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Monday, February 08, 2010

Geithner says U.S. will 'Never’ lose it’s AAA Debt Rating

US Treasury secretary Tim Geithner has assured the economic world that the US will never lose it’s AAA Debt Rating. When assurances of this strength are given it raises one question – When are they going to lose their rating?
The news story by Rebecca Christie appears here on Bloomberg.

Some choice quotes:

On whether a downgrade is a concern (after this comment by Moody’s Investor Service):
“That will never happen to this country.”
Government track records are not crash hot on “never”.

When will the predicted USD$1.6 trillion deficit be reigned in?
“The U.S. plans to rein in the deficit once the labor market recovers”
One day, definitely, maybe, providing that …

When will homeowners get promised reworked loans?
“Treasury chief responded that the administration is ‘absolutely committed’ to following through on its promises.”
A government promise? I’m not holding my breath.

Would tighter financial regulations put U.S. banks at a disadvantage?
“I’m very confident we can make sure that we are working very closely to raise global standards around the world so we have a level playing field”
Read – we’re going to use our economic muscle to make sure that everyone else has the same crippling, over-the-top controls on their financial institutions.

If (and it’s not a large if) the downgrade happens it will not happen straightaway as there are enormous forces at play. Unfortunately the red flag is raised for me when I hear politicians state categorically that nothing is going to happen.

(pre-modified photo from Bloomberg, in the same article)

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