Monday, December 30, 2013

Public Pensions, Dinosaurs

Bloomberg's story on the growing problem of retirement -- particularly funding government workers public pensions -- around the world is worth reading at

However, the problem (at least the US) is first addressed by ending all taxpayer funded public pensions -- all government workers (like almost everybody else today) should be expected to fund their own retirement accounts/401k accounts (actually pensions are a dinosaur). It's way past time to take government workers off the welfare public trough. Pay them an honest and fair wage and treat them like everyone else--today they are treated better than everyone else--taxpayer funded pensions, higher salaries and wages and benefits than workers in the private sector, etc.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Detroit Public Pensions, Bankruptcy, Haircuts for All

Detroit Ruling on Bankruptcy Lifts Pension Protections - "The judge, Steven W. Rhodes, dealt a major blow to the widely held belief that state laws preserve public pensions, and his ruling is likely to resonate in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and many other American cities where the rising cost of pensions has been crowding out spending for public schools, police departments and other services. The judge made it clear that public employee pensions were not protected in a federal Chapter 9 bankruptcy, even though the Michigan Constitution expressly protects them. “Pension benefits are a contractual right and are not entitled to any heightened protection in a municipal bankruptcy,” he said."


Monday, December 16, 2013

Cities are broke, Taxpayers are broke, Public union workers do not care

Reality: Cities are broke; Taxpayers are broke; Public union workers don't care to understand the above two points (source infra)

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Two Choices to Deal With "Collective Theft": "I am sick of watching taxes go up year in and year out so that overpaid, underworked, public union workers can get taxpayer sponsored pensions and pay well beyond what private industry gets. That sounds harsh. And it is. But it's also reality....(read more at the link above)

Public Unions Bankrupt Illinois: Unpaid Bills Top $9 Billion as Comptroller Reports "State Treading Water"; Mish's Eight-Point "Bold" Plan to Save Illinois

Mish's Eight-Point "Bold" Plan to Save Illinois


Monday, December 9, 2013

Store Video catches Police Abuse in Miami Gardens

Cops who act like this give all police officers a bad name. What can one say about this sad, pathetic situation? --

In Miami Gardens, store video catches cops in the act - Miami Gardens / Opa-locka -
" . . . The videos show, among other things, cops stopping citizens, questioning them, aggressively searching them and arresting them for trespassing when they have permission to be on the premises; officers conducting searches of Saleh’s business without search warrants or permission; using what appears to be excessive force on subjects who are clearly not resisting arrest and filing inaccurate police reports in connection with the arrests. “There is just no justifying this kind of behavior,’’ said Chuck Drago, a former police officer and consultant on police policy and the use of force. “Nobody can justify overstepping the constitution to fight crime.” Repeated phone messages and emails to Miami Gardens Police Chief Matthew Boyd and City Manager Cameron Benson asking for comment on this story were not returned. Boyd did release a statement, saying that the department is committed to serving and protecting the citizens and businesses in the city. But Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union Florida, said that’s exactly what Boyd is NOT doing. “Where is the police chief in all this? In a police department in a city this size, this kind of behavior could not escape his attention. Doesn’t the City Commission know that they are exposing the city to either massive liability for civil rights violations? Either that, or they are going to wake up one day and find the U.S. Department of Justice has taken over its police department.’’. . . ." (read more at link above)

Maybe all cops need to have live microphones, cameras, and tracking GPS on them at all times. Maybe Obama's DOJ needs to start prosecuting these cops as the criminals they are, and throw them into the federal pen where they belong.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Apple Objects to Federal Court "Shakedown Racket"

You know there are hogs and there are Hogs -- and when you get to the US Federal Court level -- OMG!, here's a Federal Court (politico) Judge and appointee "compliance monitor" who have really gone overboard:

"As part of its punishment for the e-book antitrust trial it lost this summer, Apple is supposed to be footing the bill for a court-appointed “compliance monitor." While it appeals the court’s ruling in the trial, Apple is now contesting the way that its doing too much, by doing things like demanding interviews with Apple CEO Tim Cook, board member Al Gore, and Jony Ive (“whose sole and exclusive responsibility at Apple is to perfect elegant product designs,” according to an Apple attorney). [The compliance monitor] is charging too much — more than $1,100 an hour. Apple says this is “higher than Apple has ever encountered for any task.” Bromwich’s bill for his five-person team’s first two weeks of work: $138,432.40." Read more at Apple Complains About Court's E-Book Antitrust Monitor, Fees - Peter Kafka - News - AllThingsD.

The whole thing looks and smells like a shakedown racket (even if legal) -- all under the ruling and supervision of the same Federal (via a politico lifetime appointment) Judge.

Steve Jobs must be rolling over in his grave!

OK, I'll say it--Hogs at the Trough!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Retirement With Full Benefits at Age 58

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Retirement for Chicago Park District Employees, With Full Benefits: Age 58; Reflections on Chicago's Second Triple-Notch Bond Downgrade in Six Months: "Want to retire at age 58? With Full benefits? When Private sector workers do not qualify for full Social Security benefits until age 67? Who doesn't? Hey, no problem. Just work for the Chicago park district (or countless city police and fire departments). . . ." (read more at link above)


Monday, November 25, 2013

Uncle Sam, Partner in Crime, Hogs at the Trough

Meet Uncle Sam, Your Partner in Crime | The Big Picture: "The lessons of the post-crisis era are clear: • Laws are made to be broken • Steal Big or don’t bother. • Always reserve 10% of your criminal proceeds for your newest partner, Uncle Sam, to settle all claims, both civil and criminal." (read more at link above)


Friday, November 22, 2013

Promises, Public Union Pensions, Bankruptcy

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Promises, Promises; Public Union Pensions NOT Sacrosanct; Mish Template for Fair Public Union Pension Settlement: "If unions don’t negotiate pensions, bankruptcy will result, and unions will then have only themselves to blame. Hopefully, a few across-the-board pension cuts exceeding 50% or more, especially in Detroit, will get unions to see the light." (read more at link above)


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Prisons, Incarceration, Life without Parole for Non-violent Crimes

