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

As VIX Tops 14, Stock Investors Exclaim "Where Are The Dip Buyers?"

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Something's different today...

Instead of the ubiquitous panic-bid open (after overnight weakness)...

...that is not happening today...

And VIX is running notably back above 14.00...

As a reminder, should the Dow closed r...



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Phil's Favorites

Breaking up families? America looks like a Dickens novel

 

Breaking up families? America looks like a Dickens novel

Almost 1,500 immigrant boys, aged 10 to 17, were separated from their parents and brought to stay at Casa Padre in Brownsville, Texas. Department of Health and Human Services

Courtesy of Sarah Bilston, Trinity College

The news has been full these past few weeks of disturbing stories from the nation’s borders. The T...



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Insider Scoop

Benzinga Pro's 5 Stocks To Watch Today

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Each day, the Benzinga Pro news team highlights several stocks with Trading Idea potential. Be the first to see them by becoming a Benzinga Pro user!

Casi Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: CASI) stock was trading higher by more than 40 percent early Thursday morning. The biopharmaceutical said it secured a strategic and long-term manufacturing agreement with China's Yiling Wanzhou for manufacturing of entecavir and cilostazo, ...



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Chart School

Small Caps Add To Gains

Courtesy of Declan.

Good news for momentum traders as the Russell 2000 continued its good run. The Russell 200 will start to get hot when it gets into the 15% profit take zone at 1,732 - a zone last seen tested in December 2016; if we are looking at February 2011 levels (the 5% historic zone) then the Russell 2000 would be tagging 1,813. Start taking profits, or sell covered calls, when we get into these levels.


The S&P reversed off resistance in early June and hasn't yet mounted a challenge to break it - today's gain off its 20-day M...

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Digital Currencies

BIS Blasts Cryptos In Special Report: "Beyond The Hype"

Courtesy of Mike Shedlock, MishTalk

The BIS blasts cryptos over scaling issues, energy, and trust. The BIS is correct. Cryptos are fatally flawed as money.

A Bank of International Settlements (BIS) report examines cryptocurrencies in depth. The study, called "Looking Beyond the Hype" investigates whether cryptocurrencies could play any role as money.

Bloomberg, Reuters, and the Bitcoin Exchange guide all have articles on the report but not one of the bothered to link to it.

After a bit of digging, I found the crypto report is part of an upcoming BIS annual report. The BIS pre-released the crypto report today (as chapter 5).

Here's a l...



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Biotech

Mind molding psychedelic drugs could treat depression, and other mental illnesses

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

 

Mind molding psychedelic drugs could treat depression, and other mental illnesses

By agsandrew/shutterstock.com

Courtesy of David E. Olson, University of California, Davis

It seems that psychedelics do more than simply alter perception. According to the latest research from my colleagues and me, they change the structures of neurons th...



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ValueWalk

Buffett At His Best

By csinvesting. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Bear with me as I share a bit of my history that helped me create SkyVu and the Battle Bears games. The University of Nebraska gave me my first job after college. I mostly pushed TV carts around, edited videos for professors or the occasional speaker event. One day, Warren Buffet came to campus to speak to the College of Business. I didn’t think much of this speech at the time but I saved it for some reason. 15 years later, as a founder of my own company, I watch and listen to this particular speech every year to remind myself of the fundamentals and values Mr. Buffett looks for. He’s addressing business students at his alma mater, so I think his style here is a bit more ‘close to home’ than in his other speeches. Hopefully many of you find great value in this video like I have. Sorry for the VHS...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

 

The Stock Bull Market Stops Here!

Courtesy of Kimble Charting

 

The definition of a bull market or bull trends widely vary. One of the more common criteria for bull markets is determined by the asset being above or below its 200 day moving average.

In my humble opinion, each index above remains in a bull trend, as triple support (200-day moving averages, 2-year rising support lines, and February lows) are still in play ...



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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)

 

"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...



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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...



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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

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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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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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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