Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meredith Whitney on state budget crisis

by Bill McBride on 9/28/2010 04:22:00 PM

From Jeff Cox at CNBC: States Are Poised to Be Next Credit Crisis for US: Whitney

"The similarities between the states and the banks are extreme to the extent that states have been spending dramatically and are leveraged dramatically," [Meredith Whitney] said. "Municipal debt has doubled since 2000, spending has grown way faster than revenues."
"You have to look at the states and the risk that the states pose, because the crisis with the states will result in an attempt at least for the third near-trillion-dollar bailout."
[On banks] "We think October, after the banks report, you'll see a really ugly Case-Shiller number, which means the fourth quarter is going to be very tough for banks."
Many states have serious budget and debt issues, but I doubt it will result in a "near-trillion-dollar bailout" (note that Whitney is saying an "attempt" at a bailout). More likely the states will raise some taxes and cut more services - and this will be a drag on growth for some time.

I think Whitney is correct on the timing of the Case-Shiller numbers, but I don't think the numbers will be anywhere near as "ugly" as earlier price declines.