While I write mostly about the need for jobs and long term un and underemployment, there are always a number of related issues bubbling just below the surface for me. The past couple of days, I’ve seen a few articles that are seemingly unrelated but are probably more closely related than most folks realize.
The first article was from today’s (Friday 1/28/11) NY Times on Standard & Poors downgrading Japan’s Long Term Sovereign debt.
S.& P. lowered its sovereign credit rating for Japan to AA- from AA. That is three levels below the highest possible rating, and S.& P.’s first downgrade of Japanese government debt since 2002. With the lower grade, Japan’s debt rating is now on par with China’s, which last year overtook Japan as the world’s second-largest economy, after the United States.
S.& P.’s move came just weeks after both it and its rival ratings agency, Moody’s, cautioned that they might take a more negative stance on the United States. It highlighted just how deeply indebted many of the world’s developed economies remain — despite concerted efforts on the parts of governments to improve their balance sheets.
Yesterday was this from Reuters on Moody’s considering downgrading the ratings for states:
(Reuters) – Some U.S. states face so much pressure to fund pensions for public employees that it could hurt their credit ratings, Moody’s Investors Service said on Thursday.
As concerns grow over the financial health of many states after the 2007-2009 recession and how they will cut spending to cope, the ratings agency combined pension and debt data to rank the liabilities of each state.
In the past, Moody’s evaluated credit risks from pensions and debt levels separately. Lower credit ratings could raise the costs to states of borrowing money.
Interesting isn’t it how suddenly Moody’s has to change how they figure things for rating the states and combine debt AND pension liabilities all of a sudden. One might think they have an ulterior motive in doing so. . . . Read the rest of this entry →