Israel Bonds for Ohio

An unremarked portion of the debate between candidates for State Treasurer of Ohio included this:

Sprague [GOP] has proposed investing in Israel bonds and has said it’s a way to promote President Trump’s foreign policy and help a key US ally. But Sprague says it’s also a financially sound idea. “Those Israel bonds actually get an 80 basis point premium, typically, over a lot of the domestic paper that we can invest in right now,” Sprague said. “So it makes sense economically for the taxpayers of the state of Ohio because they get a higher return on those bonds…”

It’s not unique that state’s invest in what are effectively sovereign wealth funds, i.e., invest taxpayer dollars in a foreign country, but it raises significant questions. It’s enlightening to read the prospectuses for these bonds, which include warnings about the “geopolitical and economic environment”, which shared this highlight “Israel’s political, economic and military environment may continue to be volatile.” Good to know. The use of proceeds is the shortest section of the prospectus: “Israel will use the net proceeds from the sale of the bonds offered hereby for general purposes of the State.” Do tell.

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