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The so-called credit ratings agencies have proven the depth of their insight and analytics once more.
Standard & Poor's
, with its enormous capacity to see no evil, determined that the massive U.S. government debt -- including $3 trillion for the financial bailout alone - is still
worthy of the highest rating.
Moody's Investors Service
said the same thing.
Both agencies issued cautionary statements and expressed concern about the weakening of public finances and the sagging short-term economic outlook. But they couldn't bring themselves to actually take action.
Remember, these are the agencies that blindly granted their top ratings to so many of the funky mortgage-related securities that nearly toppled the global credit markets. Clearly they know what they are doing.
Also remember that in many ways, these agencies resemble the research departments at the major investment banks. You know, the analysts that rarely say you should sell a stock. I guess they don't want to offend potential clients.
So despite the fact that the U.S. government has been working the mint overtime to print more dollars and has been issuing debt like there's no tomorrow, the credit rating agencies want you to know that everything is perfectly fine.
No need to worry about the trillions of dollars handed out to practically insolvent financial companies like
or the money the government borrowed to buy
. Bond investors should look the other way when it comes to all of the government debt used to buy worthless stakes in
Bank of America
The fact is, that there is no substitute for the good faith and credit of the U.S. government. Heck, the Russian finance minister said so himself recently, saying there is no alternative to the U.S. dollar as a global reserve currency.
As long as China is willing to keep buying up American debt, the growing U.S. fiscal deficit won't be a problem.
So President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner and Fed Chairman Bernanke now have the official green light from the S&P and Moody's to keep on borrowing against America's future.
Not that they needed it, mind you. Apparently there is no one who can stop them -- and there are relatively few folks who have the courage to say the emperor has no clothes.
Isn't that what credit agencies are for?
Glenn Hall is the editor of
. Previously, he served as deputy editor and chief innovation officer at
The Orange County Register
and as a news manager at
in Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. As a reporter, he covered business and financial markets, worked in both print and television in the U.S. and Europe, and conducted in-depth investigative coverage at
in Fort Wayne, Ind. His work also has been published in a variety of newspapers including
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
International Herald Tribune
. Hall received a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from The Ohio State University and a certificate in project and program management from Boston University.