Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Pension

Dallas Pension Plan Solution: Everyone Shares the Pain

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 22, 2017: 

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Tri...

Downtown Dallas in the background with the Trinity River in the foreground.

Following the pension plan board meeting on Monday, Presidents’ Day, a decision was made to accept the rough outlines of a proposal by Texas House Pensions Committee Chairman Dan Flynn to keep the Dallas police and firefighters pension plan from going bankrupt. Said city council member Philip Kingston, “Flynn’s [plan] is the best of the bad options.”

Everyone involved will share the pain: some by having their benefits cut back, and some by having the contributions increased.

Under the Summary issued late Monday night:

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Teamsters’ Pension Plans Seek Massive Cuts to Retirees to Stay Solvent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 2, 2017:

Logo of the United States Pension Benefit Guar...

The Central States Teamsters pension plan, covering more than 400,000 participants, expects to receive permission shortly from the Treasury Department to cut benefits to those participants, possibly by as much as 30 percent. At the end of 2014 the plan had $35 billion in liabilities (future promises to participants as they retire) compared to less than $18 billion on hand to pay them.

Right behind Central States was the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund, which is also in trouble. Owing nearly $3 billion to its 35,000 plan participants, it has less than $1.3 billion to meet this obligation. Its plan, in its request to the Treasury Department, spelled out just how great the cuts would be:

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LOL Illinois: Corporate Group Works to Keep State From Becoming a Laughingstock

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 28, 2016:  

English: 1987 Illinois license plate

The name of the group LOL Illinois can taken two ways: Land of Lincoln, or Laughing Out Loud. As Scott Santi, chairman of Illinois Tool Works, which employs 48,000 workers around the world, noted:

There’s a crisis of confidence in terms of a plan to address some pretty significant structural problems in the state. It’s challenging for Illinois to be competitive given the uncertainty around the fiscal crisis.

“Crisis of confidence”? “Challenging”? “Uncertainty”? Illinois was headed into oblivion until Bruce Rauner, the first Republican governor in 12 years, faced reality.

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Large Pension Plans Adjusting Their Targets Downward

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 21, 2016:  

English: Jerry Brown's official picture as Att...

California Governor Jerry Brown

Heading into negotiations this past weekend between the California governor’s office, teachers’ unions, and pension plan trustees managing the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), Governor Jerry Brown spoke the truth: “There’s no doubt CalPERS needs to start aligning its rate of return expectations with reality.”

Coming out of the meeting, the gap between the plan’s target rate of return and reality remained immense.

The last time CalPERS faced reality and flinched was in 2012 when

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Simmering Greek Financial Crisis Explodes Once Again

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, December 15, 2016:  

Under the terms of its last bailout, Athens (above) was required not only to continue to impose harsh austerity terms (higher taxes, less government spending, better accountability, and increased tax collection enforcement onto Greek citizens) but to inform the unelected “higher” European authorities of any change in those terms by Athens.

Last week Athens unilaterally

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Civilization’s Thin Veneer

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 14, 2016:  

The dictionary defines civilization as “an ideal state of human culture characterized by a complete absence of barbarism and non-rational behavior.” Rich Galen thinks a better definition is living in a “constant state of positive assumptions.”

Many of those assumptions are coming into question, with many more already proven to be false. One of them is that pension plans are safe, that promises made will be kept, and that the assumptions underlying those plans regarding rates of return on invested assets are reasonable and that they virtually guarantee predictable results.

Those positive assumptions vanished last summer in Athens when

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Boomers Are Retiring, Draining Pension Plans

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 12, 2016:

Roosevelt Signs The : President Roosevelt sign...

President Roosevelt signs Social Security Act, at approximately 3:30 pm EST on 14 August 1935.

In a moment of surprising candor, Danielle DiMartino Booth, a former advisor to the Federal Reserve, said in a Real Vision TV interview on Saturday that “the Baby Boomers are no longer an actuarial theory. They’re a reality. The checks [from their retirement plans] are being written.”

For years commentators have repeatedly asserted that “when” the Baby Boomers (that generation born between 1946 and 1964) start to retire, they will start using up funds set aside in pension plans, putting those plans into crisis. According to Booth, that day has arrived.

