Cornelius Hurley, director of Boston University’s Center for Finance, Law & Policy, says at the end of the day what concerns any investor is whether or not they’re going to get their money, not what led to the downgrade. From 1981-89, Hurley was general counsel of Shawmut National Corporation, a Boston financial institution.

He says that the recent debate in Congress over whether or not the U.S. would honor its debt would never be acceptable in any corporate setting. “Investors in these instruments—whether they’re short-term or long-term—go right to the bottom line: ‘Am I going to be paid?’ ” Hurley called the recent debate in Washington traumatic. “ The question was whether we were going to default on our debt,” he says. “That’s a debate we shouldn’t have even been having.” CorpCounsel.com spoke with Hurley on Monday about what whether the downgrade was justified and what the new AA+ rating means for big corporations.

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