Welcome to Police State USA! -- American Insanity --

Sentenced to a Slow Death - " . . . Over the past four decades, those laws have helped push the American prison population to more than two million people, and to the highest incarceration rate in the world. As in the rest of the penal system, the racial disparity is vast: in the federal courts, blacks are 20 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to life without parole for nonviolent crimes. The report estimates that the cost of imprisoning just these 3,278 people for life instead of a more proportionate length of time is $1.78 billion. It is difficult to find anyone who defends such sentencing. Even Burl Cain, the longtime warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, which holds the most nonviolent lifers in the country, calls these sentences “ridiculous.” “Everybody forgets what corrections means. It means to correct deviant behavior,” Mr. Cain told the A.C.L.U. “If this person can go back and be a productive citizen and not commit crimes again,” he asked, why spend the money to keep him in prison? “I need to keep predators in these big old prisons, not dying old men.” Several states are reforming sentencing laws to curb the mass incarceration binge. . . ." (read more at link above)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chicago, Pension Liabilities, $19 Billion Dollar Crisis

Chicago’s finances among the worst after 2008 recession: study - Chicago Sun-Times: "“They have not come up with an actionable solution to the [$19 billion] pension crisis and the growing debt level. Refinancing and using scoop and toss to push principal out 25 or more years is not the answer to the city’s financial challenges. It pushes the burden in an expensive and untenable way onto the next generation for services they’re not going to benefit from,” he said. In mid-July, Moody’s Investors ordered the triple-downgrade, citing Chicago’s “very large and growing” pension liabilities, “significant” debt service payments, “unrelenting public safety demands” and historic reluctance to raise local taxes that has continued under Emanuel." (read more at link above)


Friday, November 15, 2013

IRS Refunded $4 Billion to Identity Thieves

4 Billion Dollars US! Unbelievable!

Report: IRS Refunded $4B to Identity Thieves: "The Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds last year to people using stolen identities, with some of the money going to addresses in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland, according to an inspector general's report released Thursday. The IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to a lone address in Shanghai. In the U.S., more fraudulent returns went to Miami than any other city. Other top destinations were Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta and Houston." (read more at link above)


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Predatory Police, New Normal in the USA

Dale Carson is a defense attorney in Jacksonville, Florida, as well as an alumnus of the Miami-Dade Police Department and the FBI. So he knows a thing or two about how cops determine who to hassle, and what all of us can do to not be one of those people. Carson has distilled his tips into a book titled Arrest-Proof Yourself, now in its second edition. It is a legitimately scary book—369 pages of insight on the many ways police officers profile and harass the people on their beat in an effort to rack up as many arrests as possible." (source infra) 

An Ex-Cop's Guide to Not Getting Arrested - Mike Riggs - The Atlantic Cities: ". . . "Law enforcement officers now are part of the revenue gathering system," Carson tells me in a phone interview. "The ranks of cops are young and competitive, they’re in competition with one another and intra-departmentally. It becomes a game. Policing isn’t about keeping streets safe, it’s about statistical success. The question for them is, Who can put the most people in jail?" Which would make the question for you and me, how can we stay out of jail? Carson's book does a pretty good job of explaining—in frank language—how to beat a system that's increasingly predatory. . . ." (read more at link above)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Isn't it past time for government workers to pay their way?

Government workers welfare,  public pensions --

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Illinois Teachers Pension Fund is 40% Funded, Drops Deeper Into Hole Despite Investment Return of 12.8%; What's the Solution?: "A common refrain sounded by public sector unions is that government workers have consistently “paid their share” into Illinois’ pension systems and the state has not. However, the facts tell a different story. While government worker contributions to Illinois’ five pension systems have increased by 75 percent since 1998, taxpayer contributions have increased by 427 percent over the same period. In 2012 alone, Illinois taxpayers contributed $3.5 billion more to the pension systems than state workers did."

And those Illinois pensions are still going broke!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Food Stamps, Corporate Welfare, Hogs At The Trough

5 Surprising Things You Can Buy With Food Stamps | " . . . Here are just a few of the items one can buy:
Red Bull
Sugary Soda
Mixes for alcoholic beverages . . .
Of course, big agribusiness is complicit in the structure of the food stamp program. Simon gives the example of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to bar food-stamp recipients from buying sugary soft drinks with SNAP dollars. Big companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola fought back against the measure . . . Hunger advocates have pushed back against food-stamp restrictions. But as Simon points out, Walmart and other corporate beneficiaries of SNAP spend millions of dollars each year funding anti-poverty groups. This is laudable, but it is also perhaps a way to fund advocacy initiatives that dovetail with these corporations profit motive as well." (Read more at links above)


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Civil Forfeiture, Government Thieves, Hogs at the Tough

It is way past time to have ALL civil forfeiture laws declared unconstitutional -- they have been abused by prosecutors and police -- federal, state, and local: Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Guilty Until Proven Innocent; Grabbing Hand of the Law: "In many civil-forfeiture cases the agencies that seize the assets keep most of the proceeds, and can use them to pad their budgets or buy faster patrol cars. It is hard to know how common this is, but the Institute for Justice (a libertarian law firm that is representing the Dehkos) notes that the federal government shared $450m of seized assets with state and local authorities in 2012." (read more about the abusive cases perpetrated by these Hogs at the Trough at the link above)


Monday, November 4, 2013

Meltdowns, NSA, NSA Data Center, Hogs at the Trough

One comment from the Wall Street Journal story at the link below says it all --

Meltdowns Hobble NSA Data Center - ". . . I had a birds-eye view of the commissioning of many of the systems, stacks of plan sets, and have been all around the place to see how it's theoretically supposed to run. Where can one even start? Seeing this eyesore being built completely changed my view of government. Pure incompetence. The phase "orgy of mismanagement" comes to mind when I think of this place. First of all, forget the idea that these problems are due to people cutting corners. I come from the telecommunications and power generation worlds and I'm used to systems being designed with both cost and reliability in mind. That was not the case here. No expense was spared. Had this same facility been built by a private sector entity, I don't think it's unreasonable to imagine it could've been built for 1/3 less, easily. The project is pure pork, and there are just so many contractors feeding at the government trough! It's just....sad. . . ."


