Monday, March 7, 2011

We Owe How Much?

The two trillion dollars in debt
Of the states may incite one to fret,
But if one were to mention
Their unfunded pensions,
They'd triple their borrowing yet.  

Taking some poetic license with the figures cited by Josh Barro in National Affairs (that's a public policy journal, not a racy romance novel), we note that US state and local governments' $2.4 trillion in total debt would increase to $6.4 trillion if their obligations to underfunded pensions were included.  This is the urgent arithmetic to which governors of every political stripe must now respond.  (Hat tip to "The Analyst.")

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