We’ve never put much stock in the judgment of credit-ratings agencies. But by issuing a series of downgrades of giant banks this week, Moody’s Investors Service may have performed a taxpayer service. Two years ago President Obama and Congressional Democrats told Americans they had strengthened the banking system and revoked too-big-to-fail privileges from the financial giants. Now Moody’s can help Americans understand that the 2010 Dodd-Frank law has fulfilled neither promise. The law’s signature achievements are higher costs, reduced opportunities and weaker banks.
Moody’s conducted an extensive review of the 15 banks that are the largest players in the global capital markets. The Wall Street gang’s all here—Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, etc. The result is a series of credit-rating downgrades. In other words, Moody’s is opining that the risk that one of these financial giants will default on its bonds, while still small, has been on the rise.