Posts Tagged ‘pension plans’

Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010

Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010

Courtesy of Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse 

In a very alarming sign for the U.S. economy, foreclosures have continued to dramatically increase in 2010.  But there has been a shift.  Back in 2007 and 2008, experts tell us that most foreclosures were due to toxic mortgages.  People were being suckered into mortgages that they couldn’t afford with "teaser rates" or with payments that would dramatically escalate after a few years, and when those mortgages reset, the people who had agreed to them no longer could make the payments.  But now RealtyTrac says that unemployment has become the major reason for foreclosures.  Millions of Americans have become chronically unemployed during the economic downturn and many of them are losing their homes as a result.  But whatever the cause, one thing is certain – foreclosures have continued to skyrocket at a staggering rate.

According to a new report from RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings climbed in 75% of the nation’s metro areas during the first half of 2010.  At a time when the Obama administration believes that we are "turning the corner", things just seem to get even worse. 

Some areas of the country continue to be complete and total disaster areas when it comes to real estate.  For example, you have got to feel really sorry for anyone trying to sell a house down in Florida right now.  According to RealtyTrac, Florida led the way with nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in the country during the first half of 2010.

Ouch.

But the worst city for foreclosures continues to be Las Vegas.…
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Seattle’s “Actuarial Valuation” of City Pension Plan Sinks to 62% Funded; I say it’s Far Wors

Seattle’s "Actuarial Valuation" of City Pension Plan Sinks to 62% Funded; I say it’s Far Worse

Courtesy of Mish 

A new Seattle report says the city will have to increase pension contributions to keep its plan solvent. Please consider Seattle’s retirement investments plunge deeply.

The City of Seattle will have to substantially increase the amount of money it pays into its employees’ retirement system to cover future obligations because its related investments took big hits during the economic meltdown, according to a report presented to the City Council Friday.

This situation will put further pressure on a city budget that is already fracturing.

As of Jan. 1, 2008, the city’s retirement "actuarial valuation" funding ratio was 92.4 percent, the report said. That’s the ratio of the assets the city had compared to what it owes for benefits earned by employees. As of Jan. 1 of this year, the funding ratio had dropped to 62 percent – mainly because the city’s stock market holdings tied to retirement accounts dropped 20 percent and other factors.

The study prepared for Seattle by Milliman says the city will have to increase its retirement contribution rates make sure its retirement plans are fully funded. Workers and the city contribute to the plan, but rate hikes for employees are limited to 2 percent, said the report.

City Councilman Mike O’Brien said it’s unrealistic to wait and hope that a Wall Street surge solves the city’s retirement funding problem.

O’Brien said City Councilmembers, who will consider the matter in earnest during fall budget talks, will have to determine whether 1 percent bumps are enough to right the retirement ship.

City of Seattle Pension Results

Inquiring minds are digging into the City of Seattle Pension Plan Funding Report.

An increase in contribution rates is needed to maintain actuarial balance.

  • Employees and employer share rate increases, but rate increase for employees is limited to 2.00% (10.03% total).
  • As of January 1, 2011, employer rate increase needed is 6.97% of payroll.
  • Total employer portion would increase from 8.03% to 15.00% of payroll.

Worse Than It Looks

Note the huge increase in payroll funding. Also note that the study was done on January 1, 2010. The stock market is now down on the year. Thus, it is highly likely that 62% is actuarially overstated .

Is the city going to raise


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NY State Shell Game – Municipalities Borrow from Pension Fund to make Required Pension Fund Contributions

NY State Shell Game – Municipalities Borrow from Pension Fund to make Required Pension Fund Contributions

Seashell Game

Courtesy of Mish

When it comes to pension funding schemes, NY governor David Paterson and the NY legislature have taken can-kicking to ever increasing levels of absurdity. Please consider State Plan Makes Fund Both Borrower and Lender.

Gov. David A. Paterson and legislative leaders have tentatively agreed to allow the state and municipalities to borrow nearly $6 billion to help them make their required annual payments to the state pension fund.