She pointed to the crisis in Dallas that threatens to put the city into bankruptcy, and the report from Calpers (the California Public Employees Retirement System),

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UPDATE: Dallas Pension Plan Stops Early Withdrawals

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 9, 2016:

English: Flag of Dallas, Texas Esperanto: Flag...

On November 21, The New American published an article entitled “Dallas to Declare Bankruptcy?” suggesting that the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System was in such poor shape that Dallas was looking more and more like Detroit.

It was pointed out that Moody’s declared that Dallas has higher unfunded pension liabilities, relative to its balance sheet, than any major American city except Detroit. The article noted that the plans’ present troubles dated back to a 1993 decision to offer a “retention perk” to keep officers considering retirement to stay on for a few more years.

That “perk,” referred to as DROP  — Deferred Retirement Option Plan — allowed those agreeing to stay on to

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Illinois Governor Vetoes Chicago Bailout Bill

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 5, 2016:  

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/lin...

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill on December 1 that would have provided a $215 million bailout of the Chicago public schools. So certain were school officials that he would sign it — allowing them to make a past-due payment to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund — that they made it a part of their budget for next year.

The original bill passed by Democrat supermajorities in both houses was for $700 million, but during negotiations Rauner, a Republican, agreed to $215 million instead, in exchange for a promise that the Democrats would institute real pension reform. Once the bill hit Rauner’s desk, however, all deals were off: Give us the money, said the Democrats, and forget pension reform.

Rauner’s veto message is instructive in several regards.

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Chicago Dreaming

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 5, 2016:  

Chicago Public School Officials were so sure that they would get another bailout from the state that they actually put it into next years budget. The city is behind on making a $730 million pension payment due its teachers pension plan, and the $215 million they were expecting from the state would allow them to make it.

The bill that passed the state senate unanimously and the house overwhelmingly was headed for Governor Bruce Rauners desk for signing until Rauner (pictured) learned that the Democratic leadership had no intention of keeping their promise to institute significant pension reform in order to get the bailout.

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Dallas to Declare Bankruptcy?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 21, 2016:  

The New York Times just reported that the Dallas police and firefighters pension plan is $7 billion short of meeting its obligations and needs an immediate bailout of $1 billion just to stay afloat. The problem is that Dallas’ annual budget is $3 billion.

Three years ago Dallas wasn’t on anyone’s “watch” list.

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The Coming Puerto Rican Bailout

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 29, 2016:  

On or before September 1, President Obama will complete the eight appointments to the oversight board created when he signed PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act) into law on June 30. Those already on the board include Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Marco Rubio, Democrat Senator Bill Nelson and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.

In theory the board will have the power to override the island’s government, delay litigation, fire government workers, and “suggest” other ways the island can begin to recover from its present economic implosion. It has been described as a “de facto” Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In practice it is likely that,

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Vulture Funds Expecting to Profit Handsomely from Puerto Rico’s Problems

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 29, 2016:  

English: Map of Peuto Rico, with inset showing...

Map of Peuto Rico, with inset showing it’s position in relation to American continents.

George W. Plunkitt was not the world’s first dishonest politician, but he might have been one of the first ones to be honest about his dishonesty. Plunkitt was a Tammany Hall pol who served in the New York State Assembly and then in the New York State Senate around the turn of the 20th century. He called what he did – and what made him wealthy – “honest graft.” He defined “dishonest graft” as efforts to work solely for his own interests. “Honest graft,” on the other hand, was graft that worked for the interests of his own party.

He made his money by

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California’s Pension Plans Report Dismal Results, Increasing Shortfalls

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 20, 2016:  

Ted Eliopoulos, the chief investment officer of the country’s largest pension plan, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), did the best he could with the bad news: “Positive performance in a year of turbulent financial markets is an accomplishment that we are proud of.” That “positive performance” was a measly 0.61-percent return from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, on his $300 billion pension plan. That means that the fund is now about $100 billion short of meeting its future obligations.

