Wednesday 29 December 2010

Public pensions conundrum

Mike Shedlock comments on Illinois' budget problems and the new Governor's notion of borrowing billions more to keep the ship afloat.

Unfunded pension liabilities are a major part of the problem for this and most other States. The total deficit for such schemes nationally was $3.04 trillion in mid-2008, according to this February 2010 study by Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute. Illinois has the fifth-worst (40%) underfunding in proportion to State GDP (fig. 6, page 48).

Of more concern to a long-term bear like me is where those funds, inadequate as they may be, are invested. Here's Figure 1 of that study:

If' like me, you fear that both stocks and bonds will be hit badly when the credit crunch finally matures into a lender's strike, then a radical revision of pension entitlements is on the cards.

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