The Gathering Pace Of Muni Fails

Tyler Durden's picture

The can has been kicked. The austerity has been implemented. The revenues have fallen. And as we see in the chart below, the pace of local government distress is accelerating. As has been made so clear in the past, defaults cluster; and sure enough it is starting, as tensions between unions and city managers become irreconcilable.

The pace of local government distress is accelerating...


Meanwhile budget gaps are increasingly in need of political solutions...


But the 'fiscal cliff' hinders any reality of a solution coming from the top...


Source: Morgan Stanley

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El Oregonian's picture

Wake me up when the city of Washington DC (Demented Convicts) goes belly up. Now, when that one goes down the crapper we can finally take back control.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Paging Ms. Whitney...  Paging Ms. Whitney...

francis_sawyer's picture

LOL ~ I kno you're talking about Meredith Whitney... but everytime I wee 'Whitney' it reminds me of 'Rich Whitey'


Bicycle Repairman's picture

and it's not a skit from the Chappelle show.

Village Smithy's picture

So many media shills that just couldn't comprehend the fact that an increase in a nation's debt of 1 trillion dollars per year is going to hide a lot of shit and skew a lot of data had a big laugh at her. (S)He who laughs last lasts best.

ghenny's picture

Go Meredith.  The financial press corporate shills are going to be eating some humble crow this year and next.  And for those Colorado water comments you aint seen nothing yet.  By the time this drought is over and they peak on abusing the aquifers and rivers in the west to feed the big agrbusinesses and the retiree golf courses their all going to be screaming for Great Lakes water.  No dice folks we're not shipping one pint West.  Use all that oil and gas you have to build deslinization plants or better yet drink it.

Doubleguns's picture

or better yet drink it.


I heard it makes great coolaid.

potlatch's picture

As a denizen of the great lakes area, I can report, we are already passing new laws called "Stand your water" laws, and it involves the right to shoot anyone who so much as dips a straw to my fuckin lake.

GMadScientist's picture

I actually read that as "Paging Ms. Whitey" including a Samuel L. Jackson voice-over.


I am a Man I am Forty's picture

You would have lost your ass if you listened to and bet on Meredith Whitney.  I am heavy in municipal bonds, I don't own any in CA and IL because those states are a mess.  I can assure you that if you bought a well diversified portfolio in 2007 you would have absolutely kicked ass up until right now and through the entire financial crisis.  Ms. Whitney called for 50 to 100 large failures LAST YEAR.  She WAS WRONG.  

Tax free at 5% if you bought back in 2007, not to mention the up side.

goldnguns's picture

concur, parked $300k in some good munis, had a water district in midwest paying over 5.75 tax free.  Now looking for another good, solid risk free parking spot - like Iranian oil, or neighborhood Spanish bank, or tourism in Egypt.

blueridgeviews's picture

Policy solutions? Come on folks, stop the pandering and start forcing gov't's to live within their means.

This whole financial crisis is pathetic and the remedies even more pathetic. Thhis isn't rocket science.

JeffB's picture

Too bad they don't have clawback provisions for salaries & pensions for the politicians and administrators who made all of these silly promises that can't possibly be fulfilled.


zero19451945's picture

Default and bankruptcy need to be embraced as cleansing actions and not bad things.

No One's picture

but we need to ensure that the banks are whole. There can be no risk for the masters per decree.

prodigious_idea's picture

Up-arrow if you believe the same is true for personal bankruptcy.

WatchingIgnorance's picture

For some reason, that song "For Whom the Bell Tolls" has come to mind.

We are just getting started bitchez! The rot is deep and has spread to the entire body. Antibiotics will no longer help.

Asher88's picture worries

sickofthepunx's picture

unions and city managers, huh?  how about the third leg of that stool:  the pain in the ass taxpayer that would rather see their city burn to the ground because essential services are not properly staffed rather than see their taxes go up one strawpennny?

how is austerity working out for you Colorado Springs? 

Dr. No's picture

You do know they cut FireDept funding first so they create public opinion like yours.  As the FD is layed off, the city inspectors continue to check peoples lawn sprinklers, surveyers continue to mark old township roads which have been dirt since grandam moved in 80 years ago, but somehow think it needs to be paved now.

Gromit's picture

And everything gets done 10 times slower (is that possible?) because they have less people to sit around and do nothing.

prodigious_idea's picture

How did that comment get 8 up-arrows?

LawsofPhysics's picture

Unless of course organized citizens and communities just say "fuck you, we will be our own essential services".  Fuck the paper-pushers, they don't add any real fucking value anyway.

FYI- Colorado Springs is doing just fine, sometimes it's nice to be at the top of the water and food chain.  How's L.A. country gonna fair when colorado shuts the fucking water off again?  LMFAO!!!!

Gromit's picture

LA doesn't get its water from the Colorado, doesn't need to , bought up the Owens Valley a hundred years ago.


LawsofPhysics's picture

Arizona sure as hell does, and the Owens valley is still supplemented from the colorado (when they can).

Uncle Remus's picture

What a douche. If the city burns to the ground it's because all the money went to the retired firefighters, not the ones that used to wait at the fire station. Blackmail'll get you nowhere 'ceptin' maybe past tensed.

knightowl77's picture

People are firefighters and police officers because of the pensions... Why else work holidays and rush into burning buildings or places where they are shooting at you.....The pension is the only reason 80% of them stay on the job

Uncle Remus's picture

The pension is the only reason 80% of them stay on the job

That is a sad commentary in my view.

