Rating agencies have needed to get tough for years

04/20/2011 | Wall Street Journal, The

Credit rating agencies have been blamed for contributing to the financial crisis by awarding top marks to countries, financial institutions and securities that were unworthy. The agencies are lowering ratings or warning that they might, as evidenced by a "negative" outlook on U.S. debt by Standard & Poor's. Financial markets should welcome the change, but taxpayers worldwide probably wish they had done so years ago.

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Wall Street Journal, The