Friday, November 1, 2013

Boondoggle Illinois Airport

Too much pork -- 

MASCOUTAH, Ill.: Audit: Struggling Ill. airport again posts loss - Business Breaking News - ". . . St. Clair County-owned MidAmerica St. Louis Airport last year suffered a $3.8 million loss. That's despite boosting revenue by $2.2 million from additional capital funding from the Federal Aviation Administration and the state. The airport near Mascoutah got $5.6 million in county money to subsidize its operations. That brings to $28.7 million the county has funneled into the airport over the past five years. J.W. Boyle & Co. auditors anticipate the county will continue to subsidize the airport "in the near future." MidAmerica has struggled since opening in 1998, and critics persistently have labeled it a $330 million boondoggle."


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac eliminating pension plans

When Will the Federal Government Join Them?

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac eliminating pension plans starting Dec. 31 - The Washington Post: "Fannie and Freddie join a long list of companies seeking to limit the amount of money they have to set aside for future retirees. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that insures private-sector pensions, has said that the number of plans it backs has dropped from 112,208 in 1985 to 25,600 in 2011. The changes at Fannie and Freddie affect employees hired before Jan. 1, 2012, according to a five-page document addressing who is eligible and how the transition will work at Freddie Mac. Employees who leave the company before the end of the year with less than five years of service will forfeit the benefits they earned under the pension plan. The document described a “Thrift/401(k) Savings Plan & New Transitional Retirement Savings Plan” for Freddie Mac employees."


Monday, October 28, 2013

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down Amazon tax but the damage is done

Tax and spend Democrats in Illinois have succeeded in driving more jobs from Illinois, even though the uncontitutional tax they enacted has now been stricken by the Illinois Supreme Court --

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down Amazon tax - "To avoid having to collect sales tax upon virtual checkout, some large Internet retailers, including, cut ties with affiliates in Illinois, which one trade group said numbered about 9,000. After the law passed, some prominent Illinois-based Internet businesses, such as and, fled to Indiana and Wisconsin rather than be cut off from commissions from, and others."

When will the hogs at the public trough realize that more tax and spend will drive away those who are most productive?


Friday, October 25, 2013

Unsustainable Pensions, Social Security Promises

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Unsustainable Social Security Promises: Spain vs. U.S.: "Yet people keep emailing me that pension are guaranteed by law. Tell that to residents of Central Falls. Their pensions were cut 50% in bankruptcy. Here's reality: haircuts are coming. Unions need to negotiate benefit cuts now, in a sensible manner (with the highest beneficiaries taking the biggest cuts). The alternative is across the board benefit cuts à la Central Falls."


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Detroit Ex-Mayor Conviction, 28 Years for Corruption

Ex-Mayor Sentenced to 28 Years in Corruption Case That Helped Detroit Go Broke - “ . . . . The amount of crime, it was astonishing and it had a huge impact on this city,” Mark Chutkow, one of the prosecutors, said as he left the courthouse on Thursday. . . . Among some of the highest penalties for recent public corruption convictions, James C. Dimora, former commissioner of Cuyahoga County in Ohio, was sentenced last year to 28 years in prison for racketeering and bribery. A year before, Rod R. Blagojevich, former governor of Illinois, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for convictions that included trying to sell the Senate seat President Obama left open when he went to the White House. In her ruling on Thursday, Judge Edmunds said her decision was another strong warning to elected officials. “That way of business is over,” she said. “We’re done. We’re moving forward.”


Monday, October 21, 2013

Good for politicians, Bad for the public

RealClearMarkets - Voters Beware: What's Good For Politicians Is Bad For You: " . . . . When evaluating a policy, one needs to look beyond the short term. Policies that deliver a benefit now may not be good policies if the full, long term cost of the policy is carefully considered. These longer run costs are often neglected or hidden by the interests who stand to gain now from the policy. However, if we want a good future for ourselves and future generations, we need to learn to think longer term when we evaluate and design policies. Politicians like these policies because the gain comes now and helps them get re-elected by bragging about what they accomplished. The costs come later by which time the politicians hope we forget who we can thank for those costs. Voters need longer memories and to think long term. What is good for politicians is usually bad for the country."


Friday, October 18, 2013

Police chief, Haiti trips, cost taxpayers $14,000

Police chief’s Haiti trips cost North Miami taxpayers $14,000 - North Miami / NMB - "Elias notes on city travel documents that while abroad, he is engaged in teaching Haitian police officers or sharing law enforcement information with top Haitian brass. During his recent August stay in Haiti, Elias told his boss he was there to provide security for Tondreau, who was on a private vacation, and to teach Haitian police about community policing over a two week period. But Haitian police officials officials and the U.S. government, which is leading efforts to strengthen the Haiti National Police, said North Miami is not among the law enforcement agencies involved in the effort. . . . " (read more at link above)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Miami-Dade Firefighter, Impersonating Police Officer (for the 2nd time!)

Miami-Dade Firefighter Charged With Impersonating Police Officer « CBS Miami: " . . . . Cathy Silva says she began to doubt Alvarez was an officer as the confrontation continued. “The way he was acting the way he was yelling hopefully if it was a cop I wouldn’t expect him to be yelling at someone,” she said to CBS4′s Maggie Newland. When real officers arrived on the scene, they arrested Alvarez and took him to jail. Alvarez was charged with falsely impersonating an officer, vehicle burglary and simple battery. . . ."

2nd time this guy was arrested for impersonating a police officer -- wonder why he still has his job as a firefighter (six-figure salary with overtime and benefits courtesy of Miami-Dade taxpayers)?


Monday, October 14, 2013

Long Sorry Tale of Pension Promises

The Long, Sorry Tale of Pension Promises - "Much has been written about the poor investing performance of public pension plans. But for all the ill-conceived speculation of Calpers (the giant California fund) and others, the real problem is that politicians across the country have failed to fund. For them, the choice between raising taxes and keeping the pension fund solvent is no choice at all."

No, the real problem is why they failed to fund -- because they didn't have the money -- their words and promises were grandiose gestures to win political contributions in the rats' nests and endless loops between public unions and politicians (generally Democrats -- e.g., California and Illinois where the problem is worst). We desperately need a national right to work law and collective bargaining should be outlawed for all public employees (FDR always said collective bargaining was not for public employees--it just leads to the corruption and insolvency we are now experiencing).