And, in classic budgetary sleight-of-hand, they will borrow the money to make the payments to the pension fund — from the same pension fund.

As word of the plan spread, some denounced it as a shell game and a blatant effort by state leaders to avoid making difficult decisions, like cutting government spending or reducing pension benefits.

“It’s a classic Albany example of kicking the can down the road,” said Harry Wilson, the Republican candidate for comptroller, who holds an M.B.A. from Harvard.

Under the plan, the state and municipalities would borrow the money to reduce their pension contributions for the next three years, in exchange for higher payments over the following decade. They would begin repaying what they borrowed, with interest, in 2013.

But Mr. Paterson and other state officials hope the stock market will have rebounded to such a degree by that time that the state’s overall pension contribution burden will have been reduced.

Another oddity of the plan is that the pension fund, which assumes its assets will earn 8 percent a year, would accept interest payments from the state that would probably be 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

This week, Mr. Paterson called borrowing “a last resort,” but added, “I have never said I wouldn’t borrow.”

Oddities Galore

The idea is so absurd that I struggle to believe anyone would propose it, let alone actually vote for it. Yet it passed, and the governor signed it.

Paterson and other state officials hope the stock market will bail them out. I have the odds of that at something like 15%.

Plan assumptions of 8% annualized are highly unlikely to happen. Amazingly, even IF 8% returns came home, Seven State Pension Plans will be Out of Money by 2020.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

******

Lower picture courtesy of Jr. Deputy Accountant 


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Padded Pensions and What to do About Them

Padded Pensions and What to do About Them

Courtesy of Mish

The New York Times article Padded Pensions Add to New York Fiscal Woes has been making the rounds. At least 20 people sent me the link. Let’s take a look at few snips, then a look at a followup Times article on addressing the problems.

In Yonkers, more than 100 retired police officers and firefighters are collecting pensions greater than their pay when they were working. One of the youngest, Hugo Tassone, retired at 44 with a base pay of about $74,000 a year. His pension is now $101,333 a year.

It’s what the system promised, said Mr. Tassone, now 47, adding that he did nothing wrong by adding lots of overtime to his base pay shortly before retiring. “I don’t understand how the working guy that held up their end of the bargain became the problem,” he said.

According to pension data collected by The New York Times from the city and state, about 3,700 retired public workers in New York are now getting pensions of more than $100,000 a year, exempt from state and local taxes. The data belie official reports that the average state pension is a modest $18,000, or $38,000 for retired police officers and firefighters. (The average is low, in part, because it includes people who worked in government only part time, or just a few years, as well as surviving spouses getting partial benefits.)

Some will receive the big pensions for decades. Thirteen New York City police officers recently retired at age 40 with pensions above $100,000 a year; nine did so in their 30s.

The Times article is 4 pages long so please give it a closer look.

Legal Theft

Undoubtedly Mr. Tassone is not as stupid as he sounds. He knows full well he gamed the system, but it was legal.

Tassone argues he held up his end of the bargain. Excuse me for asking what end is that? Public unions are legalized mobs. They coerce votes from corrupt politicians willing to buy there patronage.

There is no "public end" because there is no one working on the public’s behalf. Indeed the public in general has been crucified with never ending tax hikes to support union thugs who pack every school board in the country, and promise Armageddon if police or firefighters get laid off.

The public is


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There Are Now More Government Employees than Goods-Producing Workers in the US

There Are Now More Government Employees than Goods-Producing Workers in the US

Courtesy of Jesse’s Café Américain

For the first time there are decidedly more government employees than goods-producing (manufacturing) employees in the US according to the Department of Labor.

This chart is from The Mess That Greenspan Made here.

It is interesting to think about this in terms of health care, pension plans, job security, employee loyalty, and so forth.

The reason for this is not the growth of government jobs but rather the drastic shrinkage in US based manufacturing employment while government employment remains resilient. As a percent of the population, the number of government employees is now about 9% which is slightly lower than it was in the 1970′s.

