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Smith's Research & Gradings
Volume: 
XXVIII
Issue: 
13
Author: 
August 3, 2020

Smith's Research & Gradings

Should State and Local Bailout Come With Strings?

One of the great lessons from the Puerto Rico bankruptcy was never to draw to an inside straight — in other words, state and local government politicians need to play the hand that is dealt.

The Governor of Puerto Rico was called to testify before the Senate Committee, whose chairperson asked "Who is in charge?" All the Governor needed to say was "You".

Instead, The Governor insisted the $120 bln. in federal funds be provided to him without any strings. Any conditions to the aid would violate Puerto Rico's sovereignty. He had $70 bln. in par value of defaulted bonds to prove it. He rang-up $30 bln. from Hurricane Maria. He had 15 bln. in unfunded pensions. Puerto Rico received $2 bln. in grant money and $3 bln. in federal loans for specific pre-approved projects.

Clearly, the temptation to "not waste an emergency" can result in politicians running up spending just when cutting costs and expenses are required.
Analysts and investors need to be aware of the political event risks when considering a municipal bond.

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Will Infrastructure Promises Meet Expectations

Targeted Infrastructure programs will be one of the featured revitalization tools used for stimulating growth in the US economy post the COVID-19 pandemic. Many observers have anticipated massive large-scale infrastructure programs, but that may not be viable at this time, given the financial capabilities of many state and local governments.

Jobs Number May Indicate Covid Economy is Over

Wow! The U.S. economy added 467,000 jobs last month, keeping the unemployment rate in the 4.0% area. Also impressive is that there were large upward revisions from previous months. We say 'wow' because there was such negative sentiment prior to the release of the jobs number.

Pandemic Event Risk: National Emergency Extended

The National Emergency has been extended according to a letter from President Joe Biden to The Congress of the United States.

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