Today the Philadelphia Fed released coincident indices for the states and the US. Wisconsin outperforms Kansas — a very low bar — and yet has lagged all her neighbors.
I’ve read several comments lauding the move toward a structural budget balance in Wisconsin under Governor Walker’s administration. I decided to take a look at what the actual evidence for a surplus is, and what the economic impact has been of policies purported to improve economic performance.
The unfunded liabilities of the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association have increased every year for the last five years, reaching $2.45 billion last year, more than quintuple the level in 2008. The calculation of how big the shortfall is assumes that the fund is going to be able to earn a 7.75% return on its investment after subtracting administrative costs. If it earns less than 7.75%, the shortfall will be even bigger. A 10-year Treasury bond currently pays 2.4%, and a typical stock has a dividend yield under 2%. So what do you do if you’re in charge of the system’s $10 billion in assets?
Continued stagnation in July.
Consider this prognostication from 2011:
Americans face the most predictable economic crisis in this nation’s history. Absent reform, the panic ahead is no longer a question of if, but rather when. A deterioration of confidence by investors in government’s ability to pay its bills will drive interest rates up, increasing borrowing costs for government, small businesses and families alike. A vicious cycle of debt will compound upon itself; the available exit options once the crisis hits will be limited; and all will involve pain. (p.59)
I was interested to take a look at our recent weak economic performance from a longer-term perspective.
Allowing Private Sector Innovation Holds the Most Promise, if Government Doesn’t Impede Progress
Today we are fortunate to have a contribution written by Clifford Winston, Searle Freedom Trust Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. This post is based on a more extensive analysis available here.