New York State’s fiscal lunacy

A few items from Insty make you wonder if New York state politicians routinely have LSD mixed in with their bottled water:

CHANGE: Cash-poor NY state may issue IOUs like California.

Basically, New York state will now pay in virtual money. But you ain’t seen nothing yet:

A PENSION SHELL GAME: “Gov. David A. Paterson and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed to allow the state and municipalities to borrow nearly $6 billion to help them make their required annual payments to the state pension fund. And, in classic budgetary sleight-of-hand, they will borrow the money to make the payments to the pension fund — from the same pension fund.”

Is your head hurting yet? But Roger Kimball has a novel suggestion:

ROGER KIMBALL: The age of the IOU, or chickens/roost, and “anarchy literally.” “And here’s a policy suggestion that I offer free and for nothing. If New York offers its citizens IOUs instead cash, citizens should do the same come April. After wading through the pages of gibberish that our legislators have thoughtfully provided under the rubric of your tax returns, they should enter the amount owed, sign on the dotted line, and enclose an IOU instead of a check. If an irresponsible and fiscally incontinent state can hold on to your money (and you should never forget that it is your money), then you are justified in practicing a little self-defense and treating the state with a little of the contempt with which it treats you. If five or ten or a hundred people did it, it wouldn’t make much difference. What if five or ten thousand people did?”

Indeed.

Moody’s: U.S. Debt Shock May Hit In 2018, Maybe As Soon As 2013

Read and weep:  http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=532490

Short version: following earlier commotion over noises that it would downgrade US debt from AAA, Moody’s now clarifies what would make it issue such a rating change:

For the U.S., debt service of 18%-20% of federal revenue is the outer limit of AAA-territory, Moody’s managing director Pierre Cailleteau confirmed in an e-mail.
Under the Obama budget, interest would top 18% of revenue in 2018 and 20% in 2020, CBO projects.

But under more adverse scenarios than the CBO considered, including higher interest rates, Moody’s projects that debt service could hit 22.4% of revenue by 2013.”