If you read what they actually said, it's a kind of half-baked political analysis criticizing the American system of government and how it works now. Now, they're entitled to their opinion on our politics, but their opinion isn't entitled to any particular respect.
What did we learn from what they said that we didn't know already? We know that, from Athens in Greece to Sacramento, California, with stops in Rome, Lisbon, Madrid, Brussels, Dublin, and Springfield, Illinois, an entire system of governance is under attack and actually collapsing under the weight of its contradictions. We've learned nothing from Standard & Poor's.
AMANPOUR: All right. Steve?
ROBERTS: He's -- I agree with George in the sense that what they said was unremarkable, to put it mildly, and that they really are not particularly qualified to be making those judgments.
But I disagree that it will not have an impact. I think it's already having an impact. It's likely to have an impact, in the sense of our interest rates, which, of course, will hurt the economy even more.
And it has a huge political impact. Look, this is bumper sticker material, you know? "He's the first president in history" -- blah, blah, blah. And George Washington with the black eye. That's bumper sticker talk. And so it does -- yes, they shouldn't have done it. I was on their conference call yesterday. It was absurd. But they at the same time are -- are going to have an effect.
AMANPOUR: Let me get you gentlemen in just a second. I want to ask Mellody Hobson. We've talked about a potential effect. What will it do, do you think, to individuals, to the consumer, to people who are sitting here watching this sort of tumble down around their ears?
HOBSON: Well, before I even get to that, I have to agree with George on this one, that, you know, S&P's credibility is seriously in question here. I mean, these are the guys who gave the clean bill of health to the mortgage securities that were toxic, not to mention the fact -- let's just enter a basic question. Do we actually believe that America is less creditworthy than it was three years ago in the middle of the financial crisis? No one would say yes to that question.
As it relates to the individual, I think it will be marginal, in terms of the effects. I don't think we're going to see a huge rate spike here. I don't think individuals are going to be dramatically harmed by this. The markets may be rocky, as they digest this and reset, but I think, longer term, the individual will actually be OK.
AMANPOUR: Mellody, stand by a second. I hear you all, but on the other hand, you saw with my interview with Senator Sessions and the governor, this kind of -- sort of sticking to their points and sort of not being conciliatory is precisely what S&P was talking about. Do you think, Steve, that this was -- no matter the effect it may or may not have -- some kind of political wake-up call. Was it necessary?
RATTNER: Well, first of all, it would be great if it were a political wake-up call, because, as we all know, the system isn't really functioning now. We did get a budget deal. It was inadequate, no matter how you want to judge it. We do have a massive fiscal problem. All of that is correct.