Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service are cutting corporate debt ratings at the fastest pace since 2009 as a global economic slowdown and record borrowing erode credit quality.
The ratio of ratings downgrades to upgrades worldwide climbed to 1.85 this year from 1.23 in 2011, according to S&P data. PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG), Europe’s second-largest carmaker, was cut three times by Moody’s since March to speculative grade. Fort Worth, Texas-basedRadioShack Corp. (RSH) was lowered four steps this year by S&P to seven levels below investment grade. Defaults rose to 80 issuers from 52 in 2011, according to S&P.
Europe’s second recession in four years and slowing global economic growth are helping to push a measure of corporate debt to earnings to a three-year high, Barclays Plc data show. Companies from the neediest to the most creditworthy sold unprecedented amounts of debt at record-low yields in 2012 as the Federal Reserve held interest rates at almost zero for a fourth year in an effort to boost the U.S. economy.
“We’re going to have an elevated level of negative outlooks,” Diane Vazza, head of S&P’s global fixed-income research, said in a telephone interview. “The companies that we’re seeing with downgrade pressure are speculative-grade companies.”
The Treasury said on Dec. 28 it would suspend issuance of State and Local Government Series securities, known as “slugs”, which are special low-interest Treasury securities offered to state and local governments to temporarily invest proceeds from municipal bond sales.
The Treasury said the debt ceiling is set to be reached on Dec. 31, but analysts believe extraordinary measures can stave that date off into February.
America Is Rapidly Becoming A Nation Of Takers, The Number Of People On Welfare Exceeds The Number Of People With Jobs In 11 States: : California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico and Hawaii.
America is rapidly becoming a nation of takers. An increasing number of Americans expect the government to take care of them from the cradle to the grave, and they expect the government to dig into the pockets of others in order to pay for it all. This philosophy can be very seductive, but what happens when the number of takers eventually outnumbers the number of producers? In 11 different U.S. states, the number of government dependents exceeds the number of private sector workers. This list of states includes some of the biggest states in the country: California, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Maine, Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, New Mexico and Hawaii. It is interesting to note that seven of those states were won by Barack Obama on election night. In California, there are 139 “takers” for every 100 private sector workers. That is crazy! The American people have become absolutely addicted to government money, and it gets worse with each passing year. If you can believe it, entitlements accounted for 62 percent of all federal spending in fiscal year 2012. It would be one thing if we could afford all of this spending, but unfortunately we simply cannot. We are drowning in debt, and we are stealing more than a hundred million more dollars from future generations with each passing hour. No bank robber in history can match that kind of theft.
Yes, we will always need a safety net. There are many people out there that simply cannot take care of themselves. We certainly don’t want to see anyone sleeping in the streets or starving to death.
But if the number of people jumping on to the safety net continues to grow at the current pace, the net will break and it will not be available for any of us.
For example, the number of Americans on food stamps grew from about 17 million in 2000 to more than 47 million today. It nearly tripled in just 12 years.
What will happen if it nearly triples again over the next 12 years?
CNNMoney: Homeowners Now Foreclosing on Banks
In an odd kind of role reversal, homeowner and condominium associations are foreclosing on banks that have not paid association dues for properties they own.
Banks are supposed to pay association fees after they foreclose on properties, including unpaid fees going back 12 months in Florida, according to CNNMoney. But sometimes they don’t.
And if they don’t, the condo association and other homeowners still paying their dues must pick up the slack by paying higher bills or skipping maintenance or services. Hundreds of homeowner associations in Florida are now fighting back by foreclosing on bank-owned properties, CNNMoney reports.
Under laws in North Carolina and many other states, banks are only responsible for assessments after the foreclosure deed is recorded and they obtain the property’s title, not fees the former owner failed to pay, Hunter explains.
However, some states, such as Florida, he says, have “super lien” laws that require the bank to pay some of the previous unpaid fees, usually capped at six or 12 months or a percentage of the total unpaid debt.
A Canadian Summarizes America’s Collapse: “Everyone Takes, Nobody Makes, Money Is Free, And Money Is Worthless”
“Everyone takes, nobody makes, work doesn’t pay, indulgence doesn’t cost, money is free, and money is worthless.”
As the year comes to a close, many in the nation’s capitol are focused on the so-called the “fiscal cliff” – the combination of spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect in January if Congress does not reach a new budget deal.
But there’s also a so-called “dairy cliff” looming that has farmers across the Midwest anxious. Because Congress failed to pass a new farm bill, price levels for milk are set to expire at the end of the year. If that happens, the price of milk will nearly double.