Archive for the Pensions Category

Title III –> Chapter 17:  Bankrupt States . . . Going Bankrupt (May 1, 2017)

Posted in Bankruptcy, Blue States / Red States, Canada, Cartoon Reference, Climate, Global Climate Change, Global Warming, Kleptocracy, Pensions, Supreme Court on May 1, 2017 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “Who thought the bricks would crumble.  The fifty brick house may not survive politically and will not endure economically.”

J          “The state of the states is dismal and abysmal.  When municipalities fold or water districts dry up, some interior curtain walls are dismantled and the curtains and furniture are sold.  Yet they are all just political subdivisions of the state, not a state itself.  Until recently, interior curtain walls were relieved whereas now the exterior load bearing walls are under stress.”

K          “Pick a metric.  If you input a realistic rate of return in calculating the solvency of state pension funds, most of them are not only under water, they are drowned with no chance of resuscitation or c.p.r.”

. . .

K          “Puerto Rico is the canary in the coal mine, the guinea pig and the alpha testing ground.  Congress concocted Title III’ as part of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) that imports many of the notions of bankruptcy law to address the island’s insolvency.”

J          “Up north, the HealthCare of Ontario Pension Fund directed funds it may not have to bail out the Toronto-based Home Capital Group for investments it never should have made.”

K          “That seems to be some type of capitalistic synergistic entropy.”

. . .

K          “On this Law Day, we should consider drafting and crafting a ‘Chapter 17’ provision to allow a state to file bankruptcy and write the next chapter in the Bankruptcy Code and American polity.  A PROMESA on steroids for the states.”

J          “The legislation may attract bipartisan support because half of the seriously distressed states are ‘red’ states and half of the seriously depressed states are ‘blue’ states.”

K          “Alaska, Kentucky, South Carolina and Louisiana counterbalance Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York among the states that are going.  Going states need some way to go.”

. . .

K          “State supreme court justices use their position and power to advance their economic interests and protect their pensions.  In the court across the street, federal bankruptcy court judges will be forced to distribute a smaller sum of money in a more equitable and efficient manner to all citizens.”

J          “This Republic had such great promise.”

. . . 

[See the discussion of the Peoples Climate March for climate, jobs and justice in “Climate March Draws Thousands of Protesters Alarmed by Trump’s Environmental Agenda” in “The New York Times” by Nicholas Fandos dated April 29, 2017, “Climate March draws massive crowd to D.C. in sweltering heat” by Chris Mooney, Joe Heim and Brady Dennis in “The Washington Post” dated April 29, 2017 and yesterday’s Doonesbury cartoon.]

[See the e-commentary at “Pensions and Other Entitlements: Pt. 1 (April 14, 2008)”, “Pensions and Other Entitlements: Pt. 2 (April 28, 2008)”, “Outsourcing Pensions? (Sept. 7, 2009)”, “Pensions, Conflicts Of Interest And The Illinois Supreme Court (June 1, 2015)”, “May Day (May 1, 2006)” and other e-commentary under the Category on “Pensions.”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Chapter 17 – Coming to a state near you

The United States dominates the world not because it is a “City Upon a Hill” but because it shoots, and shoots regularly, from the top on the hill.

Trumpi [Tweets ?] To Followers:  “F@#$ You” (February 6, 2017)

Posted in Kleptocracy, Pensions, Retirement, Trumpi on February 6, 2017 by e-commentary.org

. . .

J          “The corporate owners of the government do not really want us to provide for our retirement or our future.  They just concoct more rackets to exploit and plunder the people.”

K          “Welcome to the Great American Kleptocracy.”

. . .

K          “The Department of Labor was scheduled to implement a policy known as the ‘Fiduciary Rule’ that requires a broker to act in the client’s best interest rather than in the broker’s financial interest.  And Trumpi killed it.”

J          “I describe the Rule as a ‘no brainer’ policy.  An attorney is obligated to act in the client’s best interest; a doctor is obligated to act in the patient’s best interest; a broker is obligated to act in the client’s best interest.  The word ‘client’ itself acknowledges the existence of a fiduciary duty.”