The public trough is empty.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Washington DC Incomes Soar, Most of US Declines

Washington Sees Incomes Soar as Most of U.S. Declines - Real Time Economics - WSJ: "...The income of the typical D.C. household rose 23.3% between 2000 and 2012 to an inflation-adjusted $66,583, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, its most comprehensive snapshot of America’s demographic, social and economic trends. During this period, median household incomes for the nation as a whole dropped 6.6% — from $55,030 to $51,371. The state of Mississippi, which had one of the biggest declines, dropped 15% to $37,095: Nearly one in three people there have an income that is near the poverty line. The Washington, D.C. metro area — which includes the surrounding suburbs in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia — has it even better, with a median household income of $88,233 that ranks highest among the U.S.’s 25 most populous metro areas. Tampa, Florida’s median income, by contrast, is under $45,000..." (read more at link above)


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Republicans Should Trade Debt Ceiling For Better Budget Baseline

Republicans Should Trade The Debt Ceiling For A Better Budget Baseline - Forbes: "In order to make further deficit progress, Republicans in Congress should offer a simple proposal. They should agree to a continuing resolution on spending that holds spending levels as they are now, with the sequester cuts remaining in place. They should agree to raise the debt ceiling by enough to last for two or three years. In exchange, they should ask Democrats for one simple thing: an amendment to the Deficit Control Act so that the baseline budget returns to its original incarnation. This new budget baseline would only show spending increases when Congress specifically legislates them . . ." (read more at link above)


Monday, October 7, 2013

Illinois, California, Which One is Worst?

2 big messed up states, but Illinois is the worst --

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Unhappy Anniversary: Illinois Overtakes California for Second Highest Unemployment Rate in Nation: "the one state arguably more screwed up than California is Illinois. Unions, union sympathizers, socialists, and tax-hike proponents are strongly in control of both states. Is it any wonder  that perpetual economic difficulties and insurmountable pension underfundings face both states? . . . " (read more at link above)


Friday, October 4, 2013

Pension Funds Double Down, Chase High Returns

Pension Funds Keep Chasing High Returns | Via Meadia: "...The unfortunate truth is that, at the present moment, high-risk investments are the only hope for pension funds to meet their promises. The longstanding combination of overly expensive retirement plans and Panglossian projections of asset performance has pension funds backed into a corner. But the potentially high gains that can be made in more risky asset classes come at a high premium to pension funds in the form of management fees. So far, the only clear-cut winner is Wall Street....

Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Banks, New appalling ways to cheat homeowners

Banks find appalling new way to cheat homeowners - "This means that homeowners victimized by big-bank servicers, who were supposed to get a commitment to honest treatment as part of the National Mortgage Settlement, instead got their servicing rights sold to companies no longer bound by the terms of that settlement. So homeowners lose all of their protections, and often have to start back at square one with their new servicer. For example, if a borrower was in process on a loan modification with their old servicer, the new servicer can choose to simply not recognize that modification, and demand the full monthly payment under threat of foreclosure. This is a very common practice."


Monday, September 30, 2013

Mainstream Media, Government, Revolving Door

Richard Stengel leaving Time for State Department - Joe Pompeo and Dylan Byers - "Richard Stengel, the top editor of Time magazine for the past seven years, is planning to step down as managing editor for a new job at the U.S. Department of State, sources familiar with the situation tell POLITICO and Capital New York. If confirmed, Stengel will serve as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs." (read more at link above)


Friday, September 27, 2013

American Colleges, Supersizing

The Supersizing of American Colleges: " . . . The supersizing of American higher education has led to a flurry of articles, reports, and sound bites about college that use the most feared words in America: “crisis” and “bubble.” Citing the increase in spending, debt, and default, their authors argue that college is a bum deal, profile students graduating to waiter jobs that offer no hope of paying off loans, and predict the bursting of the college debt bubble once we realize college is not as valuable as we thought. The Economist compared American universities to Detroit’s car companies in the 1950s: universally admired as the best in the world and on the cusp of a fall. . . ." (read more at link above)


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Syria, Contractors, State Department

Who funds Syrian rebel advocate O’Bagy and her 'Task Force?' | The Daily Caller: "State Department contracting firms like “ARK [Access Resources Knowledge], Chemonics, Creative [Associates International]—a number of the big contractors” set up the contracts and pay the Syrian Emergency Task Force, O’Bagy told TheDC. With each contract, O’Bagy made more money. This revelation raises serious questions about her incentives to support American involvement in Syria. Both Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain cited O’Bagy’s work in the push for military action but did not disclose her ties to the rebel groups." (read more at link above)


Monday, September 23, 2013

States, Incentives to Promote Disability Fraud

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: States Have an Incentive to Promote (Not Stop) Disability Fraud; So How Much Fraud Is There?: I suspect fraud is in the neighborhood of 25-50% (and higher would not surprise me one bit). The reason is that States Have an Incentive to Promote (Not Stop) Disability Fraud. This all goes back to 1996 when president Bill Clinton promised to "end welfare as we know it". He did indeed do just that, and fraud is the result. Why? The federal government pays disability, but states pay part of welfare costs. This creates a huge incentives for states to actively promote disability fraud (simply to get people off state-sponsored welfare programs). (read more at link above)


Friday, September 20, 2013

Mortgages, Foreclosures, Bully Tactics

Invasive Tactic in Foreclosures Draws Scrutiny - " . . . Even some homeowners who never missed a mortgage payment have collided with the property-management firms. Linda Haddad, 55, bought her home last June in Garden City, Mich., after JPMorgan Chase repossessed the foreclosed home from the previous owner. Ms. Haddad said she was shocked when two months later she got a call from her neighbor. “He told me an agent from Safeguard was emptying the contents of the place and changing the locks,” Ms. Haddad said. Frantic, she contacted the Safeguard agent, who, she said, advised her “to straighten it out” with the bank, which had told Safeguard to cease work on the property. By the time she did, though, Ms. Haddad said Safeguard had done tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to her property."


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Savings, Americans, Retirement

An Open Letter to Everyone Under Age 30: "Less than 60% of Americans are saving anything, and two-thirds of those who are have less than $25,000 salted away, according to ConvergEx. Almost half of Americans couldn't come up with $2,000 in the next month if they had to, accord to the National Bureau of Economic Research. According to Nielsen Claritas, Americans age 55 to 64 have a median net worth of $180,000 -- less than they'll likely need for health care spending alone during retirement."


