Rate Raters, Casino Traders and the Greek Debt Problem

BY Paul Solman  February 6, 2012 at 11:41 AM EST

The headquarters for S&P.
Standard & Poor’s Headquarters in Lower Manhattan. Photo by B64 via Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Solman answers questions from the NewsHour audience on business and economic news here on his Making Sen$e page. Here are a trio of queries for Monday:

Peter Steiner asks: Who rates the raters?

Paul Solman: Rater raters? No one. Still.


Warren Rottmann asks: Are the stock exchanges of today more of a casino for traders rather than an exchange for investors? Is options trading and ultra-short trading at the heart of it?

Paul Solman: Sure seems like it.


Demos Kazanas asks: A solution to the Greek debt problem I have not seen discussed is Greece paying its internal obligations (its budget is 50 percent of its GDP) in low interest (1 percent) euro denominated bonds. These will be worth 50 percent-70 percent of nominal value and could serve as currency substitute while injecting much needed liquidity in its economy. There are many benefits of such a move, not least of which that it will force moving away from cash and into electronic transactions across the economy, thus reducing tax avoidance. I would value your view on this notion.

Paul Solman: So you mean every government worker would take an immediate pay cut of up to 50 percent? I can certainly believe that, as you say, “There are many benefits of a such a move,” but unless I’m missing something, domestic tranquility is not likely to be one of them.

This entry is cross-posted on the Rundown- NewsHour’s blog of news and insight.