. . .

K          “There is very little trust in America today for the compelling and unimpeachable reason that there is no reason to trust in America.  The Rule would have meant that a person could trust his or her broker.  That would help the little man and the little woman.  Trumpi does not give a hoot for the little person.” 

J          “Trumpi ran as the candidate of the Middle Finger Party and never revealed to anyone that he really intended to give the middle finger to his voters.”

K          “Trumpi pulled off a legal and financial coup d’état without firing a shot and now is taking all kinds of shots at the little person.”

. . .

J          “We are watching a house on fire with no fire fighters and no bucket brigade in attendance.  A house on fire this divided cannot stand.”

K          “And Trumpi is giving sociopaths a bad name.”

J          “The biggest uncertainty of our time is determining what will transpire when a critical mass of Trumpi voters realize they have been deceived and duped.”

K          “The way Trumpi is dissing and dismissing the ‘deplorables’ is deplorable.”

. . .

[See “Trump Moves to Roll Back Obama-Era Financial Regulations” in “The New York Times” by Ben Protess and Julie Hirschfeld Davis dated February 3, 2017.]

[See the e-commentary at “The Donald:  Enough; Bastante; Basta (April 4, 2016)”, “High-Frequency Trading = Cybercrime (June 5, 2015)” and “On The Digital Revolution (March 22, 2010).”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Donald J. Trumpi @unrealDonaldTrump:  “F@#$ You”

[Picture of Trumpi] Tired of me yet?

[Picture of O’Bama] Miss me yet?

The Stock Market Racket (August 24, 2015)

Posted in Pensions, Stock Market on August 24, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

I1          “The stock market is not a market, it is a racket.  The Stock Racket, I call it.  The Racket does not provide much financial security.”

I2          “And I too am a hostage to that Racket.  I am now at a stage and an age when I am told to avoid risky investments and to move toward less risky instruments, yet those who make the economic rules eliminated that time-honored option.  I receive nothing to put my money in the bank and take less risk.  I have faith that I will receive nothing at the end of the day to take huge risk in the Racket.  I am forced to keep one foot in the Racket in a desperate bid to obtain some upside yet now see the decline that I expect.”

I1          “I don’t call that traditional financial security.”

. . .

I2          “Those who run the defined benefit pension plans are playing the Racket.  When the Racket collapses, I will be forced by the courts to fund the short fall while living with little or no pension.”

I1          “I don’t call that traditional financial security either.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at Party Like It’s 16,919.99 (May 19, 2014) and “Titters” v. “Self-Unemployed” (September 1, 2014).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

The Stock Racket

Venturing A Few Unfounded And Unwarranted Predictions (July 13, 2015)

Posted in "L" Shaped Economy, Bankruptcy, Banks and Banking System, Collapse, Depression, Elections, Foreign Policy, Gold, Gold Standard, Kleptocracy, Money, Pensions, Quantitative Easing, Recession, SDR - Special Drawing Rights, Security State, Silver, Silver Standard, Supernova Dollar, Zero Interest Rate Policy on July 13, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

3          “Pensions will be even more problematic.”

4          “When the stock markets reset catastrophically, pensions will need to be reset correspondingly.”

3          “We will need to muster the collective intellect and imagination to craft a provision allowing states to file bankruptcy.”

. . .

3          “Interest rates cannot be allowed to rise and will not be allowed to rise beyond a nominal .25 percent.  Any greater rise would result in devastating financial and economic consequences.  Some nominal rise will be imposed to proclaim that interest rates can indeed rise above zero without negative consequence.  Those citizens who planned to fund a retirement with interest-bearing instruments have been sacrificed and will continue to be sacrificed without even a vote or even a debate on the policy.”