Monday, September 16, 2013

Police Officer Indicted on Charges of Lying About Photographer’s Arrest

Cop lied, got himself a 3 felony count indictment -- at least in New York, they are fed up with lying cops, and cops who don't like to be photographed (God forbid there be "accountability" -- what are they trying to hide?) --

Officer Is Indicted on Charges of Lying About Photographer’s Arrest - "A New York City police officer who had arrested a photographer working for The New York Times has been indicted on three felony counts and five misdemeanors accusing him of fabricating the reasons for the arrest, the Bronx district attorney announced on Monday."

Money quote: "The officer, Michael Ackermann, 30, claimed that the photographer interfered with an arrest last year of a teenage girl by repeatedly discharging his camera’s flash in Officer Ackermann’s face. But the officer’s account unraveled after the office of Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney, examined photographic evidence and determined that the photographer, Robert Stolarik, did not use a flash and did not have one on his camera at the time. Prosecutors added that no other police officers or civilian witnesses reported seeing a flash." (read more at link above)


Friday, September 13, 2013

Miami-Dade Jail, US Justice Department, Unfit for Human Habitation

Another inmate death at Miami-Dade’s jail psychiatric ward - Miami-Dade - "The U.S. Justice Department is monitoring the jail system. In 2011, the department concluded a three-year probe, saying the nation’s eighth-largest jail system engaged in a “pattern and practice of constitutional violation” of the rights of inmates housed in deplorable living conditions under abusive, inadequate or limited care. In April, Miami-Dade County and Jackson Health agreed to a long and expensive list of improvements to how the system treats inmates, particularly those who are mentally ill or suicidal. As part of the deal, the county agreed to build a new mental-health facility, long championed by Judge Leifman, to replace the ninth-floor psychiatric ward. So far, supporters still are waiting for ground to be broken for the facility. Besides the deaths, the county jail system has had other troubling issues in recent months. Inmates and guards also have complained repeatedly about rats in the main jail. . . . ”

The US Justice Department is monitoring the jail? They are not doing their job -- where's Obama and Holder? They love to hog the camera, except when it actually comes to doing their jobs!

Hogs at the Trough

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Greed in Washington (video)

Mark Leibovich on Glitz and Greed in Washington from on Vimeo.
Bill talks with journalist Mark Leibovich about his latest book, This Town, a city where money rules the day and status is determined by who you know and what they can do for you. "If you can sell yourself as someone who knows how Washington works, someone who has these relationships," Leibovich explains, "that's a very marketable commodity.  If you're seen as someone who knows how this town works, someone who is a usual suspect in this town, you can dine out for years -- that's why no one leaves."

Hogs at the Trough.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Police Seize Cash, Cars, and Homes from Innocent Americans

In the US, the police are out to seize your cash, cars, and homes -- for no reason other than you are an easy mark --

Are Innocent Citizens at Risk of Police Seizure of Their Cash, Cars and Homes? | PBS NewsHour | Aug. 19, 2013 | PBS: "RAY SUAREZ: Has anybody successfully fought back against the seizure of their property without trial and without due process? SARAH STILLMAN: Absolutely. And that -- one of the surprising things is actually that when people did get it together to push back, often, the cases were just dropped. And it sort of indicated this was really often preying upon people who didn't know how to fight back or didn't have the resources to or had reasons to be scared to. And in cases where people really did bring a case, including in Tenaha after this happened to hundreds -- perhaps even 1,000 were stopped in this drug interdiction program there -- it's a very small town. It's mostly people who were driving through in rental cars from out of state. They actually brought a successful -- or they had a settlement in class action lawsuit recently." (read more at the link above)


Friday, September 6, 2013

Delaware Official Retires, Joins Firm Making Millions From Delaware

Hog of the Year Award?

Delaware Job Hop Stirs Flap - The CFO Report - WSJ: "A top Delaware finance official sent out 125 audit notices this year to companies incorporated in the First State. Three weeks ago, he retired and joined the auditing firm expected to do the lion’s share of those audits in exchange for millions of dollars in fees."


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

US Companies that make money by keeping America scared

Hogs at the Trough - it ain't about terrorism --it's about the money --

5 companies that make money by keeping Americans scared - " . . . . What it all adds up to is a massive industry profiting off government-induced fear of terrorism, even though Americans are more likely to be killed by a car crash or their own furniture than a terror attack. Here are five private companies cashing in on keeping you afraid.1. The Chertoff Group . . . CBS and ABC did not see fit to inform viewers that both Hayden and Chertoff are employees of the Chertoff Group, a private firm created in 2009 that companies hire to consult on best practices for security and combatting terrorism. Some of the companies the firm advises go on to win government contracts. Chertoff is the founder and chairman of the group, while Hayden serves as a principal. So they profit off a war on terror they say is crucial to keeping Americans safe. . . . After the failed attempt in 2010 to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day with a bomb hidden in underwear, Chertoff pushed for better airport security procedures. One of the suggestions Chertoff made was for the Transportation Security Administration to use full-body scanners like the ones Rapiscan, one of the Chertoff Group’s clients, made. And sure enough, after the Christmas Day plot, the TSA ordered 300 Rapiscan machines. The Huffington Post reported that Rapiscan made $118 million from the government between 2009 and 2010. 2. Booz Allen Hamilton . . ." (read more at link above)

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Will the US government continue its "stripping and looting"?

America 3.0: The Coming Reinvention of America — The American Magazine: "Without some sort of major shock, external or self-inflicted, an unreformed America might drift on for quite a while — certainly another 25 or 30 years — without facing and tackling the fundamental problems facing it. The institutions of America 2.0 can survive a while longer by borrowing irresponsibly, defaulting silently on creditors through inflation, squeezing taxpayers with more thorough intrusion and coercion, confiscating the private savings of Americans in the guise of “rescuing” them, eating our seed corn by confiscating medical facilities and running them down without proper reinvestment, and in general stripping and looting the country."


Friday, August 30, 2013

Twitter, Washington DC, hogs at the trough

Unfortunately, to have any influence with the Hogs at the Trough, you have to get into the slop with them --

Twitter joins Washington’s influence economy, forms PAC - The Washington Post: "The firm, along with Google and other tech companies, has called for greater transparency from federal spy agencies. Twitter has criticized the secrecy shrouding the requests the government makes of tech companies when officials want them to assist in surveillance efforts, saying non-disclosure rules should be lifted."