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, people did dangerous jobs because they needed to be done - you know, public service. Now we have shallow fucks, including doctors, lawyers, TV evangelists and a seemingly large preponderance of government employees that simply follow the money.

MachoMan's picture

I think your nostalgia is cherry picked at best.  Humanity hasn't changed...  however, our access to perversion has changed...  but to imply some inherent nobility on our predecessors is...  naive at best.  Our motivating self interest is the same motivating self interest pumping through their veins.

Uncle Remus's picture

Human behavior is what it is. The fact is public service has been performed for the sake of public service, at significant personal risk and without the carrot of a pension or negotiated compensation. It has been demonstrated time and again that the pay and pensions for some "public servants" have reached egregious levels of burden on the taxpayers and subsequent attempts to reach an accommodation have degenerated into a, ahem, default "scorched earth" policy of bankruptcy.

And we will not learn.

arby63's picture

...and worse, they QUIT on the public long before that pension rolls around. most must milk the "process" for all it's worth: avoiding any and all responsibility or active "thinking" except in the case of how to milk the system even MORE.

Nobody For President's picture

As a 20+ year volunteer firefighter who has known a lot of firefighters both paid career and volunteer:

You are full of shit, and know not what you say.

Do you even KNOW any firefighters, like personally? Or cops, for that matter - worked with a bunch of highway patrol and local sherrifs over the years, and most of them, by far, are really good guys (and gals).

Yeah, their pensions are out of control - strong voter block. But there are damn few people that can put up with the load that goes with career firefighting or police work just for the pension. Check their divorce stats sometime.

The word 'service' still means something to most of these folks - unlike (say) our 'elected officials'.

Blaming the people on the line for the muni problems is exactly what TPTB keep feeding the PACs and MSM for. Know your enemy - it ain't your local firefighters, asshole.

And no - I don't receive any pension for my service - but my friends and neighbors are grateful.

mr1963's picture

Fireman in Chicago on $91,000 per year disability in Rahm political ad. Yeah, keep giving in, see what you get...

sudzee's picture

All public servants should be fired 1 week before retirement.

knightowl77's picture

Wouldn't change the pension .....the difference in service credit from 30.00 years versus 29.95 is almost nil

MachoMan's picture

Better suited for bankruptcy and voting with our feet.

SubjectivObject's picture

So, sickodude, what are your counter arguements here?


Dasa Slooofoot's picture

All the Fire Departments around me are volunteer.  We get along just fine. 

Just put a fully stocked bar in the firehouse and you'll get volunteers. 

quasimodo's picture

No shit there, same thing with EMS as well in my area. We actually give a fuck about helping people. Sure as hell ain't for da pay....we don't get a dime and spend countless hours each year on call and keeping up with training- I might add it's training decided by some fucks down in the capitol who ARE getting paid very well and don't have the first damn clue about treating folks in the field.

The way these larger cities are heading they better get a bucket brigade organized, or watch her burn to the ground bitchez!

Stuck on Zero's picture

Austerity in San Diego means potholes never repaired, schools closing, and essential services cut.  That's all to keep paying $250,000 retirement to the lifeguards, firemen, policemen, and other worthy city workers.


prodigious_idea's picture

Pain in the ass taxpayer?  What an arrogant fuck.  We pay your salary, and benefits, and pensions, and, and, and.  I am EAGER to see bankruptcies that result in a reset to reality.  Maybe a little unemployment would transport you back to the real world.

Offthebeach's picture

I have a boat. Every single second it is in the water, water tries to get through the through hulls. No tax sucking hack "assists me". Maybe dolts shouldn't live in wood sheathed, wood framed, ashaulted roofed boxes in a turpentine wooded high altitude desert.
Build your house out of concrete, blog k,brick and tile, Fenstrate with steel. Problem solved. Or not. Live in Japan lacquered paper house. Same as people who build on the water. Not my/our problem.

DanP1966's picture

Thinking that Gasparino and Kaminsky are gonn owe Ms. Whitney an apology.

Dr. No's picture

My only hope as Munis continue to fail, these failed towns will abandon their distructive property rights laws they keep coming up with which prevents land owners from using/selling their land as they see fit.

yellowsub's picture

Stop archiac pension plans and cut back on their cadillac health care, put them on Obamacare instead.

Teachers union especially in NJ, needs to make real concessions and lay off or force retirement of 20+ years teachers.  We can't be laying off the new generation of teachers or later on we'll have a shortgage.  They need to cap non essential teachers like shop and elementary grade art, I don't care how long you work there but no way either of them should get paid up to 6 figures for a job that can be done by anyone...

They rode the wave of the boom now ride the down wave with the rest of us and their demands are still ridiculous asking for 5% increases during these times...  

Temporalist's picture

Shop is not non-essential.  Here's a good read:

prodigious_idea's picture

Yep, it's been sad to see the disappearance of "shop" classes from the schools.  Certainly the 3 R's were vital, but my favorite and frequently most useful classes were drafting, woodshop and metalshop.  And thank you Boy Scouts, although I hope I never have to make a life preserver out of my Levi's while treading water in the dark.

JeffB's picture

My wife learned to shop on her own and keeps up with her own continuing ed requirements. and then some.