But that $100 billion number greatly understates the real liability because it’s based on a pixie-dust assumption that the plan can earn an average

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Chicagoans Hit With Massive Tax Increases Over July 4 Weekend

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 11, 2016:  

It Takes Taxes and Bonds - NARA - 534022

The second installment of property taxes due from Chicagoans hit their mailboxes over Independence Day weekend, thus proving the adage that “if one didn’t like taxes without representation, he certainly won’t like taxes with representation.”

William Phillips of Rogers Park (one of 77 communities on the far north side of Chicago) was almost first in line at the assessor’s office on Tuesday, hoping to complain to someone about his bill. “Our taxes increased fivefold,” he stated. “I was expecting [them] to go up maybe twice as much but not four to five times as much.”

Right behind him was Cornes King of Chatham, who told ABC7 News:

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Day of Reckoning for Chicago Taxpayers

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 11, 2016:  

Chicago landsat image

Chicago landsat image

Chicago just experienced a great irony. Its bill for past extravagances run up by its corrupt politicians arrived over the July 4th weekend. It was of course then that Americans were celebrating Independence from British politicians seeking to impose taxes without representation.

With representation, Chicago taxpayers have allowed themselves to be saddled with taxes far exceeding those that triggered the American Revolution. The trouble is that the realization just hit home over that weekend.

The second half of 2016 property taxes was due on July 1st, and on Tuesday unhappy taxpayers were lined up outside the tax assessor’s door to complain. It was a little late. About two decades late.

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New Bailout Bill for Puerto Rico Supposedly “Won’t Cost Taxpayers a Dime”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 30, 2016:  

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY)

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY)

Since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it, it must be true: The bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday to rescue Puerto Rico from its overwhelming financial troubles “won’t cost taxpayers a dime, not a dime.”

The president has said he would sign into law the dreadfully misnamed Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) immediately and would then begin to nominate the seven members of the board to oversee its implementation. That board is to become effective on September 1.

That provides no help to Puerto Rico, which will default

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Illinois Governor Vetoes Plan to Reduce Chicago’s Pension Contributions

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 30, 2016: 

Chicago’s pension contributions to its four dreadfully underfunded pension plans were supposed to double this year to $1.1 billion, up from $478 billion in 2015. But state legislators passed a bill (which had been bottled up for nearly a year) to cut that back to under $900 million. On Friday Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (above) vetoed the bill, expressing in no uncertain terms that he was tired of politicians kicking the can down the road:

By deferring responsible funding decisions until 2021 and then extending the timeline for reaching responsible funding levels from 2040 to 2055, Chicago is borrowing against its taxpayers to the tune of $18.6 billion.

 

This practice has got to stop. If we continue, we’ve learned nothing from our past mistakes.

Those past “mistakes” have got Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a pickle.

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Meet Michael Madigan, AKA “the Real Governor of Illinois”

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 30, 2016:  

Little happens legislatively in Illinois without the approval or acquiescence of House Speaker Michael Madigan (shaking hands with another corruptocrat, above). A Chicago pol, he has been speaker for 31 out of the last 33 years. When a bill arrives, it is shunted immediately to his Rules Committee, run by his second-in-command, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, also from Chicago, also a Democrat who was appointed Majority Leader of the House by Madigan.

If a bill ever sees the light of day (most don’t) it then is assigned to one of 50 committees, each of them chaired by a Madigan selectee.

A present example is SB 777, which

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Puerto Rico to Default on $422M Payment Today; Likely Another $2B in July

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 2, 2016:  

Puerto Rico continued its “death spiral,” with its failure to make a $422 million interest payment on Monday on some of the island’s gigantic $73 billion debt. This comes on the heels of missed payments over the last year, and will be followed up by a $2 billion payment due on July 1, which it is also widely anticipated to miss. The payment is due from the island’s Government Development Bank (GDB), the main bond issuer and the island’s fiscal agent.

So far Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla (above) has, as noted previously in The New American, been able to keep the lights on and the water running by moving money around on the island’s balance sheet, paying only those with the highest and most enforceable claims and dealing as best he can with those holding lower credits. It was Padilla who said his island was in a “death spiral” as far back as last July, because his 3.5 million inhabitants, half of whom live in poverty, didn’t have the money.

But for decades Padilla and his predecessors acted as if they did have it,

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.