For the second time, a ratings agency downgraded the United States and then became the subject of an investigation by the United States government.
Egan-Jones is the smallest credit-rating agency which is nationally recognized. Egan-Jones is one of the few ratings agencies that is supported by subscribers as opposed to issuers of the securities it rates. [CNBC]
They have been highly critical of ratings agencies for being too slow to downgrade nations especially during the housing crisis. They were among the first to downgrade countries during the global financial crisis, particularly the United States and Germany. [CNBC]
Recently they downgraded the United States to almost no fanfare in the media (see story below). Today, Thursday, Sean Egan said that the SEC voted to file civil charges against the agency.
The SEC claims that Egan knowingly made misstatements when it applied to become a nationally recognized rating agency in 2007. Egan for his part told CNBC, “This has nothing to do with our ratings. This has to do with paperwork and filings in connection with an application. There’s never been any question about our ratings.” [CNBC]
When S&P downgraded the United States, the SEC immediately after launched an investigation into their practices. In fairness, they, along with Fitch and Moodys were the subject of a DOJ complaint in 2010.
In May of last year, the stringent new regulations of Dodd-Frank were set in motion to limit the influence of the ratings agencies.
Who will rate the United States without the ratings agencies and why the coincidental charges timed with the downgrade? The ratings agencies were ineffective during the housing crisis but, then again, so were Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and a host of other Democrats.
If you look at Media Matters take on this, they will claim that to say any of this is untoward is nothing more than a conspiracy theory but we know Media Matters is in continual contact with the White House and what they say is the same as listening to David Axelrod.
The ratings agencies have some answering to do, no question, but this situation needs watching.
Original Story: April 10 2012: Since the lamestream media refuses to report this out of obvious bias towards President Obama, I am reposting the following news again though I reported it four days ago.
Egan-Jones credit rating agency downgraded the U.S. from AA+ to AA-. It’s the second downgrade in nine months and a precursor of what is to come by August or September. I searched through the Carney press briefings and no one asked him about it on April 5th or April 9th.
The last time Carney was asked about Egan-Jones was July 18, 2011 –
Q And then, another ratings agency, a much smaller one [it’s one of only 9 approved so give me a break with its a much smaller one], called Egan-Jones, in Pennsylvania, over the weekend downgraded the U.S. debt. Now, obviously they’re not Moody’s or S&P, but what does the administration say to that?
MR. CARNEY: I wasn’t aware of it. The overall news about ratings agencies would generate the same response, which is that we have to, obviously, do what the leaders of Congress have said they would do, which is work together with us to make sure we do not default.
In a google search, I found the following online agencies did report on the downgrade. : Bloomberg, Yahoo Finance, Business Insider, Fox, Fox Business.
I searched CBS and found they reported on Egan-Jones downgrading France’s credit rating (11/11) and the U.S. in 2011. NBC had nothing and ABC sent me to Ask.com.
The silence is deafening. Did the White House ask for the news blackout or do the lamestream simply chat and decide among themselves?
In February, S&P said that if we did nothing, they might downgrade us within six months. With our debt to GDP ratio nearing 112%, a new debt ceiling breach approaching by Fall, and no budget plan in place, Egan-Jones is only the first and will not be the last, to downgrade us.
Last time S&P downgraded the U.S., the DOJ tried to stop them with unconvincing arguments, and then, when that didn’t work, they ordered an investigation of S&P.
Egan-Jones, though a small agency, is one of only nine approved credit rating agencies, and it has been critical of the other agencies for not downgrading the U.S. when it was clear we should have been.
…U.S. debt has increased to 100 percent of gross domestic product, while debt climbed 23.6 percent from 2008 to 2010, the credit-rating firm said in a statement today. Egan-Jones lowered the U.S. grade to AA+ in a July. Treasuries have gained 4.6 percent since the company first lowered the U.S. rating, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.
The downgrade was based on “the increasing debt load coupled with the fact that there has been no tangible progress in addressing the country’s growing debt to GDP” ratio, Sean Egan, president of Egan-Jones in Haverford, Pennsylvania, said today in a telephone interview. “Unfortunately, the debt is growing fairly rapidly while the GDP is not.”
Standard & Poor’s cut the U.S. grade by one step to AA+ on Aug. 5 and has a negative outlook on the country’s debt. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings assign the nation their top Aaa and AAA ratings respectively and also have negative outlooks…