Credit Rating Agencies and Brazil: Why The S&P’s Rating About Brazil Sovereign Debt Is Nonsense

Felipe Rezende

So S&P has downgraded Brazil’s rating on long-term foreign currency debt to junk and lowered its long-term local currency sovereign credit rating to ‘BBB-‘ from ‘BBB+’.

First, what are sovereign debt ratings? Standard & Poor’s sovereign rating is defined as follows:

A current opinion of the creditworthiness of a sovereign government, where creditworthiness encompasses likelihood of default and credit stability (and in some cases recovery).

So that ratings are related to “a sovereign’s ability and willingness to service financial obligations to nonofficial (commercial) creditors.”

What does this tell us? To begin with, credit rating agencies have repeatedly been wrong. The same agencies that rated Enron investment grade just weeks before it went bust, the same people that assigned triple A rating to toxic subprime mortgage-backed securities are now downgrading Brazil sovereign debt. As the FCIC report pointed out “The three credit rating agencies were key enablers of the financial meltdown. The mortgage-related securities at the heart of the crisis could not have been marketed and sold without their seal of approval.” (FCIC 2011)

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MMT In Spain

To update our Spanish friends:

In an effort to bring MMT into the political debate in Spain, APEEP will be hosting Warren Mosler for his presentation of the Spanish translation of his  book “The Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy” during a one-week tour through Spain, starting with a presentation in Madrid, on the 14th of September; Valencia on the 15th of September; and Vila-real on the 17th of September.

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More on the DOJ’s Prosecution Policy

William D. Cohan in the later part of his post “Justice Dept. Shift on White-Collar Crime Is Long Overdue” over at NYT extensively presents and supports NEP’s Bill Black’s views from Bill’s recent post “Now the DOJ Admits They Got it Wrong“.

DOJ’s Rules for Wall Street Are Nothing New

David Cay Johnston, Brandon Garrett and NEP’s Bill Black appear on HuffPostLive discussing DOJ’s rules for Wall Street. You can view it here.


Now the DOJ Admits They Got it Wrong

William K. Black

September 10, 2015

By issuing its new memorandum the Justice Department is tacitly admitting that its experiment in refusing to prosecute the senior bankers that led the fraud epidemics that caused our economic crisis failed. The result was the death of accountability, of justice, and of deterrence. The result was a wave of recidivism in which elite bankers continued to defraud the public after promising to cease their crimes. The new Justice Department policy, correctly, restores the Department’s publicly stated policy in Spring 2009. Attorney General Holder and then U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch ignored that policy emphasizing the need to prosecute elite white-collar criminals and refused to prosecute the senior bankers who led the fraud epidemics.

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Interview of L. Randall Wray by Dasha Chernyshova, Moscow reporter for the Sputnik News Agency

Q: In simple terms, how is the slowdown in China affecting the Eurozone?

A: I think the impact is overstated. China is still growing relatively rapidly. Her consumers enjoy rising incomes. They want high quality foreign manufactured goods—prestige goods, luxury goods. Over the short run, the Eurozone will still enjoy positive growth of Chinese demand. The bigger impact could be on commodities exporters (Russia, Brazil). China is learning how to economize on use of natural resources in her attempt to move toward sustainable growth.

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Grexit: Exchanges on the IT Problem Continue

I’ve already been over Louis Proyect’s critical analysis of the chapter on the IT software problem in my new e-book. But in the comments on Proyect’s post a significant dialogue occurred between two commenters at NC: Ben Johannson and Clive. Here I analyze and comment on that exchange. Continue reading

On the IT Problem of Grexit: A Reply

I’d like to start by thanking Louis Proyect for commenting on at least part of my new e-book Austerity, Greece’s Debt Crisis and the Theft of Democracy namely the chapter entitled “The Information Technology Problem.” His opening paragraph begins by including an aside calling Professor William Mitchell’s ideas about these problems “unrealistic.”

Professor Mitchell’s ideas on the amount of work involved in Grexit, may or may not be unrealistic, but I think it was unnecessary to say that at the beginning of the post, without also stating why Louis Proyect thinks so, or at least providing a link to one or more of his earlier posts at Naked Capitalism where he explains his reasons for thinking that. Continue reading

Austerity, Greece’s Debt Crisis, and the Death of Democracy: A Book about Greece and Much More

The Eurozone is an instrument of the globalization process that is setting financial elites over all nations of the world, including the democracies. The situation in Greece exposes the true nature of the Eurozone institutions as a naked fact, beyond spinning, for all to see. They are popular sovereignty-thieves and democracy-killers, with the power necessary to shut democratic governments down.

The architectural flaw in the Maastricht Treaty: that the nations of Europe were giving up their monetary sovereignty, was immediately recognized as fatal by acute economists, and many predicted failure. But, what was not seen clearly were the political implications of giving the ECB, the ability to deny liquidity to the banking systems of nations, and, in so doing to perform, essentially, coups rendering elected governments of democratic nation states powerless to enact policies they were elected to pass. This “theft of democracy” contradicts the EU’s commitment to advance democracy. It steals what was so hard won from the peoples of Europe. Continue reading

Why Bernie Sanders Should Add a Job Guarantee to His Policy Agenda

By Pavlina R. Tcherneva

Discussions of the ‘politically possible’ always remind me of a favorite quote: “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.”

Bernie Sanders’ issues page reads like a list of everything we’ve been told is not politically possible.  And yet he’s getting record breaking support, precisely because people are tired of being told that something cannot be done–that it is impossible to get money out of politics, or that tackling inequality and racial injustice is unrealistic, or that securing a living wage is a political nonstarter.

Bernie has unapologetically rejected sclerotic visions of what is ‘politically possible’.  And now he should add the Job Guarantee (JG) to his list of issues. Indeed, he already has the key ingredients—a bold proposal to eliminate unemployment by creating 13 million decent-paying jobs, a living wage, and a federally-funded youth job guarantee, which Sandy Darity correctly called a stepping stone (a pilot program) to a blanket job guarantee for all.

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