Monday, July 4, 2016

Italy and Illinois on the Front Burner

You cannot hide financial disasters indefinitely.  Italy's bank problems and Illinois' (and Chicago's) fiscal problems have been swept under the rug for decades.  The arrogance of their political leadership and the fawning media has been that somehow, someway they could provide goods and services without producing them.  That only works as long as you can fool gullible bondholders and naive voters.

Let's take Illinois first.  Years of running Chicago as a Mayor Daley fiefdom is now coming home to roost. Chicago, run for half a century by a combination of crooked politicians and the mob, never properly funded anything and the mob and corrupt politicians routinely looted city coffers. Promises of funded retirement for state and city workers were made, but not funded.  Bondholders were lied to routinely by politicians no longer in office.  All of this was praised by the adulatory press with the idea that Chicago worked, because of the great Mayor Daley(s).  Well, guess what?  It doesn't work, as we shall all soon see.

There is currently a total of $ 8 billion (yes, you read that right) of unpaid bills facing the state of Illinois.  There is no longer funding for things like public school teachers, 911 calls, etc.  City and state services are beginning to be eliminated.  Meanwhile, taxes, which are already at absurd heights can only be raised if you want to see a mass exodus by businesses and the wealthy from Chicago and Illinois.  This is Obama's hometown.  To see what Obama's plans were for America, watch Chicago and Illinois unfold.  This will make Detroit's problems seem like a non-event.

As for Italy.  Italy is a poster-child for why the EU can't possibly work.  Built on a tissue of lies, the Italian banking system is essentially insolvent.  The ECB has winked and nodded and failed to enforce its own rules, so that Italy could appease it's far left, absurdly bureacratic government.  It's worth noting that the head of the ECB is Italian-- Mario Draghi -- the face of the Greek bailout.  Like Illinois, the theme in Italy is extend and pretend.  No one seriously ever contemplates setting aside the necessary funding for government promises. But, they keep making the promises, nevertheless, to gullible voters (Bernie Sanders must be using Italy as a blueprint for his own plans).

So, for a while, Italy and Illinois will seem like functioning, ongoing operations.  But, the clock is ticking. 

Those remaining in the EU can add Italian debts to Greek debts as part of their future indebtedness.  This is why even Germany is headed for bankruptcy. They can't underwrite everyone in the Eurozone, even though Merkel thinks they can.

As for Illinois, they are only the first American shoe to fall (Detroit was a mere pebble).  The state of New York, New Jersey and California are waiting in the wings.  None of these states have any real hope of avoiding bankruptcy.  Only the arrogance and duplicity of their politicians can keep the public in the dark and only for a while.

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