31 states can't pay for promised benefits and pensions of retirees.
According to the Pew Research Center, collectively states are short 1.26 trillion dollars. States were short 1 trillion on promises to retirees and in just one year the funding gap grew 26 percent and funding levels of ten additional states deteriorated. Pensions are deemed "underfunded" when states are unable to pay at least 80 percent of liabilities.
Most states are legally bound to pay for the pensions and if they don't have the money in their treasury they may have to borrow. But not from Washington, DC. Many Capitol Hill lawmakers have already backed legislative to prevent the federal government from bailing out states.
Unfunded pensions affect everyone because they can mean higher taxes or cuts in essential public services.
The gaps are straining governments and stoking political fights in states such as New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin over the workers' benefits. Amore predicts there will be more protests.
A new Gallup poll shows a majority of nonretired Americans do not think they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, up sharply from about a third who felt this way in 2002. 40 year old David Meadows says he'll never really retire and doesn't believe he'll ever receive social security benefits.
The International Monetary Fund has announced that China will surpass the US economically in real terms in 2016.
Whoever is elected president in 2012, the IMF says, will be the last president to preside over a US economy on top. With only five years to change the outlook, that person has a daunting task ahead.