Posts Tagged ‘public pensions’

Schwarzenegger on Public Pensions and the Cost of the “Protected Class”

Schwarzenegger on Public Pensions and the Cost of the "Protected Class"

Courtesy of Mish

44014, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Thursday August 26, 2010. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 38th Governor of California, is spotted walking back to his convertible after having breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien in Brentwood. Arnold, who could be seen snacking on a treat, wore a white button up, blue trousers, a silver wallet chain and a large wrist watch. Photograph: Pedro Andrade/Kevin Perkins,  PacificCoastNews.com   + 1

Now that Schwarzenegger is a certifiable lame duck (dead duck may be a more appropriate term) Schwarzenegger sees fit to take on public unions in a major way. It’s too late now (for him) even as he speaks the truth.

Please consider Public Pensions and Our Fiscal Future by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Recently some critics have accused me of bullying state employees. Headlines in California papers this month have been screaming "Gov assails state workers" and "Schwarzenegger threatens state workers."

I’m doing no such thing. State employees are hard-working and valuable contributors to our society. But here’s the plain truth: California simply cannot solve its budgetary problems without addressing government-employee compensation and benefits.

Thanks to huge unfunded pension and retirement health-care promises granted by past governments, and also to deceptive pension-fund accounting that understated liabilities and overstated future investment returns, California is now saddled with $550 billion of retirement debt.

The cost of servicing that debt has grown at a rate of more than 15% annually over the last decade. This year, retirement benefits—more than $6 billion—will exceed what the state is spending on higher education. Next year, retirement costs will rise another 15%. In fact, they are destined to grow so much faster than state revenues that they threaten to suck up the money for every other program in the state budget.

At the same time that government-employee costs have been climbing, the private-sector workers whose taxes pay for them have been hurting. Since 2007, one million private jobs have been lost in California. Median incomes of workers in the state’s private sector have stagnated for more than a decade. To make matters worse, the retirement accounts of those workers in California have declined. The average 401(k) is down nationally nearly 20% since 2007. Meanwhile, the defined benefit retirement plans of government employees—for which private-sector workers are on the hook—have risen in value.

Few Californians in the private sector have $1 million in savings, but that’s effectively the retirement account they guarantee to public employees who opt to retire at age 55 and are entitled to a monthly, inflation-protected check of $3,000 for the rest of their lives.

In 2003, just before I became governor, the state assembly even passed a law permitting government employees to purchase additional taxpayer-guaranteed, high-yielding


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Huge Battle Looms Over Public Pensions – Who Will (Who Should) Foot the Bill?

Huge Battle Looms Over Public Pensions – Who Will (Who Should) Foot the Bill?

Courtesy of Mish

Public pension plans are $1 to $3 trillion underfunded. I think the number is closer to $3 trillion and destined to get worse. However, even $1 trillion is a massive problem.

With so much at stake, a Battle Looms Over Huge Costs of Public Pensions

There’s a class war coming to the world of government pensions. The haves are retirees who were once state or municipal workers. Their seemingly guaranteed and ever-escalating monthly pension benefits are breaking budgets nationwide.

The have-nots are taxpayers who don’t have generous pensions. Their 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts have taken a real beating in recent years and are not guaranteed. And soon, many of those people will be paying higher taxes or getting fewer state services as their states put more money aside to cover those pension checks.

At stake is at least $1 trillion. That’s trillion, with a “t,” as in titanic and terrifying.

Given how wrong past pension projections were, who should pay to fill the 13-figure financing gap?

Consider what’s going on in Colorado — and what is likely to unfold in other states and municipalities around the country. Earlier this year, in an act of rare political courage, a bipartisan coalition of state legislators passed a pension overhaul bill. Among other things, the bill reduced the raise that people who are already retired get in their pension checks each year.

This sort of thing just isn’t done. States have asked current workers to contribute more, tweaked the formula for future hires or banned them from the pension plan altogether. But this was apparently the first time that state legislators had forced current retirees to share the pain.

The state’s case turns, in part, on whether it is an “actuarial necessity” for the Legislature to make a change. To Meredith Williams, executive director of the Public Employees’ Retirement Association, the state’s pension fund, the answer is pretty simple. “If something didn’t change, we would have run out of money in the foreseeable future,” he said. “So no one would have been paid anything.”

Meanwhile, Gary R. Justus, a former teacher who is one of the lead plaintiffs in the case against the state, asks taxpayers in Colorado and elsewhere to consider an ethical question: Why is the state so quick


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Put on Your Party Hats – It’s Time to Party for Another Decade!

Mish is a picture of optimism compared to Robert Prechter (of Elliott Wave Fame).  Robert Prechter is wrong, instead of dropping to 1,000, the Dow may only drop to 5,000, and even that may be too pessimistic in Mish’s eyes. - Ilene 

Put on Your Party Hats – It’s Time to Party for Another Decade!

Courtesy of Mish 

I don’t know about you but I am psyched. The prospects of an ongoing party for another decade are extremely good as the following chart shows.

Dow Jones Industrial Average – 1999 to Present 

click on chart for sharper image

Market participants put on their party hats and started cheering in 1999 when the DOW crossed 10,000 for the first time. They have been cheering pretty much nonstop ever since.

Admittedly there was a bit of a party lag between early 2005 and late 2008 but the party hats have been working overtime since mid-2008 as shown below.

Dow Jones Industrial Average – October 2010 to Present 

click on chart for sharper image

Lost Decades Comparison

Please bear in mind that some pessimists liken the above behavior to a period of stunning underperformance of the Japanese Nikkei Index over the last two decades.

