What Do Greece, California, Portugal and Illinois Have in Common?

Answer: They all made CMA’s top-10 list of governments with the highest sovereign debt default risk. In order, the loser list (along with today’s probability of default) is:

  • #1 Greece (68.67%)
  • #2 Venezuela (58.35%)
  • #3 Argentina (48.39%)
  • #4 Pakistan (38.85%)
  • #5 Ukraine (35.54%)
  • #6 Dubai/Emirate of (29.07%)
  • #7 Iraq (28.91%)
  • #8 California/State of (25.13%)
  • #9 Portugal (25.03%)
  • #10 Illinois/State of (24.63%)

The fact that the markets have about as much faith in California and Illinois as they do in Iraq and Portugal really says something about the true costs of repeatedly electing big-spending fiscal cowards into office in these places (or anywhere else, for that matter). Fiscal gravity exists, and you can only try to defy it so long before you come crashing back to earth.

Leonard Gilroy is vice president of government reform at Reason Foundation and senior managing director of Reason's Pension Integrity Project.