… which explained why North Carolina’s unemployment rate and pension-fund liability are in worse shape than well-reported basic data might suggest, you’ll likely appreciate this snippet from Mike Hogan’s article “Fiscal Cliff Notes” in the latest Barron’s.

In truth, the federal budget is in even worse shape than it appears, says economist John Williams, founder of Shadow Government Statistics (shadowstats.com). If it had to account for “off budget” and unfunded liabilities like Medicare and Social Security the way businesses do using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the annual deficit would have been $5 trillion, not $1 trillion, in recent years, according to Williams. His consultancy for decades has provided what it regards as more accurate economic data to money funds and other businesses. Full access to his weekly commentaries with alternative econometrics costs $175 annually. But there’s plenty of free content available like the “Hyperinflation Special Report 2012,” which traces the origins of the budget crisis.