When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes
Saturday, August 6, 2011
U.S. loses AAA credit rating from S&P--a wake-up call to Washington
It was only a matter of time, given the "mess" in Washington, but the credit downgrade from S&P should be a wake-up call to Washington for serious action to get the U.S. fiscal house in order--through tax reform, entitlement reform, and long-term spending reductions. The full S&P report is here.
· The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics.
· More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.
· Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics anytime soon.
· The outlook on the long-term rating is negative. We could lower the long-term rating to 'AA' within the next two years if we see that less reduction in spending than agreed to, higher interest rates, or new fiscal pressures during the period result in a higher general government debt trajectory than we currently assume in our base case.
The Big Picture
Financial Crisis - The Telegraph
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