Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Canada Real Estate Bubble - Harry_Dent
2.UK House Prices ‘On Brink’ Of Massive 40% Collapse - GoldCore
3.Best Cash ISA for Soaring Inflation, Kent Reliance Illustrates the Great ISA Rip Off - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Understanding true money, Pound Sterling must make another historic low, Euro and Gold outlook! - Marc_Horn
5.5 Maps That Explain The Modern Middle East - GEORGE FRIEDMAN
6.Gold Back With A Vengeance As Bitcoin Bubble Bursts - OilPrice_Com
7.Gold Summer Doldrums - Zeal_LLC
8.Crude Oil Trade & Nasdaq QQQ Update - Plunger
9.Gold And Silver – Why No Rally? Lies, Lies, And More Lies - Michael_Noonan
10.UK Election 2017 Disaster, Fake BrExit Chaos, Forecasting Lessons for Next Time - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Why Surging UK Household Debt Will Cause The Next Crisis - 27th Jul 17
Reconciling the US Dollar Outlook with the Super Bullish Gold and Silver COTs - 26th Jul 17
Last Week’s Rally in Gold Stocks Erased - 26th Jul 17
Dollar, Bitcoin, Markets - Is There A New Flight To Safety? - 26th Jul 17
Central Banks ARE The Crisis - 26th Jul 17
Iran: Public Image Versus Historical Reality - Part 1: An Abridged History to the 20th Century - 26th Jul 17
Trump Fails To Understand One Critical Thing—Our Trade Partners Have Options, Too - 26th Jul 17
Stock Market and Gold Stocks Trend Forecast Update - 25th Jul 17
Saving Illinois: Getting More Bang for Its Bucks - 24th Jul 17
3 Stocks Sectors That Will Win in The Fed’s Great Balance-Sheet Unwind - 24th Jul 17
Activist Investors Are Taking Over Wall Street, Procter and Gamble Might Never Remain the Same - 24th Jul 17
Stock Market Still on Track - 24th Jul 17
Last Chance For US Dollar To Rally - 24th Jul 17
UK House Prices Momentum Crash Warns of 2017 Bear Market - Video - 22nd Jul 17
Crude Oil, Gold, ETFs & more: Pro-grade Market Forecasts - 22nd Jul 17
Warning: The Fed Is Preparing to Crash the Financial System Again - 21st Jul 17
Gold / Silver Shorts Extreme - 21st Jul 17
GBP/USD Bearish Factors - 21st Jul 17
Gold Hedges Against Currency Devaluation and Cost Of Fuel, Food, Beer and Housing - 21st Jul 17
Is It Worth Investing in Palladium? - 21st Jul 17
UK House Prices Momentum Crash Threatens Mini Bear Market 2017 - 21st Jul 17
The Fed May Show Trump No Love - 20th Jul 17
The 3 Best Asset Classes To Brace Your Portfolio For The Next Financial Crisis - 20th Jul 17
Gold Stocks and Bonds - Preparing for THE Bottom - 20th Jul 17
Millennials Can Punt On Bitcoin, Own Safe Haven Gold For Long Term - 20th Jul 17
Trump Has Found A Loophole To Rewrite Trade Agreements Without Anyone’s Permission - 20th Jul 17
Basic Materials and Commodities Analysis and Trend Forecasts - 20th Jul 17
Bitcoin PullBack Is Over (For Now): Cryptocurrencies Gain Nearly A 50% In Last 48 Hours - 19th Jul 17
AAPL's 6% June slide - When Prices Are Falling, TWO Numbers Matter Most - 19th Jul 17
Discover Why A Major American Revolution Is Brewing - 19th Jul 17
iGaming – Stock Prices - 19th Jul 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Crude Oil, Gold, ETFs & more: Pro-grade Market Forecasts

It’s “Chapter 66” as U.S. States Face De Facto Bankruptcy

Economics / US Debt Jul 11, 2010 - 02:02 PM GMT

By: Justice_Litle

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleA number of U.S. states are facing bankruptcy – in fact if not in name – with Illinois and California leading the way.

When an individual goes bankrupt in the United States, it’s usually a Chapter 7. When a business goes under, it’s Chapter 11. Farmers have a Chapter 12, and there is a more complex individual option known as Chapter 13.


But what do you call it when a U.S. state goes under? There’s no official “chapter” for that. But it’s looking more and more like there should be. Your humble editor proposes “Chapter 66,” in honor of a famed stretch of interstate.

U.S. Route 66, also known as “Will Rogers Highway,” “Main Street of America” and “the Mother Road,” was one of the original routes in the U.S. highway system. Opened up to cars in the year 1926, it originally ran 2,448 miles, from Chicago, Ill., to Los Angeles, Calif.

Route 66 was also a major path for westbound migrants, seeking relief from the “dust bowl” conditions of the 1930s.

