Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Mouse Roared, Are the States Next?...L&C

Say what? Title sounds confusing, but it refers to a classic comedy movie from the novel by Leonard Wibberley. Do you know, The Mouse That Roared? It is the story of a tiny duchy somewhere in the Alps in Europe that faces an economic disaster because a company in the US made a cheaper version of their signature wine which was their total income for their economy.
They declare war on the US with the plan to surrender immediately. They figured that the US would then provide a goodwill package of relief. With this aid they could payoff their debts and maybe some protection for their one product, the Duchy Wine.
Are the States Next?
Jump to today! The total non funded pension plans of the 50 US states is $369 billion and mostly all these states today are suffering deficits because of the financial crisis of 2008. Where are they going to get the necessary funds to pay their state workers as many are reaching the retirement age? To put this figure in perspective consider a correlation to Greece. The Greek deficit totals $35 billion. The cumulative totals of our states is 10times that amount. Now, do you get an idea of our next serious problem that few if any, are talking about.
A Closer Look
On top of the totem pole for the states is the recession cut the value of their individual pension plan portfolios. For example, the three biggest in our biggest state, California. The three, Calper, Calstks, and UCRS lost $109 billion with a "B." Who are they gonna call, Ghost Busters?
Illinois is another typical example. They have to take 15% of this years revenues to cover the shortfall for their state workers. Each year that percentage will rise to a point where they can't pay. As it is today for other state bills in Illinois which has a payout date as long as six months.
New Hampshire wants to form a study at a cost of $1 billion which is correctly opposed by their state unions because that new debt will only compound the present debt of the unfunded obligations.
War On The US
By 2017 Louisiana will be the first to declare war because they won't have enough revenue to pay any of their bills with the state pension on top of the list. Connecticut will be due about the same time. I can see the alliance now...I also see the Fed adding these bills to our national debt. End the Fed!
Connecticut Yankee On Bourbon Street
By the way Moody's recently downgraded Connecticut's debt rating.
LIARS and CROOKS: This week the fickle award is just getting polished to be delivered at a later date. One must give credit where credit is due. Jamie Dimon deserves respect for admitting the serious shortfall suffered by his company, JPMorgan Chase. He says they lost $2 billion due to a defective bet on a risk derivative. To me without knowing all the facts, but some knowledge to what is a derivative purpose. It is insurance and that means a policy and that means this loss is not a one time event. It will compound until the derivative ends, to which I repeat, End the Fed!