The Gist

Debt Ratings Are Like The Emmys

Four years after a scary downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, The Gist turns to the The Sopranos to find out why an economic meltdown failed to materialize.

What are the remnants of the S&P downgrade from 2011?

Photo by Franco Folini

Listen to Episode 313 of Slate’s The Gist:

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Four years ago today, the U.S. debt rating by Standard & Poor’s was downgraded from AAA to AA+. An assortment of politicians and rich people warned us this would be a day we’d never forget. We forgot. On The Gist, Adam Davidson explains the surprising power private credit ratings agencies such as S&P, Moody’s and Fitch have been given by the U.S., and what that means for global development. He’s a contributor to New York Times Magazine and a founder of NPR’s Planet Money.

Also, Adam Davidson is hosting a new podcast with Adam McKay called Awesome Boring. Here’s a teaser.

For the Spiel, the GOP debates have to do with the future of the Republican Party.

Today’s sponsor: Casper, the online retailer of premium mattresses for a fraction of the price. Get $50 toward any mattress purchase by visiting and using the promo code GIST.

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