The Spine

The Rating Agencies, Rated "f" Or Worse



about the rating agencies (Moody's, Fitch, S&P) for months.  They and
the bond and mortgage insurers (MBI, Ambac, a few others) are at once the
and the cause of the financial calamity in which we find ourselves
now--and in which we and others will find ourselves for a long time to
come.  This calamity will not be cured by gestures by the Fed or the SEC
or the Secretary of the Treasury or the Congress or the World Bank or other
international monetary agencies.  No one will be immune from its

The fact is that, while thousands of financiers are culpable, only a relative
few are truly responsible for what was actually mass and collective forgery of
grades and a few others who guaranteed the value of the vehicles, taking the
triple AAA and double AA imprimaturs at face value, and insuring them,

The New York Times has performed a magnificent service in publishing
Roger Lowenstein's classically elegant and comprehensible explanation of the
debacle that we can confidently debit to Moody's. 

it is.


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