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Could it be that public-sector employee unions in Illinois are out of control? Not according to the lobbyists, lawyers, and shop-bosses who would be thrown out of work if public-sector employees had to work for a living instead of sponging off the State. If you ask them everything is fine. But pieces like this one in the Chicago Sun Times tell a different story.

The way they tell it, the Illinois public-sector employee pension system holds $60 billion of assets but has $200 billion in legacy liabilities. 9% of the paycheck of each State worker or teacher is therefore supposed to go towards fixing the problem. But the problem is that instead of money being invested and the proceeds used to make payments to retirees, contributions are going straight to retirees.

In other words, the system is a Ponzi Scheme and by 2018 all of its assets will have been liquidated so there won’t be anything left to pay employees – former, current, or future.

So why are the teachers and other public-sector employees in Wisconsin acting like victims? Aren’t public-sector employee unions the ones that broke the system in the first place along with the corrupt politicians who allowed them to play kick-the-can with the future?

That does it. I’m moving to China. I heard they haven’t grasped the concept of Unions yet.

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Yesterday a measure to raise the national debt ceiling was defeated in the House of Representatives by a vote of 318 to 97. Get the full story here.

If the bill had passed, the statutory limit on public debt would have been lifted from $14.3 trillion to $16.7 trillion ahead of a deadline on August 2. In short, it looks like the House voted for fiscal restraint instead of towing the typical tax and spend strategy that has kept the Democrats in power for 50 years.

So is this a sign of the Apocalypse, or have legislators been sufficiently terrified by the throw-the-bums-out results of the mid-term elections to start acting in a (somewhat) fiscally responsible manner?

I tend to think the latter. So, uh, thanks Tea Party.

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Prices fell from Feb. to Mar. in 18 of the 20 metro areas tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller index. In a dozen of those cities markets are at their lowest points since the housing crisis started, driven lower by foreclosures, a glut of unsold homes, and the reluctance or inability of many to buy. The index is in its 8th straight month of decline and indicates that prices have now fallen further than they did during the Great Depression. It took 19 years for the housing market to rebound after that.

– DEREK KRAVITZ, AP Real Estate Writer for Yahoo! Finance