Interesting Reading About Municipal Bond Ratings
Here’s a link to Iris J. Lav’s (bio) recent NYT op-ed discussing the ongoing debate regarding the prospect for municipal bond default and municipal bankruptcies as (serious) aftershocks of the recession.
Lav’s position is that “this fear of an imminent bond crisis reflects a profound misunderstanding of the differences between the short- and long-term challenges facing state and local governments, and what these governments can do to address them.”
I find myself going back and forth (figuratively speaking, not actually rocking or swaying) a bit when thinking about whether which side in the municipal-default debate has the “profound misunderstanding of the differences between the short- and long-term challenges facing state and local governments, and what these governments can do to address them.”
Is this time different, or will a workable (albeit painful) solution to the long-term challenges facing municipalities across Pennsylvania and the nation? Will budget and taxation fixes (the tools available to state and local governments) be enough to put those governments on sound financial footing? I don’t know. Maybe both. Maybe this time the problems (or at least their causes) are different, but a solution will nonetheless be reached.
Jon Stewart interviewed author T.J. English about his new book, The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge (about NYC during the late ’60s and ’70s). I don’t know how much (if at all) the book discusses the dire financial straits NYC was in during that time period, but the interview offers some perspective on our national sense of crisis. As one who falls into the “was not alive at the time” crowd referred to in the interview, I found the perspective offered somewhat reassuring . . .
Daily Show — TJ English Interview (The interview is the final third of the full-episode clip.)