Japan’s Two Lost Decades

click on chart for sharper image

The Perpetually Optimistic Mish

Being the ever-optimist that I am, I want to quickly point out that while Japan essentially went straight down over two decades, the US by comparison has put in stunning outperformance by going nowhere.

Top hat and champagne glass held aloft for New Year's

Indeed, the Dow Jones Index is remarkably sitting exactly where it was in April of 1999, over 10 years ago while the Nikkei over the same timeframe fell by about 50%.

Optimists such as myself have only one thing to say: Hallelujah!

Meanwhile doom and gloomers like Robert Prechter think the Dow will fall to 1,000.

To that I say "Poppycock" (pretty harsh language indeed for those who know me well).

By my optimistic comparison, I think the Dow’s downside is 5,000. That is a stunning 400% more optimistic appraisal of the current state of affairs than Prechter.

Furthermore, I freely admit that the DOW, instead of dropping, just may meander around 10,000 for another decade.

Wow. Except for public pension plan assumptions, imagine the parties we can have over that!

Mike "Mish" Shedlock


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Zero Hedge

Experts Fear 'Suicide Wave' As The Social Fabric Of America Becomes "Unstitched"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Millions of Americans have just lost their jobs in the last several weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak shutting down large swaths of the US economy. Households are coming under severe financial stress, with no savings, insurmountable debts, and job loss. Many are waiting for President Trump’s stimulus check to arrive in the mail, some have skipped out on their rent or ...



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ValueWalk

Pandemic-related deterioration may cause a drop in PMI

By Gorilla Trades. Originally published at ValueWalk.

In an intra Day note to investors, Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman, while commenting on the pandemic-related deterioration, said:

The major indices are all trading lower at midday following another choppy and bearish morning session on Wall Street. The continued exponential growth in the number of U.S. COVID-19 cases and the weak economic data have been weighing on investor sentiment, but stocks are holding up relatively well following yesterday’s bounce. The government jobs report was at the center of attention this morning following yesterday’s record number of new jobl...



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Phil's Favorites

Unmasking the Truth on Masks to Protect Against Coronavirus: Fire the Surgeon General

Courtesy of Pam Martens

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: April 3, 2020 ~

On March 23 we wrote this:For want of a mask the largest economy in the world has been gutted, with Goldman Sachs now projecting that U.S. GDP could contract by as much as 24 percent in the second quarter.” Now, in the past two weeks, 10 million Americans have filed claims for unemployment. Let that sink in, 10 million of our fellow citizens have l...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Depression Coming or Is the Bottom Already In? Joe Friday Says Your Answer Lies Here!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Are we headed towards a Depression or is the worst already behind us? In today’s world, comparisons to the great depression are easy to find.

Are the Depression concerns well founded or are the declines of late already pricing in a bottom?

In my humble opinion, this chart and the upcoming price action of this index will go miles and miles towards telling us if we are headed towards very tough times or if the huge declines of late are actually in a bottoming process.

This chart looks at the Thomson Reuters Equal Weighted Commodity Index on a monthly basis over the past 54 years. The index has been heading south, reflecting weakness in demand for basi...



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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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Biotech/COVID-19

Antibodies in the blood of COVID-19 survivors know how to beat coronavirus - and researchers are already testing new treatments that harness them

 

Antibodies in the blood of COVID-19 survivors know how to beat coronavirus – and researchers are already testing new treatments that harness them

A person who has recovered from COVID-19 donates plasma in Shandong, China. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Ann Sheehy, College of the Holy Cross

Amid the chaos of an epidemic, those who survive a disease like COVID-19 carry within their bodies the secrets of an effective immune response. Virologists like me...



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The Technical Traders

Founder of TradersWorld Magazine Issued Special Report for Free

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Larry Jacobs owner and editor of TradersWorld magazine published a free special report with his top article and market forecast to his readers yesterday.

What is really exciting is that this forecast for all assets has played out exactly as expected from the stock market crash within his time window to the gold rally, and sharp sell-off. These forecasts have just gotten started the recent moves were only the first part of his price forecasts.

There is only one article in this special supplement, click on the image or link below to download and read it today!

...

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Chart School

Big moving Averages and macro investment decisions

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

When price is falling every one wonders where demand will come in.


RTT black screen Tv videos study the simplest measure of price (simple moving average). What has happen before guides us now. 














Changes in the world is the source of all market moves, to catch and ride the change we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Members' Corner

10 ways to spot online misinformation

 

10 ways to spot online misinformation

When you share information online, do it responsibly. Sitthiphong/Getty Images

Courtesy of H. Colleen Sinclair, Mississippi State University

Propagandists are already working to sow disinformation and social discord in the run-up to the November elections.

Many of their efforts have focused on social media, where people’s limited attention spans push them to ...



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Digital Currencies

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

 

While coronavirus rages, bitcoin has made a leap towards the mainstream

Get used to it. Anastasiia Bakai

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

Anyone holding bitcoin would have watched the market with alarm in recent weeks. The virtual currency, whose price other cryptocurrencies like ethereum and litecoin largely follow, plummeted from more than US$10,000 (£8,206) in mid-February to briefly below US$4,000 on March 13. Despite recovering to the mid-US$6,000s at the time of writin...



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Promotions

Free, Live Webinar on Stocks, Options and Trading Strategies

TODAY's LIVE webinar on stocks, options and trading strategy is open to all!

Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

This week, we also have a special presentation from Mike Anton of TradeExchange.com. It's a new service that we're excited to be a part of! 

Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.