Friday, August 5, 2011

USA Credit Rating

It turns out that S&P decided to lower our credit rating as a nation to AA+ from AAA. The article link shows that S&P made a mistake on the exact amount of debt, however, even so the burden of the debt in the long-term seems significant. Moody's and Fitch did not give the same low rating, yet that could change. It is reported that if those agencies agree with the S&P downgrade, then the cost of borrowing for the country and for mortgages and individuals (incl. corporations) would rise. This would slow business apart from other major factors. Interestingly, the weakness of the Eurozone created a situation where US debt was still in demand, as a safe haven asset. For the time being there appears to be a situation where we have a reputation of being better than the rest of the options for safe haven. Still, it cannot be passed by that if S&P is correct that debt would consume 88% equivalent of GDP by 2021, that we have major systemic problems ahead.

Consider: millions upon millions of baby boomers retire out of preference. Millions more are out of work and essentially retired. Those numbers go up. Millenials are too young to take up the slack. The gen inbetween is small. Who is going to prop up paying back the debt and who is going to pay the promises to the boomers that has been borrowed on by other government expenses? There is a dangerous imbalance of commitments against monies coming in. If the Boomers can contribute to a slowed housing market as they sell second homes, downsize, and prepare for retirement savings and days; by knocking small percentages off of what otherwise would be growth, they will also contribute (through no fault of their own per se...) to a stunted economy. This is not a good situation. Especially when they are drawing off their stocks from 401(k)'s and so on.

Why is this relevant to Christian faith? Well again missions funding (Mt 28) will take a hit as giving drops in some churches. Who will pick up the slack internationally? People will be hurting in situations so here and in Europe not much will likely increase (unlike book of Philippians response). Of course, in the foreseeable future, the government will be able to pay them, even if it is an amount less useful due to inflation or lack of adjustment to price increase. Longer term that is up for grabs. As far as ministry opportunities, they would exist from this. Then you have the malaise about us that is culturally pervasive to factor into everything from a sermon to a conversation to witnessing methods. A skeptical and jaded society may arise. Or one that is less reliant on material may arise. Maybe some of both. The kind of situation will certainly be humble, and not wished on anyone. Yet it will have cultural impressions effects.

There's a lot that could play out of this long-term.


David Keuss said...

All of this is interesting given that the Tr. Sec. wanted to cease panic and said it would not happen, but of course, the reality did. See another article at this link on that:

Perhaps though he can be forgiven the more optimistic climate back in April. As an example of how perception affects things, we had a less than expected return on a money series of messages in April. Most people thought all was smooth sailing. This past week's up and downs just gives much pause to that.

David Keuss said...

US Postal Service in risk of default: