Is suit against Standard & Poor's political revenge?

  • Article by: EDITORIAL , CHICAGO TRIBUNE
  • Updated: February 7, 2013 - 8:08 PM

Ostensibly, the U.S. government's lawsuit is over S&P's credit ratings, which are said to have fueled the housing crash. But one must wonder.

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ciamanFeb. 7, 13 8:22 PM

This article is right on the money. The move by our own government is a balded effort to destroy the three financial ratings and keep them shut up. How strange? It is our own government or lack of a good effort by them to keep all of our money safe. If the U.S. Government wins, then it might mean that no financial system will do anything to question what was happening. It is political revenge with no question about it. Fight on, Standard and Poor's.

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jdlellis1Feb. 7, 13 8:43 PM

Of course not. As President Obama has worked diligently to demonstrate, during his initial run for President, he is above playing political games (pro or con).

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edcommentFeb. 7, 13 8:58 PM

Here we go ciaman. Isn't this always the case with apologists for the corporate world. First the Chicago Tribune raises an issue that's bogus then ciaman chimes in that it must be the case. Soon the Obama haters will be all over this which works well with their extremism. These are career Justice Department types who are making these decisions. Abrams is working the media, working the public. He's making his case in the public because they probably have him by the short hairs and he doesn't have anything else. Might as well make wild claims since the Chicago Trib does--that's America in 2013.

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brotherkennyFeb. 7, 13 9:15 PM

No, don't be silly. Regardless of whether the feds are being snitty or not, we all know the ratings companies fudged the numbers intentionally (Not any easy thing to prove? Ha! Yes, it's hard to prove the sun is in the sky.). It doesn't matter why the feds are doing it, just be glad they are. These guys just about crashed us and then dumped the bill on the American people. It's actually more amazing that it took this long.

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ruphinaFeb. 7, 13 9:23 PM

More evidence of this administration's Chicago style "business as usual" skullduggery. crooked to the core. If they possibly can find a way, the teachers union will end up with 30% of S&P after the bankruptcy. After all, they got the short end of the stick after they stole GM from the creditors and gave it to the UAW.

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fdrebinFeb. 7, 1310:02 PM

They had the courage to warn the public about the insurmountable debt )bama has put on our children, and now this despotic regime is exacting it''s revenge by trying to bankrupt Standard and Poors. This is exactly what Chavez has done in Venezuela to those that criticize him. We are a third world banana republic under one Barack Hussein Obama. No business, no media, and now no citizen is safe from this gang of thugs. If Obama wants you out of the way because you are a "danger" to the state, he can eliminate you permanently. 1930s Germany, anyone?

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jonnoFeb. 7, 1310:25 PM

Some might say that people not paying their mortgages on homes they couldn't afford fueled the housing crash...

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pumiceFeb. 7, 1310:59 PM

From the article: "All three agencies made glaring mistakes, and presumably faced the same conflicts of interest -- rating securities packaged by paying customers -- that are alleged in the lawsuit." And all three agencies can be held liable. S&P is larger than rivals Moody's and Fitch, "and we haven't closed the door on additional enforcement efforts."

Starting at the top, as it were. According to the article, "Nearly every American lost money as a result [of ratings agencies assigning much higher ratings to mortgage-backed securities than the investments deserved in order, it is alleged, to earn a bigger paycheck.]"

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endothermFeb. 8, 1312:38 AM

So, let me get this straight, the rating agencies (and S&P is the biggest) got seduced by easy money during the boom years, issued a ton of inaccurate ratings (why stop the big bonuses), misinformation that contributed in a big way to the economic collapse and the recession (which in turn caused an increase in the national debt). Then, after they played a key role in producing an economic mess and exploding the national debt, S&P had the gall to actually downgrade the U.S. credit rating as the country tried to clean up the mess they helped created. S&P should have been sued by the tax payers a long time ago. I am glad it is finally happening now.

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callmeronFeb. 8, 13 2:37 AM

Ratings are opinions. Opinions are constitutionally protected expression. How can the Obama administration sue a company based on their opinions? And here's the TRUTH you won't see: The Democratic Party created the housing bubble. By the late 1990s, housing values were appreciating at 8% per year in many urban areas (from Case-Shiller housing index data). The normal rate of appreciation in housing values is about the rate of inflation. During the late 1990s housing values were rising nearly triple the rate of inflation. How come? Because Bill Clinton was pressuring the "goverment sponsored" corporations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to create a secondary market for subprime mortgages. Banks hold very few of the mortgages they originate. They package them and sell them to investors. The government sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were where the banks could unload their subprime garbage, Fannie and Freddie would guarantee the mortgages with the implicit backing of the federal government. What happens when MILLIONS of unworthy borrowers all of a sudden qualify for loans they never qualified for before? Supply and demand dictates that housing prices will rise, which is exactly what happened. From the New York Times Sept. 1999: "In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is ***easing the credit requirements*** on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders. Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been ***under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration*** to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people". Source: "Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending" - NYTimes.com, September 30, 1999. DEMOCRATS created the foreclosure crisis, NOT S&P.

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