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Good News! Postal Service Quarterly Loss Narrows to ONLY $740 Million!

Only in Washington DC is losing $740 million good news -- what's the answer?

Shut it down! This money-losing dinosaur of government corruption is no longer needed!

Postal Service Quarterly Loss Narrows to $740 Million - Bloomberg: "Cost cutting and a one-time revenue windfall helped the U.S. Postal Service narrow its loss in the third quarter to $740 million. The Postal Service said even with the improved results, it won’t make a $5.6 billion payment due by Sept. 30 for future retirees’ health-care costs. It said the results also don’t lessen the need for Congress to overhaul the system."


Monday, August 26, 2013

Civil Forfeiture, another government confiscation scheme

Police and the legal system out of control in the USA--

Sarah Stillman: The Use and Abuse of Civil Forfeiture : The New Yorker: "Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?" (read this unbelievable expose in the New Yorker at the link above)


Friday, August 23, 2013

Public Stench, Democratic Establishment, Washington DC

Frank Rich writes about the Hogs at the Trough in Washington, DC --

Frank Rich on 'This Town' and Washington's Dysfunctional Bipartisanship -- New York Magazine: "Washington may be a dysfunctional place to govern, but it’s working better than ever as a marketplace for cashing in. And that’s thanks, more than anything, to the Democratic Establishment."---Frank Rich (read more at link above)


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Answer to pension woes that plague the US

Nobody wants to see the elephant in the living room --

Pandemic of pension woes is plaguing the nation: ". . . . But even as the economy and housing markets have recovered, most states are still falling behind in closing their pension funding gaps. In the last year, 34 states have seen their pension funds stretched further as they've failed to make the full contributions needed to meet the projected cost of retirement promises. . . . Nine states—Hawaii, Alaska, Kansas, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Connecticut, Kentucky and Illinois—have now set aside less than 60 percent of what they need. Illinois has saved just 43 cents to cover every dollar of what it needs to pay 350,000 retirees and 500,000 current plan participants who are counting on a pension check. In Detroit, city officials argue that pension payments to retirees simply have to be cut because the money just isn't there to pay them. But union officials there and in other cash-strapped cities say that's the city's problem. . . . Without a pension check, public sector workers face a bleak retirement. Many are ineligible for Social Security. . . ." (read more at the link above)

What's the Answer? Put everyone on Social Security (and expand benefits), abolish all pension programs, allow individuals to have (in addition to social security) one self-funded, federally-approved and guaranteed, retirement account in a federally supervised financial institution into which each individual can deposit up to 10% of each year's earnings (tax-sheltered and immune from third-party garnishment).


Monday, August 19, 2013

Federal Election Commission Staff "out-of-control" - another Obama administration scandal

Kimberley Strassel: Another IRS Scandal Waiting to Happen - "The Obama administration claims it wants to ensure that the rank political abuse perpetrated by the Internal Revenue Service is never repeated. Ask Donald McGahn how that's going. Mr. McGahn is a Republican appointee to the Federal Election Commission, an agency with every bit as much potential for partisan meddling as the IRS. Due to leave the agency soon, Mr. McGahn's parting gift is a campaign to rein in an out-of-control FEC bureaucracy. But the left is fighting that oversight and is determined to keep power in the hands of unaccountable staff. . . ."


Friday, August 16, 2013

US agency baffled by modern technology, destroys mice to get rid of viruses

Idiot US government agency doesn't stop its madness until it "runs out of money"--what does that tell you? Cut off the money if you don't want Hogs at the Trough!

US agency baffled by modern technology, destroys mice to get rid of viruses | Ars Technica: " . . . . EDA's CIO, fearing that the agency was under attack from a nation-state, insisted instead on a policy of physical destruction. The EDA destroyed not only (uninfected) desktop computers but also printers, cameras, keyboards, and even mice. The destruction only stopped—sparing $3 million of equipment—because the agency had run out of money to pay for destroying the hardware. The total cost to the taxpayer of this incident was $2.7 million: $823,000 went to the security contractor for its investigation and advice, $1,061,000 for the acquisition of temporary infrastructure (requisitioned from the Census Bureau), $4,300 to destroy $170,500 in IT equipment, and $688,000 paid to contractors to assist in development of a long-term response. Full recovery took close to a year. . . ."


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Great Britain shows way for privatized mail service

Thomas Lucente: Great Britain shows way for privatized mail service - Local News: "The problems are easy to see. Email and other digital communication have undermined the Postal Service’s mail monopoly; the unions, putting self-interest above all else, have created excessive labor costs; and Congress, also putting self-interest above all else, is often unwilling to allow the service to take measures to operate efficiently. If the Postal Service were privately run, customers would be able to pick and choose what they wish to pay for. Private businesses have a profit incentive to tailor services to satisfy customers and to seek new cost-effective delivery methods. Prices would be higher or lower depending on what customers want as is the case in any other private business. As Great Britain and other European nations move toward an enlightened privatized system of mail delivery, the United States continues to lag behind and all our wallets will eventually suffer for it."


Monday, August 12, 2013

Chicago, Mayor Daley, Police Torture

Ex-Chicago Mayor Daley called to testify on police torture claims | Fox News: "The now 60-year-old Wrice has always claimed he was innocent. He says he only confessed because he was tortured by Chicago cops after his arrest in 1982. A medical report written shortly after Wrice confessed states "there were too many bruises on his body to list on the report," said defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean.  After years of legal wrangling, Wrice is now scheduled for an evidentiary hearing in September, where a judge will take another look at his case and the torture claims. Daley has been subpoenaed to take the witness stand and talk about what he knows, or knew, under oath.  His testimony could have wide-ranging implications for this and other cases.  Bonjean argues that, as the state's attorney, "Daley knew or should've known the torture was taking place." "


Friday, August 9, 2013

Miami-Dade County pays millions to employees who work full time for labor unions

Miami-Dade County pays millions to employees who work full time for labor unions - Miami-Dade - "More than 40 Miami-Dade County public employees are collecting $2.65 million-plus in salaries from taxpayers so far this year — but they don’t have to do their county jobs, the Miami Herald has learned. The 42 employees are excused from their work duties to serve as union representatives, and they cannot be fired for not doing county work under Miami-Dade’s agreements with the 10 unions representing workers. On paper, the exempt union workers hold a variety of positions, from six-figure police and firefighters to lesser-paid public-transit workers."

