[Marxism] Background on Standard and Poor's

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Aug 6 08:01:46 MDT 2011

TRENDING: GOP candidates slam Obama after downgrade
By: CNN's Kevin Liptak

Washington (CNN) – Republican presidential candidates issued harsh 
criticism of President Barack Obama Friday after the credit rating 
agency Standard and Poor’s announced it was downgrading America’s 
long-term debt status.

“America’s creditworthiness just became the latest casualty in President 
Obama’s failed record of leadership on the economy,” Former 
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said in a statement. “Standard & Poor’s 
rating downgrade is a deeply troubling indicator of our country’s 
decline under President Obama. His failed policies have led to high 
unemployment, skyrocketing deficits, and now, the unprecedented loss of 
our nation’s prized AAA credit rating.”


Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Moody’s and S&P Avoid Cutting Ratings on AAA Subprime

A kind reader Tim e-mailed me this Bloomberg story, which apparently is 
only up on the professional version (yes, I am a member of the great 
unwashed who lacks a Bloomberg feed. Now you know what to get me for 
Christmas). I’ll add a proper link once it migrates over.

The rating agencies have taken some steps to show a new toughmindedness. 
Standard & Poor’s announced with some fanfare in January that they were 
going to either downgrade or put on negative watch $534 billion of debt. 
S&P was also so kind as to estimate that these moves could increase bank 
losses, now at roughly $130 billion, to $265 billion.

A week later, S&P announced some internal changes in an effort to 
bolster its damaged reputation. These moves seemed a bit late in coming, 
given the firestorm of well-deserved criticism aimed at rating agencies. 
Indeed, the timing was a bit sus, as they would say in Australia, coming 
only as international regulators are considering how to improve rating 
agency conduct. The decision to issue the press release now could be 
viewed as an effort to take the wind out the sails of the International 
Organization of Securities Commissions plans to implement a code of conduct.

The Bloomberg story confirms our cynicism about the S&P’s and Moody’s. 
It reports that the rating agencies have held back from downgrading AAA 
subprime related securities.


Around the world, The McGraw-Hill Companies provides people with the 
information and insights they need to adapt and grow in changing times.

Founded in 1888, it is a leading global financial information and 
education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the 
Knowledge Economy.

Leading brands include Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts 
energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates.

By working together with our customers and partners, these brands are 
laying the foundation for a smarter, better world. (Watch the video - 
right - to hear what our employees have to say).

     Harold McGraw III serves as Chairman, President and CEO.
     The Corporation is headquartered in New York City and has more than 
280 offices in 40 countries.
     Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion.
     Employees worldwide total approximately 21,000.


August 3, 2006

Bush ties prove to be lucrative
by William L. Bainbridge

Country western singers Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have been getting far 
more attention than the publishing giant with a similar name that has 
been quietly gathering in our tax dollars like a hungry squirrel getting 
ready for winter.

With sales of $6 billion in 2005, publishing giant McGraw-Hill, no 
relation to the talented musical performers, produced an annualized 
return of 19% last year. Critics of President George W. Bush's 
administration have been vocal about the Bush and Cheney family ties to 
defense contractors at a time of war and, more recently, to their ties 
to the price gouging gasoline producers. Few, however, have noted the 
close and profitable relationship between the Bushes and the leadership 
of McGraw-Hill.

President Bush has managed to keep his family's nearly eighty-year 
relationship- with the McGraws alive and well - - a relationship that, 
according to THE NATION , began between the President's grandfather, 
Prescott Bush, and James McGraw Jr., great uncle of current McGraw-Hill 
Chairman Harold McGraw, III in the 1930's.

While it is generally understood and accepted that exchanging favors 
among business friends in the private sector is common practice, the 
ethics of such practices between government officials and private 
business interests is another matter. Examples in the defense arena and 
among Washington-based lobbyists such as Jack Abrahoff have been broadly 
documented. Such patterns have contributed to the downward spiral that 
has resulted in record low public approval ratings for the current 

Less visible are relationships in other sectors that have proven to be 
no less lucrative. Consider the following:

· Our state governments will have spent as much as $5 billion with 
private firms in the next two years in direct costs to develop, score 
and report the Bush administration'

s "No Child Left Behind" law tests designed to record student 
performance. This is the estimate from the federal Government Accounting 
Office. Only four companies tend to control test development: (1) CTB, a 
testing division of McGraw-Hill, (2) Texas-based Harcourt, (3) 
Illinois-based-Riverside and (4) London-based Pearson. McGraw-Hill's CTB 
division appears to be dominating this lucrative new industry with 
contracts in nearly half the states. Is it because they have a superior 
product and entered into the criterion test market arena first? The test 
publishers have spent millions with officials in government and at some 
foundations on reforms that produce more corporate profits rather than 
substantive benefits for students.

· The National Reading Panel adopted standards for a heavily scripted 
phonics program, favoring the nation's largest phonics publisher, 
McGraw-Hill's "Open Court." McGraw-Hill's representatives dominated the 
panel and the same pubic relations firm worked on the federal plan that 
promoted "Open Court" in Texas, under then Governor George W.. Bush. The 
findings were billed as "scientifically based" built on its "success" in 
the Houston Independent School District. This alleged success has since 
been found to be predicated on an educational statistics numbers scandal.

· U.S. government speakers at conferences have been accused by education 
leaders of crossing an ethical line by endorsing McGraw-Hill products 
including "Open Court" and SRA/McGraw Hill's "Direct Instruction."

· The Association of American Publishers (AAP) sent a letter to the U.S. 
Secretary of Education indicating concern that some programs were 
receiving explicit preference. "We request that you again clarify that 
there is no federally approved list, in this case for assessments, for 
which Reading First funds can be used," AAP said.

· Harold McGraw III, whose companies are major beneficiaries of federal 
education funds to school systems, was appointed a member of the current 
President's transition advisory team.

· Harold McGraw III also was appointed to (1) the Board of Directors of 
oil company ConocoPhillips, (2) the Chairmanship of the National Council 
on Economic Education and (3) the Education Task Force of the Business 

· Two former U.S. Secretaries of Education received the Harold W. McGraw 
Prize in Education. When one considers the influence the U.S. Department 
of Education has over school system spending with educational 
publishers, should accepting such and award from a publisher raise 

Some would consider these matters as additional examples of the culture 
that has been widely reported as permeating the present White House. It 
is difficult to see how such attitudes and practices benefit children, 
and contribute to taxpayers' efforts to support improved student 

More information about the Marxism mailing list