I've posted about the rating agencies--Moody's, S&P, Fitch--myself, and about their culpability in the financial calamity that has now destroyed the markets in almost everything. I say it, so it's an opinion.
But when the chairman and CEO of Lazard says it, believe me, you should really pay attention; here is Bruce Wasserstein in Thursday's Wall Street Journal. And here's the essence:
The ratings agencies are at the vortex of the storm. What were they thinking? In a housing crash situation, which had a reasonable chance of happening, how could the securities rated AAA be worthy of that rarified appellation. They couldn't and they shouldn't have been. But it was that label that got institutions around the world to buy into the bubble. That demand generated the hunger for more product and therefore drove "innovations" such as the document-free loan. The losses and write-offs will continue.