Government’s Case Against S&P: Ratings Stopped Making Sense

By Jonathan Stempel | February 6, 2013
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  • February 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    An Actuary says:
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    Hey, S&P? Remember that report you wrote slamming actuaries in 2003 called “Insurance Actuaries-A Crisis of Credibility”? Huh? Remember that? Who’s credible now, huh? What? Who’s credible now? That’s right. I thought so.

  • February 6, 2013 at 1:44 pm
    Kurt says:
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    Well written. Nice job, Jonathan Stempel.

  • February 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm
    PrintedMoney says:
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    So let me get this straight, the government/fed who inflated the housing market with low interest rates and scams such as the community reinvestment act is now suing a rating agency for not downgrading. This entire economy should be downgraded, it’s all a house of cards built on cheap money. When these interest rates move we are going to see financial armageddon. Where’s the downgrades right now? Ask yourself why S&P is being targeted right now?

  • February 6, 2013 at 2:22 pm
    Dave Conner says:
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    S & P downgraded the US Federal Government’s rating, Moody’s didn’t – S & P is sued by the same Federal Government, Moody’s isn’t. Huh. Isn’t S & P the same agency that the Feds require investors to follow by obligating them to hold assets highly rated by S&P. Hum, now they’re suing them. Not for retribution due to the downgrading of course…

  • February 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm
    Joe says:
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    I’m not so sure their ratings were wrong. The largest purchaser AND guarantor of mortgages was and still is the US Government. Maybe S&P knew GovCo would bail out themselves on the backs of the taxpayers? The government including their bank and insurance buddies into the bailout (TARP) seems like more affirmation. Taxpayers are still regularly giving money to Fannie and Freddie and now the Central Bank is buying $40 billion in mortgages every month. The main lesson I learned from all of this is to never willingly invest in a monopolized marketplace.

  • February 6, 2013 at 4:58 pm
    DougJ says:
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    The more I hear from our government, the more it sounds like BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, AND MORE BLAH!!!!


  • February 7, 2013 at 9:47 am
    Bill says:
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    Sounds to me like a blatant use of power and retribution for the Federal Government downgrade!

    Funny, that they didnt give an alert about the Feds at the same time. 16 trillion in debt with run away spending, over 50 Trillion in unfunded liabilities and revenue to the government of 2.3 Trillion with 3.8 trillion in spending! Huh…. Sounds like we need another downgrade to me!

    • February 8, 2013 at 2:59 pm
      Expert Novice says:
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      While we’re talking conspiracy theories here… you could argue this is more than just retribution. Depending on how budget negotiations go this year the U.S. could be downgraded again. Perhaps they’re using the lawsuit as leverage to force S&P not to do another downgrade? I wouldn’t be surprised if the case suddenly gets dropped or the fine ends up much less than expected, and then the U.S. keeps its current rating after the next budget crisis.

    • February 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm
      Nan says:
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      Remember Bill, we were not $16T in the hole before we bailed out the banking industry with the original TARP bill. That was brought to us by people like the former senator from NH Judd Gregg who now works for Goldman Sachs.. insiders took care of insiders!

  • February 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm
    Judge Yenot says:
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    While S&P may have delayed the downgrades, the blame should not be exclusively assigned to them. Other rating agencies missed, and the US Govt contributed greatly via legislative actions that caused or enabled the meltdown to occur.

    Great thought in how financial risks should be monitored going forward is needed. The current process is still flawed, despite recent legislative reforms.

  • February 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm
    Nan says:
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    At long last, in spite of the congressional protection, the government is finally getting closer and closer to recuping some of our money. It is pretty obvious by some of these comments that you have not read the papers or emails that S&P sent to one another. They knew what they were doing but didn’t give a damn because of their personal bonuses. By not choosing to regulate, review or prosecute bad behavior our government allowed us taxpayers to be on the hook to bail out bad behavior. They also conveniently wrote a 5-year statue of limitations to protect themselves. S&P balks at the $5B fine… one year of profit! How many of us and our family members lost more than the equivilent of one year of income due to the “professional” losers??? Let them pay and let the rest of them heed the warning… lie cheat & steal and sooner or later someone will expose you!

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