Photo: Jessica Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Standard and Poors downgraded Japan to AA-. The statement, via FT Alphaville:
“The downgrade reflects our appraisal that Japan’s government debt ratios – already among the highest for rated sovereigns – will continue to rise further than we envisaged before the global economic recession hit the country and will peak only in the mid-2020s.”
2. The Congressional Budget Office projects a a record $1.5 trillion deficit for 2011. The report gives leverage to both sides of the debate over government spending and tax cuts.
3. The future is grim for Social Security, which faces declining payroll taxes and the coming onslaught of ageing baby boomers. The social safety net program is completely underwater this year and projected to run out by 2037.
5. Moody’s has started to reevaluate state debt to account for unfunded pension liabilities, reports Mary Williams Marsh of The New York Times. States have “ardently resisted” this move for some time.
6. Maine’s $4.3 billion in unfunded pension liability is keeping the state treasurer “awake at night.” State legislators thanked him for his input but denied any fiscal crisis.
7. Egyptian Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, a longtime opponent of the Mubarek regime, is on his way back to Egypt to join the “young people” demanding democratic reform. Stratfor doubts Egypt is experiencing a true popular uprising and asks who is really behind the demands for regime change.
8. Nassau County could not get its fiscal house in order despite credit downgrades and endless of warnings from the state. The county’s budget is “built on a foundation of sand,” according to one member of the state oversight board that seized control of Nassau finances Wednesday.
9. Mitt Romney is getting closer to formally declaring his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.
10. Israel is in the unfamiliar role of anxious bystander as political upheaval roils Lebanon and Egypt. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the U.S. is taking a wait-and-see approach in Lebanon, prompting the country’s new prime minister to thank her for sparing him a speech.
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