Miami Hogs at the Trough.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Chicago bond rating, negative outlook

"There's no way to sugarcoat this," said Brian Battle, director at Chicago-based Performance Trust Capital Partners, an investment adviser specializing in fixed-income products. "This is bad for Chicago." In its analysis, Moody's found Chicago's pension plight much more severe than the city has estimated. Rachel Cortez, the lead analyst on the Chicago report, said Moody's calculates that the city's pension funds at the end of 2012 possessed only 22 percent of the assets they needed to meet obligations. The city pegged the amount at 35 percent.

Chicago bond rating takes big hit - "Moody's also slapped a "negative" label on the future outlook for Chicago's rating." (read more at link above)


Monday, August 5, 2013

Government programs and the push to waste money

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Obama's HAMP Program a Stunning Success:  . . .  HAMP is certainly a failure compared to stated goals. However, as government programs go, it's easy to make a case that HAMP was a tremendous success. Here's why. "As part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Treasury allocated $19.1 billion to the HAMP program. So far, it has spent $4.4 billion". The typical government program wastes far more than initially allocated. This government program only wasted $4.4 billion out of a projected waste of $19.1 billion. It does not get much better than this! Unfortunately, there is still a big push to waste more money. Christy Romero, the head of SIGTARP says "Treasury pulled out all the stops for the banks, they should do the same for homeowners". This same "two wrongs make a right" genius also says "Treasury needs to research why so many borrowers are dropping out of the program." Really? What's to research? People are underwater in their homes (still), without a job, or struggling in minimum wage part-time jobs. But hey, give a bureaucrat money to waste and they will. . . . (read more at link above)


Friday, August 2, 2013

Moody's downgrades Chicago, pension debt to blame

Here's the Recipe for Municipal Bankruptcy: Democrats + Government Unions + Public Pensions

It's already happened in Detroit and several California cities and elsewhere--Chicago is headed that way soon--

Moody's downgrades Chicago's credit rating, pension debt to blame - – Rockford’s News Leader: "Moody's Investors Service says it's making the move because of "formidable legal and political barriers to pension reform" in the state. The downgrade affects $8.2 billion in debt and means it will cost the city more to borrow money. According to Moody's Chicago has $19 billion in unfunded pension liability and faces a "tremendous strain" in meeting their budget and paying law enforcement"


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bankruptcy in Detroit: What’s Next? (video)

Bankruptcy in Detroit: What’s Next?: "Clips from a news conference, where Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan and Kevyn D. Orr, the Detroit emergency manager, discussed how the city will move forward after filing for bankruptcy."


Monday, July 29, 2013

Detroit largest US city to file for bankruptcy, but for how long?

Detroit becomes largest US city to file for bankruptcy in historic 'low point' | World news | " . . . . The governor painted a picture of a city in collapse. Citizens wait 58 minutes for the police to respond to calls, compared to a national average of 11 minutes. Only a third of ambulances were in service in the first quarter of 2013. There are approximately 78,000 abandoned buildings in the city. The unemployment rate had nearly tripled since 2000 and the homicide rate was at its highest level in 40 years, he said. Detroit is unable to meet its most basic obligations to its residents, let alone its creditors. "The citizens of Detroit need and deserve a clear road out of the cycle of ever-decreasing services," Snyder wrote. . . ." (read more at link above)

Who's next? LA, Oakland, or ???

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Detroit Files Chapter 9 Bankruptcy; Oakland, LA, Others on Deck; Pension Promises vs. Bondholders in Spotlight; The Bright Side: "Clearly this is not a surprise. Nor did the stock market treat it like a surprise. What's going to be a surprise . . . is when Oakland, LA, Houston, Baltimore, and numerous other cities declare bankruptcy to escape untenable pension and health-care promises." (read more at link above)


Friday, July 26, 2013

Chicago bond ratings slashed

Chicago bond ratings slashed - ""The current administration has made efforts to reduce costs and achieve operational efficiencies, but the magnitude of the city's pension obligations has precluded any meaningful financial improvements," Moody's said. The credit rating agency added that its negative outlook is based on the "dramatic spike in annual pension payments scheduled to take effect in the 2015 budget year." Moody's said it expects the payments "will place material strain on the city's operating budget." "The outlook incorporates the likelihood of continued growth in unfunded liabilities in the city's four pension plans given currently suppressed contributions from the city," Moody's added, noting its outlook also takes into account Illinois' constitutional protection of pension benefits."


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Detroit bankruptcy, public trough empty

Monday, July 22, 2013

Police kill 7 year old girl in military assault on private dwelling

Whatever happened to the U.S. Constitution? Does anyone even care anymore in America?--

Detroit police officer on trial in death of girl, 7, during raid; reality TV crew was at scene - The Washington Post: "But some critics of the police department’s tactics believe it was used in the fatal raid simply to satisfy a crew from “The First 48,” a show that focuses on the crucial early stages of homicide investigations. Weekley’s trial could reveal how the TV crew’s presence influenced decisions that May 2010 night. “This was essentially a military assault on a private dwelling,” said Ron Scott, spokesman for a watchdog group, Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality. “I think the administration of the police department wanted to show Detroit was tough on crime and show something exciting for television. “Police work is not television, and television work is not police work,” he said. “The two combined to make it a horrific night.”" 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Can the Government Actually Play Moneyball?

Probably not--the politicians, the lobbyists, the public unions--too many toes to step on--too many hogs at the trough:

How Government Can Actually Play Moneyball | New Republic: "Bridgeland and Orszag’s question is worth considering. Can the government play moneyball? They argue that the federal government, operating in a climate of austerity not experienced for decades, should invest in empirical studies to determine the most efficient ways to spend the government’s money, thereby saving taxpayers over the long run. This is similar, they contend, to when the cash-strapped Athletics turned to the data-driven empiricism of sabermetrics, “replacing scouts’ traditional beliefs and biases about players with data-intensive studies of what skills actually contribute most to winning.” In other words: Find out what the best practices are, and adopt them."