The Service sector dominates. There is a nice chart showing goods-producing, government, service, and non-employed percentages from EconomPicData here.

US corporations have been offshoring jobs for many years, in part due to the structural problems of benefits and environmental costs in a developed nation and Asian mercantilism. Some of this transfer of employee is due to natural market forces, but a great deal of it is a result of purposeful national policy and trade practices such as currency pegs, for example.

As Adam Smith observed in Wealth of Nations (1776):

"To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising … customers may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers."

In this case if one substitutes "kleptocrats" for "shopkeepers" and "dollar debt slaves" for "customers" then the quotation may fit the current situation in the US and its reserve currency empire quite well. It also helps to explain the steady role of the government bureaucracy in administering this paper empire, as well as the outsized financial sector.

But one underestimates the resilience of a free people at their peril, as did Napoleon dismissing the English, echoing Smith, "L’Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers," prior, of course, to his Waterloo in June, 1815.


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Government Fraud: Pensions

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Government Fraud: Pensions

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker

I warned people about this over a year ago….. 

This morning I had seen a third "notice" that there are widespread "critical shortfalls" in Union Pension Funds.

I put up a short video on the topic and am now getting emails telling me that this is more widespread than has been reported – additional funds have been sending these deficiency notices out.

And in that article I called for general strikes organized by the unions of this nation – what’s left of them anyway.

In fact, here’s the original call:

Yes, I am potentially calling for the Longshoremen to strike every port in the United States.

I am potentially calling for the Teamsters to strike.

I am potentially calling for every State Employee covered by CALPERS to strike.

Of course none of them did.

Now we get this from The Wall Street Journal:

Public employee pension plans are plagued by overgenerous benefits, chronic underfunding, and now trillion dollar stock-market losses. Based on their preferred accounting methods — which discount future liabilities based on high but uncertain returns projected for investments — these plans are underfunded nationally by around $310 billion.

The numbers are worse using market valuation methods (the methods private-sector plans must use), which discount benefit liabilities at lower interest rates to reflect the chance that the expected returns won’t be realized. Using that method, University of Chicago economists Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua Rauh calculate that, even prior to the market collapse, public pensions were actually short by nearly $2 trillion.

Oh, so there’s a little book-cooking going on?

Yeah, you’ve got these "public" pension plans that don’t like the rules that private pension plans have to use for their accounting, and this is what they’re telling their "auditors":

Some public pension administrators have a strategy, though: Keep taxpayers unsuspecting. The Montana Public Employees’ Retirement Board and the Montana Teachers’ Retirement System declare in a recent solicitation for actuarial services that "If the Primary Actuary or the Actuarial Firm supports [market valuation] for


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Phil's Favorites

Commemorating the 'Great War,' America's forgotten conflict

 

Commemorating the 'Great War,' America's forgotten conflict

Doughboys fighting in France, 1917. Associated Press

Courtesy of G. Kurt Piehler, Florida State University

World War I was still a living memory for most Americans when I was growing up in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Aging doughboys who had fought on the Western Front in 1917 and 1918 still marched on Vetera...



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Zero Hedge

As Of October 2018, The US Is Now Energy Independent

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

While the main event this weekend was the latest OPEC+ meeting which saw member states of the oil cartel and their allies scramble to promise that oil production will be cut if oil prices continue to drop due to excess supply now that Iran's oil exports may rebound thanks to waivers granted to its main trading partners by the Trump administration, a just as important event to take place was the news of record oil production levels in North America.

Helped by higher prices, total oil production has hit a record level in the US, reaching a combined 15.9 million b/d (crude oil and NGLs) in the past month and al...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is a 1,000% rally in 5-years enough?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

This chart looks at the yield of the 2-year note and its 5.5-year performance since 1999. The 2-year yield looks to have double bottomed in 2013 and since then it has been swiftly moving higher inside of rising channel (1). The 2-year yield is currently up over 1,100% since the lows in 2013. This rally has yields testing the top of rising channel (1) and 18-year falling resistance at (2) at the same time.

