Scam complete: US government takes a page from Diocletian’s book | Business Insider

Simon Black writes:

As with any good scam, the government must maintain public confidence. The moment someone says ‘the Emperor has no clothes,’ that shallow, fragile confidence will come crashing down and expose the scam. Dissent must be vigorously and swiftly pursued.

So when S&P finally downgraded the US one notch in August 2011, the SEC and Justice Department announced that S&P was under investigation, just two weeks later.

Egan-Jones, a smaller rating agency, has been even more aggressive, downgrading the US credit rating three times in 18 months. And while the federal government may not have imposed Diocletian’s death penalty, they are just as willing to squash dissent.

In a country that churns out thousands of pages of new regulations each week, it’s easy to find a reason to go after someone. As you read this letter, in fact, you are probably in violation of at least a dozen regulatory offenses.

In the case of Egan-Jones, the SEC brought administrative action against the agency within two weeks of their second downgrade. And a few days ago, the case was settled.

I’m sure you have already guessed the ending: Egan-Jones is banned from for the next 18 months from rating US government debt. They’ve effectively been silenced from telling the truth…..

Read more at Scam complete: the US government takes a page from Diocletian’s book… – Business Insider.

A New Idea on How to Fix the Ratings Agencies – CNBC

John Carney comes up with an idea to fix the rating agencies:

Instead, we could restrict the access that ratings agencies have to non-public information, perhaps along the lines that we ban selective disclosure under Regulation FD. An issuer could be banned from disclosing to a ratings agency any information that it does not generally disclose to the public. All ratings would be based on public information.

That would increase transparency, encourage new entrants and promote competition.

via A New Idea on How to Fix the Ratings Agencies – CNBC.