The cost of the war on drugs

November 6, 2012

Memo to our new president: Federal, state and local governments face increasing challenges as they look for more revenue and try to reduce costs. Reducing public employee headcounts and postponing capital projects have been good ways to reduce budgets, but bolder approaches are needed.

States don’t need to take loans from JP Morgan

October 12, 2012

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, made headlines this week for an interview at the Council on Foreign Relations in which he said that buying Bear Stearns in March, 2008 was a “favor” to the Federal Reserve, and that JPMorgan had lost money on the deal. But there was another part of his interview where he talked about lending to states that caught my attention:

Be dubious of opaque muniland data

August 30, 2012

A Reuters story with the headline “U.S. states’ debt tops $4 trillion — report” caught my eye because I had never seen any analysis of the debt of states that put the number so high. The report the story referred to was issued by a mysterious non-profit organization called State Budget Solutions (SBS). The group’s website lists no physical address and says that SBS is affiliated with another non-profit, Sunshine Review of Alexandria, Virginia, whose Form 990 IRS filing declares that it has one employee. Furthermore, there is a third affiliated non-profit, Sunshine Standard, which also lists no information describing its funding or management. Considering that the three groups are non-profits focused on transparency and accountability for governments, their own behavior is pretty opaque. It’s also extremely odd that they don’t ask for donations on their websites. What non-profit doesn’t need donations?