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red vs. blue
Blue States Have Bigger Pension Debts Than Red States
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  • An interested observer

    Jacob Hacker, not Jacob Jacker..

  • Andrew Allison

    Leading liberal thinkers? How about lying partisan SOBs? It’s inconceivable the Reich, for example, is unaware of what this post describes.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Public pension liabilities have some relevance, but they are not the only thing going on in the economy. The big political story this year is that voters in the reddest states just voted to enable federal tax cuts which will be going disproportionately in dollars to residents of the bluest states. One could wonder whether that increase in freed-up cash from tax cuts will be used to 1) shore up the blue-state public pension problems, or 2) create jobs in red states which voted for those tax cuts, or 3) none of the above.

    • JR

      I live in indigo blue NJ. So you are saying there’s cash coming my way? HALLELUJAH!!!!

  • Anthony

    We live in an era of profound skepticism about government rather than the idea that we (Americans) can and must restore a well functioning politics that promotes shared prosperity.

    “We suffer, in short, from a kind of mass historical forgetting, a distinctively ‘American Amnesia.’ At a time when we face serious challenges that can be addressed only through a stronger, more effective government – a strained pension system, a strained middle class, a weakened system for generating life-improving innovation, a dangerously warming planet – we ignore what both our history and basic economic theory suggest: We need a constructive and mutually beneficial tension between markets and governments rather than the jealous rivalry that so many misperceive – and, in that misperception, help foster. Above all, we need a government strong and capable enough to rise above narrow private interests and carry out long-term courses of action on behalf of broader concerns.” (Jacob S. Hacker, Paul Pierson: American Amnesia)

    • rpabate

      There is NO “scientific” evidence that the warming will be dangerous.

      • Anthony

        Cognitive science cautions against self-serving bias. See “Patterns, Thinking, and Cognition” by Howard Margolis (seeing that vs. reasoning why).

        • rpabate

          Show me the science that warming will be dangerous. I am not referring here so called post-normal science where you’re allowed to input your values into how express your results. Climate model output is not science. You can program computer models to give any result you want. That’s not the scientific method. That warming may or may not happen over the next hundred or so years says nothing about whether that warming will be dangerous or catastrophic. Life seems to be very adaptable as it has adapted quite nicely to prior periods when temperatures were warmer than today, When I have viewed charts of temperature and CO2 over geologic time, there seems to be no correlation between CO2 and temperature. Now I know these measures of temperature and CO2 are not precise, they cannot be entirely discounted. What I do know is that today science is broken. Your note applies equally as well to you. You have your biases which, IMO, leads you to conclude any warming will be dangerous. Please show me the science. Cheers.

          • Anthony

            You’re arguing ineffectively. More importantly, you excerpt an item from
            a quoted piece on government and capitalism (pensions specifically). If you want to engage human effects on our climate, I suggest you go elsewhere (as I am not comfortable broaching subject of which my capacity is inadequate). Still if you’re legitimately interested, primary sources are available for your inquiry.

  • Pait

    I believe that the reason is to be found in that blue states have higher average salaries and cost of living than red states. Comparing debts or salaries on a per capita basis without taking those differences into account is like comparing the price of potatoes in Swiss francs with the price in Venezuelan bolivars, without taking into account the exchange rate.

    • champ

      Uh, did you bother to read the article through to the end? It restated state pension debt as a percentage of state GDP.

      • Pait

        Yes. The graph shows very little correlation if any, and surprisingly it is presented out of order.

        • Pait

          It doesn’t show any meaningful correlation. I suppose that presenting it out of any logical order helps confuse whatever correlation there exists.

          Also, it is to be expected that the wealthier states, where salaries are higher, which incidentally are net tax contributors as compared to the poorer states which are net receivers, will have a bigger percentage of workers in service industries, including government, and thus higher state and local pension liabilities.

          Altogether, the article makes little sense.

          • UofODuck

            Good point. It would be harder to agree with the author’s thesis if the GDP adjusted graph were printed from largest to smallest. Also, the author’s conclusion is that higher pension liabilities are bad, but I wonder if the conclusion would change if these figures were compared against state education and health spending, as well as mortality, poverty, tax and unemployment rates. There is no doubt a reason for different state pension liabilities, but it may not be as simple as blue v. red.

          • Pait

            I was surprised to read recently by how much public education per pupil varies from one state to another. I knew there were differences, but I didn’t realize how large they are. The difference roughly seems to correlate with blue state – red state distinctions. Now part of it is simply because of different average salaries, but I suspect that people demand more and better education services in the wealthier states.

            I have heard the leftist argument that education is a luxury good demanded by wealthier nations or states, but I find the mainstream theory that education improves the standard of living more convincing.

  • Michael Hoggan

    Question: Why the Alaska anomaly?
    I agree with the general premise of the article, but I’m curious about Alaska.

  • Kenneth Gilley

    Take Illinois for example. This state is going bankrupt and drowning in debt because of pension debt. Illinois is a blue socialist controlled state.

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