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."