Moody’s considers downgrading U.S. credit rating

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson speaking in Aspen about the current budget/debt situtation. (Image:

A scenario former United States Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson described as “unthinkable” during a recent discussion in Aspen is apparently imaginable in the minds of Moody’s Investors Service.

Moody’s is the first of the big-three rating agencies to place the United States’ triple-A rating on review for a possible downgrade. The agency said there is a small but rising risk the federal government could default on its debt.

Speaking earlier this month at the Aspen Ideas Festival, sponsored jointly by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic magazine, Paulson doubted the government couldn’t meet its obligations to its creditors.

“It’s unthinkable to me that the United States of America is ever going to default,” he said.

Moody’s is taking a different view, which sent dollar and U.S. stock futures tumbling late Wednesday. The rating agency put the nation’s leaders on notice last month that the debt ceiling needed raising. Democrats and Republicans, however, are locking horns over the politics surrounding such a move.

To watch additional videos from the Aspen Ideas Festival, all related to the debt and budget, or to read the rest of this story, originally published at, click here.

Troy Hooper covers environmental policy for the American Independent News Network. His work has been published in The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Huffington Post, San Francisco Weekly, Playboy, New York Post, People and dozens of other publications. Hooper has covered the Winter Olympics in Italy, an extreme ski camp in South America and gone behind the scenes with Hunter S. Thompson on election night in 2004. Born and raised in Boulder, Hooper has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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