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

Solution to LA’s Pension Troubles? Continue to Study Them Until They Blow Up!

BonzoIQ

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, April 14, 2014:

It has been said that if you ask a liberal his opinion on how to solve a current problem he’ll analyze it and then give you a dim view of the obvious. But when you ask a group of liberals what they think, they’ll

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Solution to LA’s Pension Shortfalls? Create Another Commission!

City Heights

City Heights (Photo credit: Christopher.F Photography)

Expectations that the Los Angeles 2020 Commission’s second report would address reality and set in place strong recommendations to rescue the foundering city were dashed with its publication on April 9.

In simple terms, the commission wimped out.

A year ago Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson asked former Clinton Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor to put together a group of experts familiar with Los Angeles’ problems and come up with some recommendations. In December its first report was alarming if not downright chilling:

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Connecticut Raises its Minimum Wage to $10.10 an Hour

Governor's Agreement With State Employees

Governor’s Agreement With State Employees (Photo credit: CT Senate Democrats)

In a remarkable display of hubris and economic ignorance, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy proudly announced on Thursday that his state is the first to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour:

This is just a step in moving people in the right direction.

We will be lifting people out of poverty in the state of Connecticut. Increasing the minimum wage is not just good for workers, it’s also good for business.

What the new law will really do as it is phased in over the next three years is

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Denial is a River in Vallejo, California

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, Mary 19, 2014:

Denial of reality seems to be a job requirement to hold a position on the city council in Vallejo, California. Despite increased payments demanded from the city by CalPERS (the California Public Employees’ Retirement System), everything’s OK in Vallejo. Despite a warning from Moody’s in February that everything is not OK in Vallejo, everything’s OK in Vallejo.

Just ask the mayor, Osby Davis:

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Despite Denials, the City of Vallejo is Headed for its Second Bankruptcy

Back in February, 2008, Vallejo, California, was in desperate shape. Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes saw what was coming: “Our financial situation is getting worse every single day. No [one] wants to declare bankruptcy, but if you’re facing insolvency, you have no choice….” Two months later her council voted 7-0 to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In that two month period the city’s budget shortfall ballooned from $9 million to $15 million despite cuts to museums, libraries, senior centers and other publicly supported services like road repair. Now, according to Moody’s Investors Service, the city is

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Detroit’s Grand Bargain will Satisfy no one

The so-called “grand bargain” that Detroit’s emergency financial manager rolled out on Friday – all 440 pages of it – was welcomed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder with words that perfectly encapsulated the nearly year-long effort to settle the city’s bankruptcy:

Kevyn Orr has submitted a thoughtful, comprehensive blueprint directing the city back to solid financial ground … [but] there will be

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More Fraud Found by Detroit’s Emergency Manager

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 10, 2014:

It was no surprise to anyone that Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s interim emergency financial manager of the city during its bankruptcy, would uncover a massive fraud dating back to 2005 that helped precipitate the city’s descent into bankruptcy. It’s also no surprise that the two banks and the insurance company involved now want to cut a better deal

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Detroit’s Bankruptcy plan Reveals Fraud in Funding Pensions

Once Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency financial manager during the city’s bankruptcy, presented his “plan of adjustment” – code for compromise in which no one is going to be happy – criticism was most loudly proclaimed by two people who have no financial interest in the outcome:

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The New York Times Continues to Shrink

In its press release issued on Thursday the New York Times did its best to put lipstick on its pig, noting declines in earnings per share over the last quarter and the last twelve months but claiming that this represented great progress and

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Standard & Poor’s Downgrades Puerto Rican debt to junk status

Now that credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s has ended the suspense by announcing that it is cutting Puerto Rico’s $70 billion worth of general obligation bonds to junk status, questions about the island’s economic future abound. Will Fitch and Moody’s follow suit

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Obama Executive Order to Force Americans to buy Government Bonds

Halfway through his State of the Union message Tuesday night, the president announced he was unilaterally going to fix another perceived problem through an executive order: mandating a requirement that all employers not already offering retirement plans start doing so. Said the president:

Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement.

Today, most workers don’t have a pension. A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401(k)s.

That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to

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Highland Park, Michigan, is Teetering on the Brink of Bankruptcy

The final straw for Highland Park, Michigan, may have arrived in the form of a letter from Fifth Third Bank last month announcing it is ending its monthly checks that have provided life support for the city inside of Detroit for the last three years. One of three banks sending checks to the city, Fifth Third said in its letter dated December 12 that it is

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How to bankrupt a city: lessons from Scranton, Pennsylvania

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, January 17th, 2014:

Poor Mert Gavin. He’s the owner of Mert’s Piano Bar in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania, and between the pending 10% “drinking” tax and the extension of parking meter hours in front of his bar to 6PM, he’s finding that his customers are going home after work instead of stopping by for a cold one:

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Controversial Harvard Professors predict high inflation and defaults for the US

The two Harvard professors who made themselves famous, and then infamous, are at it again, now predicting that America will soon be forced to

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Illinois pension reform is no permanent fix

When Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan opened debate over his bill designed to solve the state’s $100 billion shortfall in funding four of its five public pension plans, he said:

There will be changes here, much-needed changes, but this bill is a well-thought-out bill, a well-balanced bill that deserves the support of this body, the state Senate, and the approval of Governor Quinn.

Something’s got to be done. We can’t go on dedicating so much of our resources to this one sector of pensions.

Madigan instead birthed a

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Judge declares Detroit bankrupt, gives OK to cut pensions and burn creditors

In the opening to his hour-long statement to a packed courthouse on Tuesday, federal bankruptcy court Judge Steven Rhodes said:

It is indeed a momentous day. We have here a judicial finding that this once proud and prosperous city can’t pay its debts. It’s insolvent.

It’s eligible for bankruptcy. At the same time it has an opportunity for a fresh start.

He reeled off the list of problems the city is facing:

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Credit rating agencies downgrade Chicago debt, again

The day after the Illinois state legislature adjourned without dealing with the state’s $100 billion crisis, on Friday, November 8th Fitch Ratings downgraded $8.5 billion of Chicago’s bonds as well as its outlook for future downgrades as “negative.” Said Fitch: “The city has been unsuccessful in its attempts to negotiate a solution with labor unions [or with] the state legislature, which ultimately controls the benefit formulas [of the state’s pension plans].” This is the second downgrade by Fitch since July,

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NJ Governor Christie Denies Running for President

Newly reelected New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was busy over the weekend explaining that his focus is back on running New Jersey and not worrying about running for president in 2016. For instance, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” Christie said:

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The Bubble in the Caribbean: Puerto Rico

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 30, 2013:

The complacency of municipal bond holders ended in July with the filing for bankruptcy by Detroit, an unhappy town of just 700,000 owing more than $18 billion to investors. Haircuts there have variously been estimated to be between 15 and 60 percent.

Since then, those holders have been looking around to find the next shoe to fall, and they have found it:

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Why are Puerto Rico’s Bond Prices Falling?

Despite the fact that Puerto Rican (PR) municipal bonds are triple-tax-exempt (no federal, state or local income taxes apply on their interest), those interest rates have skyrocketed since the Detroit bankruptcy first ended the complacency among municipal bond investors in July. High quality municipal bonds are paying little more than 1 percent annually but PR bonds, even though they remain investment grade (barely), have spiked

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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.

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