on the ‘WTF’ moment.

Case in point: Zachary Karabell at The Daily Beast:

There is only one rational solution to the looming threat posed by the ratings agencies: they should stop rating sovereign debt. Cease and desist. A self-imposed restraining order. Why do they even rate government debt at all? The finances of governments are hardly secret. Anyone with a mind, an interest, or a need can do their own due diligence and analysis about whether the finances of Greece, Italy, the United States, Brazil, India, France, or any other of the nearly 200 nations in the world are too risky or safe or somewhere in between. There is no reason to pawn off that task to a few employees of three private companies, and doing so creates a ticking-time-bomb risk if those agencies act too quickly, allow their own biases to color the analysis, or act too late.

Read the rest of Karabell’s great article here.

Advertisements