Standard & Poor's CEO defended his company's downgrade of the U.S. triple-A credit rating, saying S&P had no political agenda and was not overcompensating for missing the subprime mortgage mess that precipitated the current economic situation.
"Our role is to call the risks objectively, with transparency, and that’s what we try to do to fulfill our role and that’s what our job is for the benefit of investors," Deven Sharma told CNBC Monday.
He pointed out that going from a triple-A to double-A-plus rating "doesn’t mean [the U.S. is] going to default, it just means its more risky today than a year ago."
S&P factored in the political process because it "speaks to how the fiscal, economic and monetary choices are being made," Sharma said, adding he was pleased by President Obama's speech today addressing the need for U.S. lawmakers to have a new sense of urgency to tackle long-term deficit spending.
S&P's view was based on a number of factors including projections of rising debt levels. Sharma said despite cuts mandated by last week's debt-ceiling legislation, the U.S. 2015 debt level will be $14 trillion, or 25 percent higher than today. "The fact is, the debt levels are still doubling from where we are today and that is an issue to address," he said.