He took away the country’s top AAA rating in 2011. He ended up fearing for his life

John B. Chambers, former leader of the powerful committee at Standard & Poor’s, faced serious threats after stripping the United States of its AAA credit rating in 2011.

The decision: In 2011, the creditworthiness committee at S&P chose to lower the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ due to concerns about government divisions and decision-making.
* The U.S. economy had held a AAA rating from all three major rating agencies—Fitch, Moody’s, and S&P—for decades.
* The downgrade decision followed tense negotiations on raising the nation’s debt limit.

Market impact: The announcement of the downgrade fueled a global sell-off, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropping more than 600 points and the Nasdaq closing 6.9% lower.

Facing threats: Chambers experienced a massive backlash for the decision, receiving hate mail and serious threats which led to the implementation of security measures like having a bodyguard while walking his dog.
* The Obama administration strongly criticized S&P’s decision and questioned its methodology.

Looking back: Chambers believes political polarization has worsened since the downgrade, and he worries that the U.S. is squandering its economic supremacy due to its ongoing political divisions.

View original article on NPR

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