The Great Debate

Rioters without a cause

By John Lloyd
August 10, 2011

By John Lloyd
All opinions expressed are his own.

On Sunday evening, a middle aged woman waded into a crowd of rioters in Hackney and shouted that she was ashamed to be black, ashamed to be a Hackney woman – because of the destruction and fear the rioters were spreading about them. But she went further. She said – Get real black people! I am ashamed to be a Hackney person! If you want a cause, get a cause! (See video below; contains graphic language.)

Why does anyone take S&P seriously?

By Roger Martin
August 9, 2011

By Roger Martin
The opinions expressed are his own.

It drives me nuts that anybody treats the Standard & Poor’s downgrading of the U.S. government’s credit rating with anything but contempt.  I am, by the way, not saying that the circus in Washington didn’t deserve an immediate smack-down before the real one it will be getting in 15 months.  But it stuns me that people don’t ask themselves just what S&P is and who its credit raters are before actually paying one iota of attention to them.

from Reuters Money:

Fury brewing at ratings agencies as markets gyrate

August 9, 2011

Carnival revellers are silhouetted as they carry a burning wooden wagon in Liestal, near Basel, February 21, 2010.  REUTERS/Michael BuholzerSo let me get this straight.

Ratings agencies helped spark the financial meltdown of 2008-9, when they deemed that steaming piles of mortgage junk were brimming with triple-A goodness. They were wrong – and epically so.

from Reuters Money:

Retirement investors suffer as economy catches up to Wall Street

August 9, 2011

Retirement investors have struggled with a Jekyll and Hyde economy these past two years, where Dr. Jekyll lives very well on Wall Street while Mr. Hyde runs roughshod over a terrified Main Street.

from Paul Smalera:

Downgrading democracy

August 8, 2011

By Paul Smalera
All views expressed are his own.

The Washington debt ceiling debate over these past months was the throwing open of the doors to the democratic slaughterhouse -- let’s please not ever complain again about not being able to watch the sausage get made. Though our media window onto the killing floor surely contributed to the S&P’s downgrade of U.S. debt, that’s not an entirely bad thing, as I’ll explain in a moment.

Market musings with David Rosenberg: we’re in a depression

August 8, 2011

I spoke with David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, today to get his take on what’s happening in the markets after Friday’s US credit rating downgrade by the S&P. Here are the highlights of our conversation.

Recession protection

By David Rosenberg
August 8, 2011

By David A. Rosenberg
The opinions expressed are his own.

Moving increasingly to immunize portfolios from the rising prospect of a recession scenario while providing returns that cash, deposits and T-bills just can’t rival what we are doing at the investment committee and asset mix level of our firm.

Is the debt-ceiling deal hated because it will work, or won’t work?

August 8, 2011

By James Ledbetter
All views expressed are his own.

As is so often the case when markets drop vertiginously, the explanation you get for what is happening depends almost entirely on whom you ask. There is, for example, a broad consensus that the debt-ceiling deal was a major contributor to the market plunge that kicked in last week.

The S&P downgrade: is the sky falling?

By Mark Thoma
August 8, 2011

By Mark Thoma
The opinions expressed are his own. Paul Krugman on the S&P downgrade:

S&P and the USA, by Paul Krugman: OK, so Standard and Poors has gone ahead with the threatened downgrade. It’s a strange situation.

Can China afford to downgrade the U.S.?

By Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
August 8, 2011

By Joseph S. Nye, Jr.
The opinions expressed are his own.

After the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s long-term debt, China said that Washington needed to “cure its addiction to debts” and “live within its means.” It must have been a delicious moment in Beijing, accustomed over the years to lectures from Washington about its management of the yuan.