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: underfunded

The US Welfare State is One Gigantic Underfunded Pension Plan

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, September 7, 2015:  

Think of it this way: a pension plan is a system or program whereby promises are made to beneficiaries based upon contributions made to the plan by those beneficiaries and by the plan sponsor, either a local or state government or a private entity, company, or corporation. The assumptions are that the monies will be invested carefully, prudently, and wisely until they are needed. For those services the plan sponsors take a fee.

A welfare state is

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Public Pension Plans Cut Rate of Return Targets; Still Not Enough

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 7, 2015:  

Twenty million pension plan beneficiaries have just been warned: You won’t be getting what you have been promised when you retire. Part of the reason is that pension managers have been far too optimistic in estimating what they are able to earn on your money. And part of the reason is that they continue to remain so.

In its analysis of 126 public pension plans, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators (NASRA) noted that more than two-thirds of them have reduced their estimates, however slightly, since 2008, while 39 of them are still stuck

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Chicagoans had to Choose Between Venal and Feckless for Mayor

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 8, 2015: 

In Tuesday’s mayoral runoff in Chicago, voters had only two choices: to vote for the venal Rahm Emanuel or the feckless Chuy Garcia. Four years ago Emanuel rode Barack Obama’s coattails to victory, winning in a walk with 55 percent of the vote. In February, Emanuel couldn’t squeeze out a majority, getting only 46 percent of the vote and forcing a runoff with a far-left progressive on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

With the help of an estimated 100 “friends of Rahm,” Emanuel buried Garcia, raising some $30 million for his campaign, eight times what Garcia was able to raise. On Monday Emanuel held an 18-point lead over Garcia.

Garcia was hoping for a miracle.

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Memphis Police, Firemen Quitting Following Pension Plan Reductions

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 16, 2015: 

English: Memphis, Tennessee skyline from the a...

Memphis, Tennessee skyline from the air

Last July more than half of Memphis’ police officers took sick days off to protest the reductions in the city’s contributions to their pension plan and increases in their contributions to the city’s health benefits plan. The national media was sympathetic with cases of “blue flu,” instead of recognizing the new economic reality: Because public pensions are underfunded, everyone expecting benefits from the city will now take a hit, not just new hires.

Some of those who took sick days in July now are quitting altogether, finding other better opportunities elsewhere. In fact, other departments from nearby states are advertising in local papers and setting up job fairs to entice the discontented to new positions.

In a word, those unhappy with the new reality are adjusting.

Most solutions proposed to bring underfunded pension plans back into balance have involved

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Boston University Economist Calls Out Congress on Enormous Fiscal Gap

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 12, 2015:

Logo of the United States Government Accountab...

Logo of the United States Government Accountability Office

During his annual trek to Washington, D.C., to lecture Congress on its spendthrift habits, Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff took the gloves off this year. He dressed down Senator Mike Enzi, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, along with the committee’s members:

Let me get right to the point. Our country is broke. It’s not broke in 75 years or 50 years or 25 years or 10 years.

 

It’s broke today.

 

Indeed, it may well be in worse fiscal shape than any development country, including Greece.

It isn’t just Enzi, or his committee, or the present Congress, that’s responsible for a fiscal gap that’s vastly larger than that projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It’s the idea that the country can borrow without limit because

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Politics and Mathematics Collide in Chicago

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 4, 2015:

English: Downtown Chicago, Illinois at night. ...

Downtown Chicago, Illinois at night.

Chicago is a microcosm of Illinois: it has a determined unwillingness to face reality. Even Moody’s, in its latest downgrade of Chicago debt, has failed to grasp the enormity of the shortfalls facing the city and the state.

Moody’s tried to be realistic, using unrealistic numbers:

[Our rating] incorporates expected growth in Chicago’s already highly-elevated unfunded pension liabilities and continued growth in costs to service those liabilities, even if recent pension reforms proceed and are not overturned….

The “expected growth” will likely surprise to the downside even the realists at Moody’s, as the real shortfall in the five pension plans the state is funding is vastly greater than even the $100+ billion the state faces. A “special pension briefing” performed back in November by the state’s Commission on Forecasting and Accountability showed the accrued liabilities on those plans to be

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Moody’s Downgrades Chicago Again

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 3, 2015:

English: in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Downtown Chicago, Illinois

Within hours of Moody’s Investors Service announcing another downgrade to Chicago’s general obligation bonds last Friday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration responded, saying that Moody’s was out of touch with reality:

We strongly disagree with Moody’s decision to reduce the city’s credit rating and would note that Moody’s has been consistently and substantially out of step with the other rating agencies [Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings], ignoring progress that has been achieved.

At the moment those other two agencies rate Chicago’s debt at A-plus or A-minus, each with a negative outlook. But in light of an imminent court ruling that could invalidate efforts to cut pension benefits, along with the crushing and increasing burden of those benefits, observers are just waiting for the next two shoes to drop.

As Moody’s noted, its downgrade will stand even if the court validates those pension modifications: 

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New Illinois Governor Facing Torrent of Red Ink

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 12, 2015:

 

Previous Illinois administrations and politicians have been kicking the can down the road for decades. Now, the state has run out of road. Bruce Rauner, Illinois’ new Republican governor, was inaugurated on Monday and is facing a daunting task: a $4 billion backlog of unpaid bills and a budget showing deficits approaching $21 billion in three years unless something is done.

During his campaign that successfully ousted what Huffington Post noted as the “nation’s least popular governor,” Pat Quinn, Rauner made the usual political promises of streamlining government and improving education and the state’s business climate, all without increasing taxes. In fact, he promised

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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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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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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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First Detroit, Now Chicago?

The unfunded pension liabilities facing Chicago are only the most recent troubles threatening the Windy City, according to the New York Times. The recent credit downgrade of Chicago’s general obligation bonds by Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch just brought the matter to the surface. Crime, corruption and a shrinking population also are beginning to make Chicago look like an out-sized version of Detroit.

According to the city, the four pension plans for its police, teachers, firefighters and office staff, are all dreadfully underfunded to the tune of some

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Will Scranton be Next?

Following Detroit’s application for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9 last week, pundits have had a field day predicting which city would be next. Fox News thinks it’s going to be Chicago, which Moody’s just downgraded because of its $19 billion unfunded pension liabilities. The agency said those liabilities are “very large and growing” and as a result the city faces a “tremendous strain.”

Other cities like

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The Clock is Ticking on Illinois Pension Reform

Two competing bills for pension reform have just passed the Illinois legislature with hopes that one of them will be passed before it adjourns for the summer on May 31st. One of them has the blessing of the teachers’ union and Democrat John Cullerton, president of the state senate. The other passed the House, and neither

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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.