Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas and NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet (Images: AAP)

As 2020 has ushered in a new era in both monetary and fiscal policy, so too do the big ratings agencies now occupy a very different position from days gone by.

Pre-COVID, a ratings downgrade was something all Australian policymakers lived in fear of, as indicating poor fiscal discipline or catastrophic economic management. Now -- well, who cares (unless you're News Corp title and you want to attack Daniel Andrews).

S&P, among the three main credit raters, yesterday broke first and downgraded the standings of Victoria and NSW after their recent budgets revealed a rise in debt, a surge in spending, and no talk of a return to surplus any time soon.