Zach Carter

Zach Carter writes a weekly blog on the economy for The Media Consortium. His work has appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and on CNBC.

Recent Articles

Rating Agencies, Discredited

The major credit raters helped fuel the sub-prime mortgage crisis by saying risky assets were safe bets. So why is the government now relying on their help to rescue the economy?

With the global economy frozen in a protracted credit crunch, consumer loans have unquestionably been in short supply. Banks are jacking up interest rates on credit cards or cancelling accounts altogether; auto financing is nearly impossible to obtain. This week, the Federal Reserve began implementing a program designed to combat the problem and make more loans available to citizens. However, the central bank could be courting disaster by relying on the same rating agencies that helped cause the crunch in the first place. The Fed hopes that its new Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility (TALF) will get consumer credit flowing again by giving the securities market a boost. Under the plan, the central bank will give money to financial companies that agree to buy up newly issued securities composed of car and credit-card loans. This fresh demand from investors will ideally enable banks to extend more loans to consumers. But by relying on the major credit-rating agencies to ensure...