Over the past three posts I’ve documented how today’s and tomorrow’s Americans have had their future sold out and cashed in with regard to state and local government debts, inadequate past infrastructure capital construction, and retroactively increased and underfunded public employee pensions. Over and above the generational inequities at the federal level in government, in the private sector, and even in many families. Adding it up, on average today’s and tomorrow’s Americans have inherited a sold-out future due to past state and local government deals and non-decisions equal to 46.9% of their personal income in FY 2016. That is virtually unchanged from the 47.1% I found when I did the same analysis for FY 2012, despite a much stronger economy and another asset price bubble. A mortgage at nearly half your income, my income, everyone’s income that will have to be carried indefinitely into the future, before any public services are provided, before any public benefits are paid, before taxpayers spend a nickel on their own needs.
Unlike the other generational inequities in our society in the wake of Generation Greed, the state and local government burden is greater or smaller depending on where you live. It attaches to the people there now, unless they move away from it, and may eventually attach to each place’s real estate, since real estate cannot pick up and move. This final post in the series will rank states, and New York City and the Rest of New York State separately, based on how sold out their futures are.