Illinois, the Greece of America

It all started with this story:

Even though the legislature and Gov. Pat Quinn last year imposed a temporary 67 percent state income tax increase, Quinn’s office expects to have a $500 million budget deficit this year.

Quinn is calling for a 9 percent cut in most areas of state government, except education and health care. But even with cuts at that level, the state would have a projected $800 million budget deficit for fiscal 2015, the year when most of the tax hike expires.  …

Looking at the bigger picture, the state has a backlog of about $8.5 billion in unpaid bills and owes about $27 billion in outstanding bonds. And then there’s the roughly $80 billion owed to the state’s public employee pension funds.

via Belleville News-Democrat.

Think about that: One Hundred Fifteen Billion Five Hundred Million Dollars.  I’m told there’s about 12.9 million people in Illinois.  So were looking at $8,953.50 per person.  That’s pretty astonishing!

And that story led to this story:

[W]hy aren’t we more worried about Illinois? It’s more or less the same size as Greece, its finances are in the same generally catastrophic shape, and its leaders are just as feckless and dishonest. It owes tens of billions of dollars to various investors and stakeholders and will clearly have to stiff many of them at some point.  …

How a state with a constitutional mandate to balance its budget can do this in the first place — and how an “unpaid bill” can be excluded from the annual budget — is a question for future prosecutors. But for investors it’s a clear sign that some sort of default is coming.

via: Dollar Collaspse.

Dare to dream that someone (cough cough Madigan) would go to jail on this mess.

Hat tip to SCC.