With news like this, who needs satire? According to the Financial Times, Italy’s Corte di Conti is claiming €234 billion in damages from the ratings agency Standard & Poor’s for repeatedly downgrading the country’s credit during the Eurozone crisis in 2011.
Previous reports have indicated the auditor is considering whether “reckless” rating agency reports on Italy’s public debt contributed to a worsening of the sovereign debt crisis, forcing the governments of Silvio Berlusconi and then Mario Monti to take emergency measures. […]The prospect of sovereign downgrades caused waves of selling of government debt from countries such as Italy and Spain, raising their borrowing costs and further damaging their public finances. (FT)
As if the mere fact that Italy is considering suing a ratings agency over the shambolic state of its own economy isn’t hilarious enough, the reasoning behind the claim that S&P acted “recklessly” in downgrading Italy is—how to put this—totally bunga bunga:
Notifying S&P that it was considering legal action, the Corte dei Conti wrote: “S&P never in its ratings pointed out Italy’s history, art or landscape which, as universally recognised, are the basis of its economic strength.” (FT)
How odd that, in enumerating the various treasures of Italy’s rich cultural heritage, the state auditor failed to include what must be the greatest gem of all: the never-ending opera buffa that is Italian politics.