Skip to comments.Newsflash for the Pundits: Analysts have a poor collective track record
Posted on 07/23/2011 10:42:55 AM PDT by publius321
Officials from Standard & Poors and other credit rating agencies told a gathering of Republicans this week that a default on the nations debt by the federal government could lead to a death spiral in the bond market.
We have enough tax revenue to make our interest payments so not- increasing the debt ceiling shouldn't lead to a default on the interest payments. The significance of what has taken place in this incident is being misinterpreted.
Pundits Bill OReilly, Kudlow, Charles Krauthammer and old guard Senators like James Coburn are championing the status quo. Krauthammer is contending that Republicans have over played their hand and appear as unreasonable.
The fundamental problem with their melodrama is they are all making the mistake of assuming that the proffered opinion of S&P and Moodys is somehow an axiom. Nobody is asking the question, who are these people and why- should we blithely give their opinions credence? I take issue with the very premise. The notion that our debt- should- be DOWNGRADED based upon the debt ceiling not being raised is erroneous at its core and heres why.
The people at these ratings agencies are merely analysts with their own opinions and are subject to their personal biases like anyone else. One thing that I have found about financial analysts in my career as a Financial Advisor is they are dead wrong at least as often as they are right. How soon we forget that many of these analysts slapped AAA ratings on CDOs and CMOs that were packed with tranches of pure garbage, liar loans. Most of these analysts LOVED the general obligation municipal bonds that were recently hammered down in valuation. Several years before the meltdown, municipal bond traders at a major global wire house told me that standard procedure was for these bond ratings agencies was to automatically slap a AAA+ rating on a GO bond if that state or municipality simply purchased an insurance policy from the muni bond insurers like MBIA & AMBAC. By the way, those insurers are not sound. One of the top bond insurers, AMBAC went bankrupt this past November and MBIA is on life support at best. Most of these muni bonds trade steeply below their IPO prices in the secondary market and are being propped up along with the junk bond market by the Federal Reserves exceedingly low interest rate policy.
Sure, we could see a self-fulfilling prophecy where our bonds trade down on Monday after a week of apocalyptic rhetoric. But the major buyers of US Treasuries in the primary market now have MORE reason to bid the price of Treasuries UPWARD as a result.
The indisputable fact is that thanks to the tea party movement, we have finally elected a group to congress who recognize the gravity of the situation and are willing to stand up to the demagoguery that has for decades led to the pitiful compromise that CAUSED this situation. That cause has been the appeasement of and by self-serving politicians who rasied the debt ceiling over and over and over again - in order to buy votes.
If the GOP led congress had capitulated and done what their predecessors have done for decades, follow the path of least resistance, they would have signaled to the world that we do not have what it takes to save this country from certain bankruptcy. We do not have TIME to make symbolic gestures with diminutive cuts and growth killing tax increases, regardless of what some academic quants think at Standard & Poors. Smart money, i.e. countries and entities who buy up tens of billions worth of US paper should have MORE confidence than yesterday that we are going to be able to exercise the fiscal discipline requisite to maintain these obligations into the distant future. I maintain that despite the manipulative rhetoric of Barack Obama and Harry Reed, the outlook for Treasuries and the US dollar is much more positive today than it was yesterday as a result of Boehner walking away from business as usual.
The smart money do not make their commitments based upon the prosaic reasoning of a Standard and Poor analyst. If prosperity truly was a corollary to reading an S&P report, the analysts at these agencies and the webmasters who publish the reports would be the wealthiest people on the planet because they get the analysis first. The strength of the US Treasury cannot be buttressed by Standard and Poors but rather the integrity of those who stand behind it.
Given the dismal track record of the analysts, I would no sooner solicit their subjective opinion on any financial instrument than I would that of an art or movie critic like Rodger Ebert. Ebert may be just as reliable. Concerning the scare tactics of the senate liberals, the last people I would listen to on fiscal matters is a group of elected ambulance chasers. The President would be much better suited to capitalizing on slip and fall victims. He and the rest of the lawyers should stick to that which they understand.
With the power of over-reaching government agencies like the SEC and a rogue Attorney General at his disposal, I cant help but wonder what type of communication might be taking place between the Obama administration and executives at these ratings agencies that are profitable businesses in the highly regulated industry of Wall Street. Just saying - it might merit an investigation as the timing of their sudden proclamations could be perceived as somewhat peculiar.
As to the specious contentions of the establishment media pundits, they should be questioned as well. Krauthammer accusing them of over playing their hand (by not betraying us like they did before we lost our majority) - has a deceptive look of legitimacy because of the polls these pundits cite. In the same hour the pundits on Fox were was citing a poll that shows 60+ percent of Americans do NOT want the debt ceiling raised, these pundits cited a poll indicating that some 40%+ would blame the Republicans if the debt ceiling isnt raised. Those two polls are actually somewhat congruent. The problem is that Krauthammer and the rest of the panel frame the polls and use their voice inflection to portray that as a NEGATIVE. If 60%+ of Americans DONT WANT the debt ceiling to be raised we should WANT the blame, especially if we actually BELIEVE in the cause which we advance!
- Scott Ryan
As one who likes to consider the record thought processes of those whose opinions I take into account, below are some relevant highlights to compare to the opinions of the analysts with whom I have for years taken issue... (continued below the original column at Table Of Wisdom)
don’t get tricked into believing what pundits like those listed are truly interested in providing insightful analysia based on facts and logic.
Their primary motivation is to say and do whatever it takes to maintain their position (and income) as pundits. Why does Bill O’Reilly profess to be an Independent so vocally? Because he’s smart enough to realize he makes more money by not alienating half of his potential audience, that’s why.
Everything they say is about them, first. The truth or anything else is just a means to that end.
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