"Fallen Angels" Litter Corporate America
The Wall Street Journal did a story on the disappearance of Triple 'A' rated corporations in the US. "General Motors Corp. used to be one. So did Ford Motor Co. and American International Group Inc. But over the years, the elite of American business, the triple-A-rated company, has become an endangered species."
"Only six U.S. nonfinancial companies now sport a triple-A debt rating from S&P compared with 32 in 1980. Over the same period, the tally of banks, utilities and industrial companies enjoying a Moody's top rating has fallen to six from 58."
Only in profligrate America could such a turn of events be celebrated. "Some economists say the trend also illustrates a more positive development since the early 1980s: U.S. companies' increased willingness to take chances to grow, although corporate courage has withered a bit amid scandals and a concomitant step-up in regulation."
"In the larger context of U.S. economic history, the dwindling list of triple-A's reflects a tectonic shift in priorities. 'As the U.S. lost its dominant position in the world economy, competitive pressures forced companies to assume more risk.'"