Posts Tagged ‘Public Pension Funds’

Florida – Much Worse Problems Than the Oil Spill

Florida – Much Worse Problems Than the Oil Spill

tch2_1201 - Tricolored heron at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Florida.

By Doug Hornig, Senior Editor, Casey Research

Media coverage of the oil spill’s effect on the Gulf focusing on tourist income lost by the waterfront towns – with footage of empty beaches, restaurants and T-shirt shops – dominates the news. Interviews with devastated business owners are heart rending. But they always end with references to somehow hanging on until “things get back to normal.”

Trouble is, things are not going to “normalize.” Not for the Panhandle of Florida, and probably not for the rest of the state, either.

Projections suggest that Florida can expect oil all along its west coast, and possibly throughout the Keys and up the east coast as well. Yet even before BP’s well began spewing crude, pressures within the state’s economy were building. It was an explosive situation awaiting a match.

Oily beaches and dying wildlife are likely that match.

Take unemployment. Statewide, it ballooned from 3% in 2006 to a peak of 12.3% in February 2010. Though it’s backed off, it remains in double-digit territory at 11.2%. ”Officially” – though official numbers understate the problem. Illegal immigrants, some 4.5% of Florida’s population, aren’t counted; the long-term unemployed and aging workers are regularly purged, even if they’re still looking for work.

This in a state already confronted with the worst of the coming healthcare/taxation crunch. It has the second oldest population in the nation, and as its citizens retire, their earnings fall off, causing tax revenues to drop. At the same time, healthcare bills rise, stressing social service budgets.

Florida is ground zero for Baby Boomer demographics. With 600 seniors for every 1,000 workers now, and the number trending inexorably higher, soon every employed person in the state will essentially have to adopt one senior to care for out of his or her paycheck.

Housing? Naturally, rising unemployment amplifies the difficulties of maintaining homeownership. With further negative effects from the oil, we can only expect the situation to worsen. A tsunami of defaults and foreclosures – and bank failures – would not be a surprise.

Florida is mortgaged to the hilt. It ranks second only to California in total securitized non-agency mortgage loans, 10% of the national total. Of those, half are 60 days or more…
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Inside the Dire Financial State of the States

Inside the Dire Financial State of the States

By David von Drehle, courtesy of TIME 

Ellen Weinstein for TIME 

In New Jersey, taxes are high, the budget’s a mess, government is inefficiently organized, and the public pension fund is blown to kingdom come. Which makes New Jersey a lot like most other states in 2010. What makes the state unusual is its rookie governor, a human bulldozer named Chris Christie, who vowed to lead like a one-termer and is keeping his promise with brio. He has proposed chopping $11 billion from the state’s budget — more than a quarter of the total — for fiscal year 2011 (which starts July 1). He’s backing a constitutional cap on property taxes in hopes of pushing the state’s myriad villages and townships to merge into more efficient units. He’s locked in an ultimate cage match with the New Jersey teachers’ union. It may be the bitterest political fight in the country — and that’s saying something this year. A union official recently circulated a humorous prayer with a punch line asking God to kill Christie. You know, New Jersey humor. And in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Christie didn’t talk about the possibility that his fiscal initiatives might be compromised or defeated; he pictured himself "lying dead on State Street in Trenton," the state capital. Presumably that was a figure of speech.

The tone of the New Jersey budget battle may be distinctive, but many of the same notes can be heard in state capitals across the country. From Hartford to Honolulu, once sturdy state governments are approaching the brink of fiscal calamity, as the crash of 2008 and its persistent aftermath have led to the reckoning of 2010. Squeezed by the end of federal stimulus money on one hand and desperate local governments on the other, states are facing the third straight year of staggering budget deficits, and the necessary cuts will cost jobs, limit services and touch the lives of millions of Americans. Government workers have been laid off in half the states plus Puerto Rico. Twenty-two states have instituted unpaid furloughs. At least 28 states have ordered across-the-board budget cuts,…
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How The Public Pension Funds Avoid The Truth

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How The Public Pension Funds Avoid The Truth

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark of BUT THEN WHAT

There’s been much discussion, in fact so much as to cause overload, about the pension time bomb among monkeys, governmentstate and local governments that I hate to add to it. Nevertheless, I would like to direct you to a short and easy to read editorial in the WSJ today.

The point of the article is that the states continue to cook the books when it comes to pension accounting and a fair representation of the liability to which their taxpayers are subject. It illustrates just how far some states are going to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes:

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. That’s nearly $87,000 per plan participant. With employee benefits guaranteed by law and sometimes even by state constitutions, it’s likely these gargantuan shortfalls will have to be borne by unsuspecting taxpayers.

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 public pension plans, their proposal may be disqualified from further consideration.”

