Are municipal bonds the world's largest Ponzi scheme? Is 2009 the year that it all comes crashing down, as cities and states default? (Do they have any choice?)
Muncipals bonds, in theory, are perfectly legitimate. However, as municipalities became addicted to debt and unwilling to raise taxes, selling off the distant future to pay for the present and near future sounded pretty good to politicians. This all brings us to creatures like the MTA, needing new bonds to pay off the old bonds. Forget about transportation, its stated purpose.
Two recent articles are about the New York Yankees' misuse of municipal bonds, and one article in Saturday's NY Times deserves a look.
You look like a smart person who wants to earn a little money in these tough times. Wanna buy a municipal bond?
Triple tax free. Guaranteed income. New York, California--trust me, they're not gonna go out of business.
'This year you should worry about bonds," wrote John Crudele in the January 6th New York Post. "You say you don't own any. Well, that doesn't really matter because if the bond market is in a bubble - like I think it is - and it bursts, then the whole economy is going to suffer even greater pain."
Today's New York Times story is titled: "Nationwide Inquiry on Bids for Municipal Bonds." The story touches on New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's problems, but then casts a nationwide net.