Is the 2-year yield the only interest rate testing a long-term inflection point?

The 4-pack below looks at patterns of  2, 5, 10 and 30-year yields-

...



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Insider Scoop

Things Are Going From Bad To Worse For GE

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related GE Putting GE's Horrible 3-Week Run Into Perspective Bulls & Bears Of The Week: Apple, Disney, Ford, Target And More ...

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Chart School

Weekly Market Recap Nov 11, 2018

Courtesy of Blain.

This past week was saw another positive move up by bulls – especially in the Dow and S&P 500; the NASDAQ was not quite as enthusiastic.   Wednesday’s rally was on the legs of an election that was seen as market friendly or at least not as bad as it could have been.   Essentially – paying people a lot of money to get nothing done the next 2 years – woo hoo!

The market is interpreting Wedneday’s result as insuring that “no big things will get done,” in Washington between now and 2020, Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital told MarketWatch. “The market appreciates the relative certainty of the slow legislative agenda.” he said.

“As President Trump plans his 2020 reelection campaign, a gridlocked Congress is unlik...



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Members' Corner

Factory of lies: Russia's disinformation playbook exposed

 

Factory of lies: Russia's disinformation playbook exposed

By Ben Popken, NBC News

Americans who want to be ready for the next Russian attack can just read an old newspaper.

During the Cold War, hundreds of bogus headlines around the world appeared: The U.S. invented AIDS. Wealthy Americans were adopting children to harvest their organs. If these sound like the kind of conspiracies pushed by Russian trolls during the 2016 election, there’s a good reason: They were once promulgated by Russian or Soviet agents....



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Digital Currencies

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern - but it may be a price worth paying

 

Bitcoin's high energy consumption is a concern – but it may be a price worth paying

Shutterstock

Courtesy of Steven Huckle, University of Sussex

Bitcoin recently turned ten years old. In that time, it has proved revolutionary because it ignores the need for modern money’s institutions to verify payments. Instead, Bitcoin relies on cryptographic techniques to prove identity and authenticity.

However, the price to pay for all of this innovation is a high carbon footprint, created by Bitc...



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ValueWalk

Vilas Fund Up 55% In Q3; 3Q18 Letter: A Bull Market In Bearish Forecasts

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The Vilas Fund, LP letter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018; titled, “A Bull Market in Bearish Forecasts.”

Ever since the financial crisis, there has been a huge fascination with predictions of the next “big crash” right around the next corner. Whether it is Greece, Italy, Chinese debt, the “overvalued” stock market, the Shiller Ratio, Puerto Rico, underfunded pensions in Illinois and New Jersey, the Fed (both for QE a few years ago and now for removing QE), rising interest rates, Federal budget deficits, peaking profit margins, etc...



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Biotech

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Gene-editing technique CRISPR identifies dangerous breast cancer mutations

Breast cancer type 1 (BRCA1) is a human tumor suppressor gene, found in all humans. Its protein, also called by the synonym BRCA1, is responsible for repairing DNA. ibreakstock/Shutterstock.com

By Jay Shendure, University of Washington; Greg Findlay, ...



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Mapping The Market

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

Via Jean-Luc:

Famed investor reflecting on his mistakes:

Mistakes were Made. (And, Yes, by Me.)

One that stands out for me:

Instead of focusing on how value factors in general did in identifying attractive stocks, I rushed to proclaim price-to-sales the winner. That was, until it wasn’t. I guess there’s a reason for the proclamation “The king is dead, long live the king” when a monarchy changes hands. As we continued to update the book, price-to-sales was no longer the “best” single value factor, replaced by others, depending upon the time frames examined. I had also become a lot more sophisticated in my analysis—thanks to criticism of my earlier work—and realized that everything, including factors, moves in and out of favor, depending upon the market environment. I also realized...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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