Cool feature at the Financial Times website

The Financial Times–FT for short–is one of the world’s best financial papers.  Were it not for the pink newsprint, which is just sort of wierd, I’d put it ahead of the Wall Street Journal.  Anyway, it has this cool feature that lets you get a quick graphical look at the condition of the states.  (We’ve been concerned with the state of the states, but have recently taken solace in the widespread recognition of the problem–something we’ve been watching since late 2005.)

Here’s a look at the FT feature.  It shows the states in a typical heat-map fashion, based on budget shortfalls for each state.  (You should be able to click on it to jump to the FT’s site.)  There’s also a tab that brings up credit ratings for each state.  Indiana’s AAA rating is a bit misleading, though, since the State has no general obligation debt; most of it is shifted to local municipalities, most of which are not rated AAA.

While I’ve highlighted Indiana since I’m ethnocentric, notice all the states in worse financial condition–solely on this measure–than the poster child for states-worse-than-Greece, California.  They include California-by-the-lake (Illinois), as well as bucolic Maine and hip–well, I think so–North Carolina (think Asheville or the Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle).

According to Indiana’s Treasurer (see below), Indiana is the envy of other states.  It’s also, “unlike our neighboring states ,” which happen to include one of the nation’s worst quantitatively (Illinois) and one anecdotally (Michigan), “that are deferring their obligations, we’ve continued . . . in a businesslike and sound manner.”  But I have to forgive Mr. Mourdock’s financial liberties since he included a great Roy Rogers quote.

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