When Meredith Whitney predicted a muni bond meltdown people said it couldn’t happen even though many of our city and state governments are broke. When it didn’t happen in the time frame Whitney predicted people decided she was full of it. But she’s about to have the last laugh:
A “tidal wave” of defaults in the municipal bond market is still building and will eventually hit the United States, says Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney.
Many U.S. cities, towns and municipalities are insolvent but are treading along similar to how Greece did for years before officially defaulting.
In late 2010, Whitney told 60 Minutes that municipal defaults could run up into the hundreds of billions of dollars although that hasn’t happened. Maybe not officially, but insolvency is a deepening problem, and defaults are still on the way.
“You have Stockton (Calif.) that is on the brink of bankruptcy. You have five cities, including Detroit, which is on the brink of insolvency. It’s fascinating, because there’s been so much back-room political maneuvering to keep these cities from going bust,” Whitney tells CNBC, pointing out how California is trying to pass legislation to prevent municipalities from declaring bankruptcy.
“So there’s been every effort on the part of the states to prevent this tidal wave of defaults, which is going to happen sooner or later. It’s happening at an accelerating pace.”
Taxes are rising, social services are being cut and fiscal shortfalls will keep widening.
“They’re not called technical defaults. It took how long for Greece to become a technical default, so they’re insolvent, they’re not paying their bills,” says the founder of the Meredith Whitney Advisory Group.
“You’re either willing to see it or you’ll shut your eyes, and if people want to tell me, ‘Oh, I was wrong,’ because this hasn’t played out, stay tuned.”
Get ready for America to look like a giant Detroit.