Scott Miller, legal counsel of the Montana Public Employees Board, was more straightforward: “The point is we aren’t interested in bringing in an actuary to pressure the board to adopt market value of liabilities theory.”

At least they aren’t shy about what they’re up to. I guess the rationalization is that so long as no one knows about a problem there


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Zero Hedge

"Mega Find" - 5,000 Classic Motorcycles Stashed In Barns 

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

The Federal Reserve's quantitative easing and Treasury's fiscal stimulus have resulted in the greatest monetary experiment of all time. The result of trillions of dollars pumped into the economy has lifted prices of all assets, everything from the stock market to homes to baseball cards to crypto to classic cars and motorcycles. 

Last week, readers were one of the first to know about a rare 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder found in an ol...



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Phil's Favorites

Pandemic recovery will take more than soaring growth - to fuel a more equitable economy, countries need to measure the well-being of people, too

 

Pandemic recovery will take more than soaring growth – to fuel a more equitable economy, countries need to measure the well-being of people, too

Researchers have long been searching for a more comprehensive way to assess national progress than GDP. erhui1979 via Getty Images

Courtesy of Bas van Bavel, Utrecht University and Auke Rijpma, Utrecht University

...

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Digital Currencies

"You'd Have To Shut Down The Internet" To Ban Bitcoin, Says SEC's Hester Peirce

Courtesy of ZeroHedge

Any government efforts to ban Bitcoin would be “foolish,” said Hester Peirce (aka “Crypto Mom”), a very Bitcoin-friendly commissioner at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), during a MarketWatch virtual conference earlier this week, according to Cryptoslate reporter Liam Frost.

"I think we were past that point very early on because you’d have to shut down the Internet,” Peirce said, adding, “I don’t see how you could ban it. Y...



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Chart School

Gold Gann Angle Update

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

The Biden Yellen team have made their play, and it is not US dollar friendly.

Janet Yellen speech named "International Priorities — Remarks to The Chicago Council on Global Affairs" (here) can be summed to (via Luke Gromen) :


The US is accelerating a move away from "subjugating the US middle and working class to support the USD", to "subjugating the USD to support the US middle and working classes".



Well the above is true, but as we all know large US deficits and the trend of the US dollar are joined at the hip, and that trend is down '...

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ValueWalk

2021 Sohn Investment Conference Featuring Einhorn, O'Shaughnessy And More

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The 2021 Sohn Investment Conference will be held virtually on May 12, 2021 and Valuewalk will be covering the event. Stay tuned for our in-depth coverage!

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Check out our coverage of the 2020 Sohn Hong Kong Conferences here.

All proceeds from The 2021 Sohn Investment Conference will be directed to Rockefeller University, which will provide unrestricted funding for scientists working on some of the highest-risk, highest-reward projects primed to advance the treatment of pediatric...



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Biotech/COVID-19

How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns

 

How worried should you be about coronavirus variants? A virologist explains his concerns

A COVID-19 patient in an ICU unit in a hospital in Capetown, South Africa, in December 2020. A variant emerged in South Africa that has since spread to other parts of the world. Other new variants could emerge elsewhere. Rodger Bosch/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Paulo Verardi, University of Connecticut

Spring has sprung, and there is a sense of relief in the air. After one year of lockdowns and social distancing, mor...



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Politics

For autocrats like Vladimir Putin, ruthless repression is often a winning way to stay in power

 

For autocrats like Vladimir Putin, ruthless repression is often a winning way to stay in power

Russian police officers beat people protesting the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Jan. 23, 2021 in Moscow. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Courtesy of Shelley Inglis, University of Dayton

Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, sick with a cough and ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Gold; Load Up The Truck Upon Hitting This Level

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Gold has created lower highs since peaking last summer. Is Gold near a low? Where would a nice entry point come into play?

This chart looks at Gold ETF (GLD) on a weekly basis over the past few years. GLD hit the top of this rising channel at (1) last summer, as it was above moving averages and relative strength was hitting lofty levels.

The decline over the past 7-months has GLD creating a death cross. Warren Buffett sold his Gold holding before this death cross took place!

Where would one want to pick up some GLD at a nice risk/reward price point?

If GLD reaches rising channel support at (2), w...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar - March 10, 2021

Don't miss our latest weekly webinar! 

Join us at PSW for LIVE Webinars every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 PM EST.

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar – March 10, 2021

 

Major Topics:

00:00:01 - EIA Petroleum Status Report
00:04:42 - Crude Oil WTI
00:12:52 - COVID-19 Update
00:22:08 - Bonds and Borrowed Funds | S&P 500
00:45:28 - COVID-19 Vaccination
00:48:32 - Trading Techniques
00:50:34 - PBR
00:50:43 - LYG
00:50:48 - More Trading Techniques
00:52:59 - Chinese Hacks Microsoft's E...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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