It’s fitting that Illinois and California were the termination points of that iconic road, because “Chapter 66” is a dark and looming reality for those two states now – with a number of others on the same path. As America endures a sort of new financial dustbowl, the “state of the states” looks grim.

Amber Waves of Debt


The Globe and Mail describes the situation as “red ink, from sea to shining sea.”

“Forty-eight of 50 states face budget shortfalls this year,” they further report. “Many shortfalls amount to more than 20 percent of planned spending. The plunge in state tax revenue is the worst on record.”

(Budget shortfalls may be in the news, but it's not the only thing moving the market right now. If you’re looking for additional market analysis, sign up to read fellow editor Adam Lass' latest on financial market trends and investment commentary.)

How did we get to this sorry spot? By and large the same way Greece did… by spending money we didn’t have, and ignoring the consequences as long as possible.

Oh Boy, Illinois

Illinois is something of an idiot poster child for how bad things have gotten… and how tough the fix will be.

“It is getting worse every single day,” the Illinois state comptroller laments. “We are not paying bills for absolutely essential services. That is obscene.”

Illinois is facing a $12 billion deficit and a $5 billion budget shortfall. To add insult to injury, the state’s pension system is 50% underfunded by conservative estimates.

It has reached the point where the state has, quite literally, stopped paying bills. This means that jobs are getting cut, paychecks are getting delayed, and businesses are being shut down. There is simply – and again, quite literally – no more money.

Meanwhile, the state’s pension shortfall is no longer a potential catastrophe. It is a guaranteed one. According to Fitch, one of the big three ratings agencies, “Their pension is the most underfunded in the nation… they can’t grow their way out of this.”

So what is the Illinois governor’s response to all this? Why, spending more money of course. Staff members have reportedly received 43 salary increases at an average of 11.4%. And 40,000 union workers in Illinois have successfully rammed through a pay raise of 14%.

The politicians and union bosses running Illinois are not just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. They are cheerily giving themselves pay hikes even as the iceberg heads straight for them.

California Dreamin’

California is another poster child for impossible foolishness.

“People think we’re becoming a third world country,” says Arnella Sims, a Los Angeles County court reporter. “We are on the verge of system failure,” warns the executive director of the California Budget Project.

“California’s fiscal hole is now so large,” The Globe and Mail further adds, “that the state would have to liberate 168,000 prison inmates and permanently shutter 240 university and community college campuses to balance its budget in the fiscal year that begins July 1… Mass layoffs, slashed health and welfare services, closed parks, crumbling superhighways and ever-larger public school class sizes are all part of the new normal.”

In an effort to fight back the tide, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – the “governator” – took a bold step last week, ordering 200,000 state workers to take a temporary pay reduction to $7.25 per hour, the federal minimum wage. The state comptroller balked.

It would be amusing if it weren’t so tragic. This is the kind of stuff that happens when you run out of money, courtesy of spending what you don’t have for years or even decades at a time.

Growth Won’t Do It

In the past, the prevailing belief was that economic growth would cover all sins. No matter how foolishly federal and local governments spent, no matter how recklessly the money was squandered, a tide of rising prosperity would ensure there would always be more. The great American growth engine would keep the coffers filled.

Sadly, it is exactly that attitude that brought us to where we are now. The terrible debt crisis that America faces was brought on precisely through a mixture of laziness and overconfidence. No matter how much was earned, the belief was always that things could be even better if we just leveraged up that prosperity by a factor of X.

Like the man who thinks that becoming a millionaire entitles him to spend like a billionaire, that mindset was always guaranteed to end in tears. And now we have reached that terrible point in the cycle where economic growth – the very thing we have always relied on in the past – is being choked off by mountainous levels of accumulated debt.

As Hunter Thompson once said: “The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

We were bound and determined to find the edge. And now we are in the process of going over. Be prepared.

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in financial market news, investment commentary and exclusive special promotions.

Source :http://www.taipanpublishinggroup.com/tpg/taipan-daily/taipan-daily-070910.html

By Justice Litle
http://www.taipanpublishinggroup.com/

Justice Litle is the Editorial Director of Taipan Publishing Group, Editor of Justice Litle’s Macro Trader and Managing Editor to the free investing and trading e-letter Taipan Daily. Justice began his career by pursuing a Ph.D. in literature and philosophy at Oxford University in England, and continued his education at Pulacki University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

Aside from his career in the financial industry, Justice enjoys playing chess and poker; he enjoys scuba diving, snowboarding, hiking and traveling. The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland and Fox Glacier in New Zealand are two of his favorite places in the world, especially for hiking. What he loves most about traveling is the scenery and the friendly locals.

Copyright © 2010, Taipan Publishing Group

Justice_Litle Archive

© 2005-2017 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

RUbinsky
13 Jul 10, 02:43
Year 55 before Christ!

Well in fact it doesn't matter US or EU. the problem is as much older as economics & humans:

"The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced, if the nation doesn't want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." Marcus Tullius Cicero 106 BC - 43 BC


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife