A.J. DiCintio
PIGS flying under the radar
By A.J. DiCintio
February 18, 2010

As a result of the Dow Jones' recent tumble, a good number of Americans are aware that the debt, deficit, and budget problems of the PIGS have roiled markets around the world.

(The PIGS, are, of course, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain — not to be confused with the PIIGS, which includes Italy, a Wonderland enervated by so much spirit-crushing government and enfeebled by so many bloodsucking bureaucrats that its public debt amounts to 114% of GDP.)

An even greater number of citizens know that for a long time, their Federal Government has been doing its best to imitate the world's morbidly obese PIGS, as evidenced by a host of its actions and inactions, including the addition of an astounding $1.6 trillion to the U.S. national debt in calendar 2009 alone.

And so many Americans are cognizant of all the slop being slopped by the White House and Congress in an attempt to Obamatize the nation's entire economy that they have created a tsunami of protest aimed at putting an end to the reeking madness — lest the president, Pelosi, Reid, et al. succeed in transforming the U.S. into the world's fiscal Hogzilla.

Despite this awareness, however, there is a porcine time bomb about which the public isn't well informed, specifically, the situation regarding a passel of porkers flying under the radar, a sad state of affairs we can attribute to a dereliction of duty by much of the media, including all of the media described by the adjective "Lamestream."

Fortunately, however, there are individuals and institutions that have published excellent research regarding the problem.

Consider, for example, the following data posted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org).

. . . In FY 2009, forty-five states plus DC grappled with a combined budget shortfall totaling $110 billion.

. . . For FY 2010, forty-eight states plus DC face a combined shortfall of $194 billion.

. . . For FY 2011, forty-four states plus DC are looking at a shortfall of $102 billion.

Now, with respect to the reason for these enormous budget gaps, shills of the political left blubber that they exist exclusively because of lower tax receipts caused by the recession.

However, the real reason, which is far more fundamental and threatening, lies in the same scourge that afflicts the Federal Government.

Yes, the fiscal problems of the states result from expedient, selfish, porkishly bloated promises, spending, and borrowing conceived and carried out by politicians, those insatiable, power loving boars and sows who couldn't come up with a single principled, honest, innovative idea if the Creator granted them a million year lifespan.

Of course, not all politicians are created equal. Therefore, realizing that virtuosos exist among those who practice the swinish art called politics, common sense citizens wonder, "Which states are most like the PIGS?"

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to that question; but there are thoughtful ones, such as the one offered by Gregor MacDonald (www.gregor.us).

A self-described "oil analyst and energy sector investor," Mr. MacDonald has employed four criteria to identify seven states whose mucky financial condition is exceptionally foul:

(1) big population

(2) high rate of unemployment

(3) already borrowing massively to pay unemployment claims

(4) large net importer of energy — a "kicker" MacDonald adds to the list because it highlights his warning about the crushing impact of "21st century energy prices overlaid on a 20th century economy [beset by] stagnant wage growth, higher energy inputs, and [excessive debt]"

MacDonald's seven PIGS-alikes are California, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, and New Jersey.

Interestingly, CBPP data tells us that in addition to meeting MacDonald's criteria, these states meet the ignominious criterion of finding themselves in piggishly deep do-do regarding their FY 2010 budget gaps. Here are the figures:

CA (King of PIGS) $51.8 billion, FL $6 billion, IL $14.3 billion, OH $3.6 billion, MI $2.8 billion, NC $4.6 billion, NJ $9.8 billion.

Furthermore, the Tax Foundation reports the following bad (but not surprising) news about where three of the Seven Sows rank with respect to total tax burden:

NJ #1, CA #6, OH #7.

(Too bad MacDonald didn't include New York in his list. After all, the Empire State, which is high tax state Number Two, faces a staggering $21 billion budget gap for FY 2010 and therefore eminently deserves at least as much recognition as its not so lush Garden State neighbor.)

Finally, no discussion of piggish states can end without pointing out two crucially important truths:

(1) The aforementioned Seven Sows alone are home to 35 million more people than live in the PIGS

(2) The GDP's of CA and FL equal the PIGS' total economic production.

Curious, then, that while news about a few foreign piglets roils markets, big shots of the White House, Congress, the Federal Reserve, and Wall Street ignore crucially important facts about an enormous group that could be expanded to include nearly fifty languorously laboring domestic porkers.

But that's how it's always been regarding contemptible Wizard of Oz frauds who toil with meticulous care to keep all things piggish flying under the radar so that after the inevitable disaster occurs, they can lie, "We never saw it coming."

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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