Few people are talking about an enormous federal bailout that appears inevitable.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. state and local government pensions are underfunded by $1 trillion and may need to seek federal guarantees for their debt, according to Orin Kramer, chairman of New Jersey’s Investment Council.
Pension underfunding eventually will make it impossible for some governments to raise money in bond markets and will require federal intervention through explicit or “implied guarantees” of municipal debt, Kramer, 64, said in an interview today at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York.
“The collective deficits should not be and will not be overcome by an aggressive investment strategy,” Kramer said. “I think that actually, ultimately, the severity of the problem will become publicly visible and you’ll have more entities that will have difficulty accessing the bond markets.”
To put the shortfall into perspective, U.S. public-employee pension fund owned $2.8 trillion in assets before last year's meltdown, and $2.2 Trillion afterward.