Another kind of sustainability, NYS, and sin

“Most financial crises happen in unpredictable ways, and they hit you when you’re not looking. This one isn’t like that. You can see it coming. It would be sinful not to do something about this while there’s a chance.”

Brace yourselves, people.

....Some of the same people who warned of the looming subprime crisis two years ago are ringing alarm bells again....As the downturn has ground on, some of the worst-hit cities and states have resorted to fiscal sleight of hand to stay afloat, helping them close yawning budget gaps each year, but often at great future cost....Many states, including New York, have delayed payments to vendors and local governments because they had too little cash on hand to make them....So some states are essentially borrowing to pay their operating costs, adding new debts that are not always clearly disclosed....New York balanced its budget this year by shortchanging its pension fund....It is these growing hidden debts that make many analysts nervous. States and municipalities currently have around $2.8 trillion worth of outstanding bonds, but that number is dwarfed by the debts that many are carrying off their books.

But here's the best part:

Richard Ravitch, the lieutenant governor of New York, is among those warning that states are on an unsustainable path, and that their disclosures of pension and health care obligations are often misleading. And he worries how long it can last.

“They didn’t do it with bad motives,” he said. “Ninety-five percent of them didn’t understand what they were doing. They did it because it was easier than taxing people or cutting benefits. We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we can’t do that anymore. I don’t know where that is, but I know we’re close.”

They didn't understand what they were doing? You mean they weren't buying votes to stay in power?  

The whole article is here.