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Thomas Kenny

Fitch Warns United States: Fix the Fiscal Cliff or Lose AAA Rating

By November 7, 2012

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The election might be over, but the partisan bickering may be just getting underway. Now that voting day has come and gone, politicians will need to turn their attention to the next problem: addressing the fiscal cliff and raising the debt ceiling. If they don't, warns the rating agency Fitch, the United States may be vulnerable to another downgrade to its credit rating. In August, 2011, Standard & Poor's took a downgraded the United States' AAA rating following the last debate involving the debt ceiling. Among the notable quotes from Fitch's statement were:

  • "The economic policy challenge facing the President is to put in place a credible deficit-reduction plan necessary to underpin economic recovery and confidence in the full faith and credit of the (United States). Resolution of these fiscal policy choices would likely result in the US retaining its 'AAA' status from Fitch."
  • "The fiscal cliff - some ($600 billion) of tax increases and spending cuts that come into effect on 1 January 2013 - and an increase in the debt ceiling are pressing issues that the President and Congress must address in the coming weeks if the US is to avoid a fiscal and economic crisis."
  • "Failure to reach even a temporary arrangement to prevent the full range of tax increases and spending cuts implied by the fiscal cliff and a repeat of the August 2011 debt ceiling episode would mean that the general election had not resolved the political gridlock in Washington and likely result in a sovereign rating downgrade by Fitch."

The full text of Fitch's statement is available here.

Learn more:

What is the fiscal cliff?

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