By Ross Perez 12 Apr, 2010

Although the formal recession of 2008 and 2009 has ended, the reverberations remain. Mike Shedlock has devoted himself to describing those reverberations and why he thinks they will continue in his blog, Mish's Global Economic Analysis. On Sunday, he published the following viz, which shows the extreme funding crises that is developing in the nations public pension funds.

The larger and redder the circle is, the deeper the hole that state's pensions have to dig out of. As you can see, there are some very large and very red dots!

The problem is simple: pension plans have calculated their funding ratios assuming 7-8% annual returns. However, Mish has pointed out that anyone will be hard pressed to find returns that outstanding in the coming years of stagnant economic growth. Without a serious change in the economic course of the country, the nations public pensions will owe $3 trillion dollars they do not have.

Why we like this viz

Total callouts: "How much?" is a common question and the grand totals at the bottom of this viz make answering it very easy.


I really like this visualization. It provides context for a very large problem. What would have made this even better would be to calculate per capita values for each states unfunded liability to drive home the individual taxpayer slice of this unfunded debt.

Very nice work overall. Bravo!

Thanks Dan, I totally agree with you about the per capita values. I did not even think of that, though it is obvious now that you point it out. Next time... thanks!