POLITICO’s Ben White obtained the draft copy of S&P’s downgrade press release (presumably from livid-Treasury Department officials), which shows a marked change in the section dealing with public debt — the same area Treasury accused the ratings agency of making a $2 trillion error.
The fifth, and most extensive, bullet point in the draft version is toned down and moved to page four in the final version, while the final release adds emphasis to the agency’s concerns about U.S. policy making.
In a blog post, Treasury outlined “a $2 trillion error,” while administration officials criticised the agency all weekend for going ahead with the downgrade after making the mistake.
S&P for its part denies there was ever an error, as executive David Beers said on CNBC last night, “We don’t acknowledge there was a mistake. These are highly technical issues.”
Compare them yourself below:
Draft release (via POLITICO’s Ben White): “Even if the government fully implements this week’s agreement, we project that the U.S.’s net public debt burden will continue to grow through the middle of the decade–and potentially beyond. Under our base case scenario, U.S. net public debt rises from 74% of GDP to 81% in 2015, and 93% by 2021. By contrast, for ‘AAA’ sovereigns we view as key peers of the U.S. – Canada, France, Germany, and the U.K. – we project their net public debt burdens to decline by, or even before, 2015.”
Final Release: “Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government’s debt dynamics anytime soon.”
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