It’s not short-term federal budget issues and credit rating changes that should worry muniland; these issues will require adjustments and creative solutions, but they are transitory. The real issue for states is how their budgets will sustain the increasing load of Medicaid, the federal government’s healthcare program for the poor and those who require nursing home care. This is the real elephant in the room.
It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful name for a state than Minnesota, which comes from a Dakota Sioux word for “sky-tinted water.” Today the state is popularly known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” a nickname that conjures up images of primal forests, deep waterways and lots of summer mosquitoes.
Television is my least favorite medium because pundits usually strike outlandish poses that are wholly disconnected from the facts. Case in point is the short video above from MSNBC with Chris Hayes of The Nation, author Amanda Foreman, pundit Ann Coulter and political commentator and comedian Bill Maher. What are these people talking about?
Pension reform sounds abstract and distant from everyday life. It is almost entirely confined to state- and local-government workers. Companies stopped giving pensions to their workers decades ago as they switched employees to 401(k)s and other voluntary-type retirement schemes. This removed enormous future liabilities from the balance sheets of companies and shifted the risk of adequate retirement means to individuals.
America’s Interstate Highway System celebrates 55 years
This is the best example of how public infrastructure can really anchor tremendous economic growth. We can learn from history and use this time of economic challenge to conceive of equally profound infrastructure goals. From Fastlane, the blog of U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood:
No allowance if you don’t do your homework
California’s Legislature rushed through a budget last week that they thought was balanced. The State Comptroller has ruled otherwise, and now he is withholding lawmakers’ salaries, the New York Times reports today:
It’s a glorious spring day in America and everything continues to bounce along. A little progress here and some fall back there. Oh and that unpleasant negative ratings watch on United States debt from Standard & Poor’s. Yeah that is not good. Welcome to a new week in muniland.