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."