Standard & Poor's Defends Lowering U.S. Credit Rating

VIDEO: America downgraded to AA after nearly 100 years of perfect AAA credit rating.
Share
Copy

Standard & Poor's was making no apologies today for downgrading the United States, telling investors that the gold standard of global finance is no longer the safest place to put your money.

Standard & Poor's downgraded the U.S. rating from AAA to AA+ on Friday.

"Our job is to hold the mirror up to nature, and what we are telling investors is that the United States government is slightly less credit worthy," said John Chambers, head of Standard and Poor's sovereign ratings committee.

In its statement Friday, S&P said: "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."

For more on Standard & Poor's downgrade on U.S. long term debt, click here.

The rating agency is saying in essence that Washington is broken and hasn't done enough to deal with the country's economic situation, pointing to "the gulf" between the political parties and how they used the debt ceiling as a "bargaining chip," leaving the United States "less stable, less effective."

"This is not really a serious way to run the country," Chambers said.

The Obama administration fought back against the downgrade, pointing out that the rating agency made a $2 trillion mistake in its math, declaring, "A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself."

When the Asian markets open Monday -- late Sunday in Washington -- Treasury Department officials will be watching to see the effect on stocks and bonds, and by extension on the retirement accounts of millions of Americans.

"Even if it's not great on Monday and the market trades down, I dont think we are going to see significant trading down in terms of U.S. treasuries," ABC News financial analyst Melody Hobson said. "There is nowhere for the rest of the world to go. America still remains the best place to put your money."

The other two ratings agencies still consider the United States AAA, but for Standard & Poor's, U.S. credit is rated lower than France, Canada, Norway and the Isle of Man.

Click here to see the current sovereign rating list from Standard & Poor's.

"They absolutely have a point, we are definitely in a less good place than we have been in previous years, previous decades," fomer presidential economic adviser Donald Marron said.

This is the first time in history America's credit rating has been downgraded, and it carries some real consequences on mortgage and credit card rates and jobs.

The move by S&P follows decisions by two other major ratings agencies, Moody's Investor Service and Fitch Ratings, to maintain the United States' AAA rating, though Moody's assigned a negative outlook.

Analysts have told ABC News that a downgrade could mean a 6 percent drop in the stockmarket.

But what would the downgrade mean to you?

Mortgage rates would likely rise at least a half point. That's a $19,000 hike on the average $172,000 home loan. Businesses would have to spend more money to finance expansions. Costs for borrowed money goes up, effectively raising the price of anything you're not paying for with cash.

The interest rates the government pays to finance the growing national debt will almost certainly rise as a result of the downgrade. That increases the amount of money Uncle Sam has to spend each year on "debt service."

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Attendees gather during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts, Sept. 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images