– Moody’s Suggests US Eliminates Debt Ceiling (CNBC, July 18, 2011):
Ratings agency Moody’s on Monday suggested the United States should eliminate its statutory limit on government debt to reduce uncertainty among bond holders.
The United States is one of the few countries where Congress sets a ceiling on government debt, which creates “periodic uncertainty” over the government’s ability to meet its obligations, Moody’s [MCO 35.34 -1.11 (-3.05%) ] said in a report.
“We would reduce our assessment of event risk if the government changed its framework for managing government debt to lessen or eliminate that uncertainty,” Moody’s analyst Steven Hess wrote in the report.
The agency last week warned it would cut the United States’ AAA credit rating if the government misses debt payments, increasing pressure on Republicans and the White House to come up with a budget agreement.
Moody’s said it had always considered the risk of a U.S. debt default very low because Congress has regularly raised the debt ceiling during many decades, usually without controversy.
However, the current wide divisions between the House of Representatives and the Obama administration over the debt limit creates a high level of uncertainty and causes us to raise our assessment of event risk,” Hess said.
– S & P: America Could Default Even if Debt Ceiling is Raised (Washington’s Blog July 18th, 2011):
As I noted yesterday, America could default even if the debt ceiling is raised.
One of the big, government-sponsored American rating agencies has just confirmed my post.
Specifically, Standard & Poor’s announced today:
[We’re putting U.S. debt on] CreditWatch with negative implications … owing to the dynamics of the political debate on the debt ceiling, there is at least a one-in-two likelihood that we could lower the long-term rating on the U.S. within the next 90 days ….
The political debate about the U.S.’ fiscal stance and the related issue of the U.S. government debt ceiling has, in our view, only become more entangled.
We may lower the long-term rating on the U.S. by one or more notches into the ‘AA’ category in the next three months, if we conclude that Congress and the Administration have not achieved a credible solution to the rising U.S. government debt burden and are not likely to achieve one in the foreseeable future.
The Washington Post adds:
S&P managing director John Chambers said in an interview … even if the parties agree to raise the debt ceiling, it may not be enough to avert a downgrade. Chambers said the country must implement a plan to reduce the annual budget deficit by roughly $4 trillion over 10 years, which makes the debt manageable over the long term.
The White House and Congress have discussed a plan that big, but negotiations have more recently centered on a smaller deal, at $2 trillion or less.
“That could still lead to a downgrade,” Chambers said.
Knee-jerk conservatives may say, “yes, we have to slash all social support programs like unemployment benefits and food stamps”.
Knee-jerk liberals might say “raise taxes instead of cutting any spending”.
And stopping bailouts and giveaways for the top .1% of the richest elite (which weaken rather than strengthen the economy, as shown here, here and here) and slashing spending on unnecessary imperial wars (which reduce rather than increase our national security, as demonstrated here and here) is what the budget really needs.
As I wrote last year:
Why aren’t our government “leaders” talking about slashing the military-industrial complex, which is ruining our economy with unnecessary imperial adventures?
And why aren’t they taking away the power to create credit from the private banking giants – which is costing our economy trillions of dollars (and is leading to a decrease in loans to the little guy) – and give it back to the states?
If we did these things, we wouldn’t have to raise taxes or cut core services to the American people.
I pointed out the next month: