Oskaloosa.com

August 8, 2011

Question of the Week: Are you worried about the nation's economic future?

By DUANE NOLLEN
The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — An overwhelming majority of those readers who voted on this past week’s Question of the Week: Should Congress pas a Balanced Budget Amendment? said YES.

Sixty-seven — 79 percent — answered YES while 17 — 20 percent — said NO and one — 1 percent — replied I DON’T CARE.

The Question of the Week poll is not scientific and only reflects the opinions of those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The Question of the Week is just another way the Herald’s readers can voice their opinions about issues that affect them.

This week’s Question of the Week deals with the public’s perception of the economy.

The United States lost its AAA bond rating Friday after Standard & Poor’s officials lowered it to show dissatisfaction with the debt reduction plan Congress passed. This is the first time the nation’s credit rating has fallen below the highest level, AAA. The U.S. had held that rating since 1917, the Associated Press reported.

One fear in the market has been that a downgrade would scare buyers away from U.S. debt. If that were to happen, the interest rate paid on U.S. bonds, notes and bills would have to rise to attract buyers. And that could lead to higher borrowing rates for consumers, since the rates on mortgages and other loans are pegged to the yield on Treasury securities.

However, even without an AAA rating from S&P, U.S. debt is seen as one of the safest investments in the world. And investors clearly weren’t scared away this past week, the AP reported.

“It’s a downgrade and it’s bad, but if it spurs more conversation about bringing down spending and maybe more intelligent tax policy, it could be a good thing in the long run,” said Frank Barbera, a portfolio manager of the Sierra Core Retirement Fund, in an AP report.

Does this news worry you?

What do you think?

This week’s Question of the Week: Are you worried about the nation’s economic future?

People can vote on The Herald’s Web site, oskaloosa.com, from Monday through noon on Friday. Then, votes will be tallied and published the following Monday.