Zachary Karabell: Debt Police Go Rogue

July 28th, 2011

How did a bunch of unelected corporate suits get the power to wreck the global economy? Zachary Karabell on the real bogeymen of the debt debacle: unaccountable ratings agencies.

The Daily Beast
July 27, 2011

As the debt-ceiling storm intensifies, some reports indicate that the White House, and perhaps the global financial markets, are less concerned with paying bills after Aug. 2 than with credit-rating agencies imposing their first-ever U.S. government downgrade, from AAA to AA+.

How did it come to this—that a trio of private-sector companies could wield such enormous influence? More specifically, a trio that has proven chronically behind the curve, analytically compromised, and complicit in the financial crisis of 2008–09 as well as the more recent euro-zone debt dilemmas? Somehow, these inept groups again find themselves destabilizing the global system in the name of preserving it.

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