Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Your Online Privacy

People are angry about Google Buzz infringing on their privacy.  As usual, The Onion has the best take on the potential solution, with their report: "Google Opt Out Feature Lets Users Protect Privacy By Moving To a Remote Village"  (h/t Barry Ritholtz)

In more depressing news, MISH continues to be the bearer of bad news.  Things are so absurdly bad with our municipal finances across this country, that solutions like this are being proposed:

"At Utah's West Jordan High School, the halls have swirled lately with debate over the merits of 12th grade. The sudden buzz over the relative value of senior year stems from a recent proposal by state Sen. Chris Buttars that Utah make a dent in its budget gap by eliminating the 12th grade."

I mean - wow.  

Then you have the Illinois Pension Fund, which is $61 Billion underwater!  YOWZA!

"Illinois politicians are at it again. They're borrowing from the future to make state pension contributions today.

In early January, while everyone was busy watching the nasty campaign commercials, the State of Illinois pulled an end-run on the budget process. On Jan. 7 the state sold $3.5 billion of "pension obligation notes." In simple English, the state borrowed money to finance the state's contribution to its five retirement systems."

In case it's not clear yet, this does absolutely NOTHING to solve the problem.



Sneak Attacker said...

I think the untold story is the role of the Investment Banks in allowing these states and municipalities to continue to raise money in the bond market despite the horrid state of their finances. When the investigation is done, I think you'll fine that, like the Greece situation, Goldman et al earned fat fees from these state/municipql bureaucrats by pushing bizzare swap agreements that allowed them to mask their true condition.

Kid Dynamite said...

sneak attacker - it's important to understand that arranging a non-market-rate currency swap for Greece and underwriting a bond sale for Chicago, or (selling the City of Chicago's Parking Meters, or selling Greece's Lotto Revenues, or selling Greece's future airport landing fees) are TOTALLY different.

Illinois can either declare bankruptcy now, or sell off all their productive assets, pray, and likely declare bankruptcy in a few years (or be bailed out by the Feds) when they face reckoning on their debt. So they do the desperate, shortsighted thing, and sell their assets or borrow from their pension funds. It's stupid, but it's not the same as masking debt levels to gain entry into the european union.