Missouri Mom Tells Off S&P
Lucy Nobbe from Kirkwood, Missouri decided to take matters into her own hands. She rented a plane and a banner and flew over Standard & Poor’s Manhattan offices Tuesday with this message: “Thanks for the downgrade- you should all be fired.”
Representing the outrage felt by tens of millions of Americans over S&P’s downgrade of the United States to AA+ status last Friday, Lucy had enough. She says she initially planned to fly over the Capitol building with the same message for our nation’s gridlocked lawmakers, but realized airspace restrictions over Washington, D.C. would have resulted in an escort from F16 jet fighters and an interview with the Secret Service so she did the next best thing.
To many, many people, S&P’s actions last week smacks them as deeply unpatriotic. The symbolic downgrade has helped send the nation’s and the world’s stock markets into turmoil and caused millions of people sleepless nights as they watch their 401K’s sink into oblivion. S&P then promptly downgraded Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which should now make it more expensive for people to get home loans in an already depressed housing market. And they’re not done yet as S&P has now embarked on a downgrading spree; targeting states, counties and municipalities across the nation.
And even if S&P’s message about a dysfunctional American political system was painfully true- their mission is supposed to be grading companies and countries on their credit-worthiness. As their actions helped cause the markets to tank, their own case for the downgrade was belied by the fact the entire world went to the safest haven they could find- the very U.S. Treasuries S&P had just said were unreliable.
As it was there were two parts to S&P’s downgrade message; one economic and one about the political gridlock in DC. As they got the math wrong and overstated the size of the debt by $2 trillion, they admitted their error, dropped the economic argument and presented only the political one.
We don’t need to get into the fact S&P had given Enron a AAA rating until just about the day they went bankrupt, gave sterling ratings to companies who held worthless subprime mortgage loans four years ago, and missed the European debt crisis until it was well underway. It’s more primal than all that. They downgraded America.
And Lucy Nobbe, a single mom and broker who knows a thing or two about finance ended up spending $900 to rent the plane and the banner and make her voice heard over the offices of Standard & Poor’s, speaking for millions of others who continue to scratch their heads at the gridlock and the insanity of it all.
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