The House of Representatives passed a bill to bailout Puerto Rico a couple of days ago. Will they do the same for states that are just as irresponsible? According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, six states are just as bad as the little Caribbean island with a sweet tooth for spending cash.
With short-term budget troubles and colossal long-term debt, Kentucky, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, in particular, are much closer to the basket case economic condition of the Caribbean territory on the Mercatus fiscal health index than they are to states such as Texas, the Dakotas, Florida, or Nebraska, where budgets are balanced and public pension systems may yet be salvaged.
For example, Connecticut, which ranks 50th out of the states for fiscal health, has run up $67 billion in debt, compared to Puerto Rico’s $118 billion, while both have populations of around 3.6 million. But personal income in Puerto Rico is less than one-third of Connecticut’s. If that seems reassuring, consider that the Nutmeg State’s debt figure grows to $124 billion if you recalculate pension debt, assuming it will all be paid — an assumption one no longer makes for Puerto Rico, which gave up on funding its pension system a decade ago and is now just draining the balance.
Get ready folks. States that are fiscally responsible will be the one’s holding the bag for a bunch of reprobates. If bailouts occur, consequences should be meted out. I believe states should lose representation in Congress and electoral votes for president disqualified until their debt is paid back in full.