Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Dow plunges 265 points. It's been doing that a lot lately, but not so much in response to the debt ceiling deal as reacting to high unemployment and a drop in consumer spending. The crisis remains, despite the debt ceiling, and it comes back again in a couple of months. As a lowering of the nation's credit rating looms, people are starting to criticize the rating companies as if that would solve the larger problem. Jules Kroll, Kroll Bond Ratings CEO, is one of the critics (yes, he's a competitor of what he calls the Duopoly, Standard and Poors, and Moody's) whom I heard on TV. As long as there are corporations and governments there will be bonds and investors will look for someone to help them evaluate the risks of investments. The major criticism is not that they're talking about reducing the nation's rating, but their failure to warn customers about the ticking time bomb in the so-called Toxic Assets securities. They should have caught the fact that the housing bubble was a threat and that values of mortgage backed securities would evaporate if the bubble burst.


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