Good idea though.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Citi To Pay Almost $1B In Fannie Mae Mortgage Settlement

Citi To Pay Almost $1B In Fannie Mae Mortgage Settlement - Forbes: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have spent the years since the financial crisis trying to force Wall Street to repurchase billions in shoddy loans sold during the boom years of the housing bubble. Monday brought another settlement from one of the country’s biggest banks." (read more at link above)


Friday, July 12, 2013

US Public Pensions: Another Reality Distortion Field

The increased cost of providing pensions shows up everywhere but in the US public pension market. And that is just wrong--

Pensions: Another discount rate illusion | The Economist: " . . . Some states have laws - even constitutional amendments - designed to protect public pensions. Now that may change in future, but until it does, these are pretty watertight commitments. (For those interested, the AEI has a detailed paper on the legal status of pension promises. as well.) As Messrs Biggs and Smetters write
the discount rate used to value future pension liabilities should reflect the fact that pension funds are guaranteed, even if the return on a pension's investments are not. More formally, the discount rate applied to the liability should be based on the risk of the liability, not the risk of any assets used to fund any liability.
. . . anyone in a DC or 401(k) plan who seeks to guarantee their pension via buying an annuity will find that the cost of buying a given income has risen; put another way, the same pension pot buys a smaller income. In short, the increased cost of providing pensions shows up everywhere but in the US public pension market. And that is just wrong."


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Public Pension Problem Swamps Illinois

In Illinois (which has the largest net pension liability in the US), "denial" is apparently the "plan" to deal with the unfunded public pension liabilities--

Public pension costs swamp revenues of 10 U.S. states -Moody's | Reuters: "Ten U.S. states have public pension liabilities that are at least as big as their annual revenues, according to a Moody's Investors Service report released on Thursday that found the Illinois pension bill was equal to 241 percent of its revenues. . . . . Illinois is notorious for both its underfunded retirement system and the political battles over how to fix it. In March, the state settled Securities and Exchange Commission fraud charges for allegedly misrepresenting the depth of its pension problems. According to Moody's, Illinois has the largest net pension liability in the country, $133 billion, equal to $10,340 per person in the state . . . California had the second highest pension liability, $120 billion, but that is only $3,206 per capita in the state, which ranks as the country's most populous." (Read more at link above)

Monday, July 8, 2013

NSA Contractor Became Wealthy off US Government

Here's a story you never hear reported by "mainstream media"--nor the amount of political contributions paid by government contractors to political parties and politicians--

Leaker’s Employer Became Wealthy by Maintaining Government Secrets: "Edward J. Snowden’s employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, has become one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the United States almost exclusively by serving a single client: the government of the United States. Over the last decade, much of the company’s growth has come from selling expertise, technology and manpower to the National Security Agency and other federal intelligence agencies. Booz Allen earned $1.3 billion, 23 percent of the company’s total revenue, from intelligence work during its most recent fiscal year. The government has sharply increased spending on high-tech intelligence gathering since 2001, and both the Bush and Obama administrations have chosen to rely on private contractors like Booz Allen for much of the resulting work. Thousands of people formerly employed by the government, and still approved to deal with classified information, now do essentially the same work for private companies. . . ." (read more at link above)

This is why there will NEVER be any cutbacks or reform of the NSA et al. Follow the $$$$.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Government Workers Get Paid Working for Unions, Not Us

Ever hear of featherbedding? This is worse--

"With a backlog of almost 1 million unprocessed benefit claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is shocking that over 250 of the Department's employees are on "official time," doing no work for veterans. It sounds unbelievable to most of us who have to show up at work to do a job, but "official time" is time that federal workers spend working for their unions, and not working for taxpayers." (source infra)

RealClearMarkets - While the Rest of Us Toil, Government Workers Get 'Official Time": ". . . VA employees on "official time" represent unions such as the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Federation of Federal Employees, the National Association of Government Employees, National Nurses United, and the Service Employees International Union. . . . a nurse in San Francisco, made $131,849 representing the NFFE. . . . (a government worker) representing the SEIU, was paid $120,544 not to work as a pharmacist at the VA hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. Contributions from these unions flow back into politics, the vast majority to Democratic causes. . . ." (read more at link above)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

California, Illinois Pension Crisis -- more bad news is coming

  • Moody’s new credit standards for public pensions would nearly double the unfunded liabilities for state and local pension plans in California to $328.6 billion from $128.3 billion.
  • California has the second lowest credit rating at Standard & Poor’s of all 50 states; Illinois now has the worst. Moody's new standards would drop the funded status of these plans to 64%, versus a previous estimate of 82%, the Center said.
  • “By standard accounting methods, some state pension funds will run out of assets within as little as five years”
  • New rules will lower expected rates of returns on their pension assets, instead of the often overstated returns they now use to paper over holes in their plans blown out by bad investments.
  • Meredith Whitney says California is papering over budget holes with gimmicks, like raising taxes retroactively, pushing state expenses onto local towns and cities that can’t afford them, and underfunding their pension funds. "It’s so much worse than the rosy picture that the headlines suggest,” the CEO of Meredith Whitney Advisory group says . . .

Monday, July 1, 2013

Higher Education Hogs at the Trough

Glenn Harlan Reynolds: What's Really 'Immoral' About Student Loans - "If we want to solve the very real problem of excessive student-loan debt, college costs need to be brought under control. A 2010 study by the Goldwater Institute identified "administrative bloat" as a leading reason for higher costs. The study found that many American universities now have more salaried administrators than teaching faculty."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How Bureaucrats Have Ruined the Federal Government

How Bureaucrats Captured Government — The American Magazine: " . . . . The inevitable result of employees who cannot be fired is, of course, a federal workforce that, feeling safe in their jobs, is not likely to overexert itself and is more prone to fall into corruption — as some employees of the IRS clearly have. More than a few master the art of skirting the edge of trouble. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma estimates that over a seven-year period, the federal government lost 9,000 man-years of work due to employees who simply failed to show up to the office some days. That is not very different from the situation under the spoils system — although smoking, at least, has been banned from federal office buildings. The solution, obviously, is a much reformed, simplified, and faster process for dealing with incompetent, lazy, and corrupt employees. But like reforming the spoils system of the 19th century, that is a good deal easier said than done. As always with human affairs, self-interest rules."