4          “Sacrifices have to be made.  Few folks are concerned or even aware that the Federal Reserve rather than the market sets interest rates.  The way I see it the Petrodollar will continue to rise as other currencies decline and those with the wherewithal seek the safety of the Petrodollar.  At this time.  The Petrodollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency and fundamentally weak foreign economies are a double magnet for money.  When the world establishes its own world currency such as a system of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) and circumvents the Petrodollar, the Petrodollar will explode and decline precipitously in value.  As I describe it, the ‘Supernova Dollar.’  The last American export – the Petrodollar and resulting inflation – will not be imported by the world.”

3          “Along those lines, the physical dollar will disappear from circulation in the United States before it disappears from the world stage.  The U.S. government and large corporations are slowly discouraging and will ultimately outlaw the use of dollars as ‘legal tender’ and as a medium of exchange.  Possession of gold and silver bullion by private citizens also will be outlawed.  The government will outsource to large corporations the issuance and control of the Universal Electronic Benefit Transfer (UEBT) cards to its subjects.  Current credit and debit cards will be re-purposed seamlessly.  The IRS will send a statement each year or even each month dictating one’s tax obligation and deducting the amount owed directly from one’s government controlled account.  As a consequence, everyone’s inclinations, transactions, and movements will be monitored and manipulated as necessary.”

4          “On the other hand, possession of gold and silver in any form by foreign citizens and governments will be the law and settled practice.  The West has readily abandoned gold and silver to an East that has eagerly absorbed the precious metals at rates that have been manipulated down by the West.  And gold and silver will be a component of the Special Drawing Rights.”

3          “The West will no longer be able to use paper and electronic transactions to manipulate the prices of physical gold and silver.”

4          “If the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system and the Petrodollar are circumvented, the West will be less able to use paper and electronic transactions to manipulate prices.”

. . .

3          “The nations in the oil-producing regions will not fight over the oil they have but over the water they do not have with far less involvement of and intervention by the United States.”

4          “Nation-States will also disappear as thriving and functioning communities and be replaced by Corporation-States that dictate policy.  The United States Congress took the lead and sold out to become the ‘Citigroup-Congress’ recently.  More than just naming rights are involved.  Current nations are just entities that can be manipulated and maneuvered to go to war with each other when necessary.”

3          “Along those lines, shares in United States Senators will be sold more openly akin to shares in corporations.  The news will announce that shares in ‘Senator Larry Jenkins, Inc.’ are up 3.1 percent today on news that he will sell his vote for the Big Project.  The John Roberts Supreme Court has endorsed the two-step business plan.  If you pay a politician directly for a vote, you are in trouble; if you pay an intermediary that pays a politician for a vote, you are blessed.”

4          “Notions of freely-established supply and demand for goods, services and commodities will yield to quotas per subject each month.  Without functioning markets and with regular and systematic market manipulation and intervention, notions of inflation and deflation will be antiquated.  World population will continue to grow and resources will continue to be more precious which under the old paradigm would fuel inflation.  However, people will simply do without.”

3          “Along those lines, capitalism is a system that socializes the costs of activities and privatizes the profits.  The end stage is the emergence of a very small cabal who control all resources and allow the subjects access to just enough resources to subsist in a police state that throttles any debate or dissent.”

4           “The treatment of Cyprus and Greece are intermediate stages in the process.”

3          “The future is not unpredictable.”

. . .

[See the efforts to eliminate cash at http://betterthancash.org/.%5D

[See the e-commentary at Monitoring The Masses: The Card And The Chip (January 12, 2015).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

If you do predict a definite event, do not pick a definite date.  If you do pick a definite date, do not predict a definite event.  Unless you want to.

In the past, if you could predict the future accurately, you could make a fortune.  In the present, you can predict the future astutely, but you cannot do much to protect your fortune or your future.  Even if you want to.

“The best way to predict your future is to help create it.”  Attributed to Abraham Lincoln

There are few warning signs on the off ramp down the road to serfdom.

What about global climate change?

Pensions, Conflicts Of Interest And The Illinois Supreme Court (June 1, 2015)

Posted in Conflicts of Interest, Courts, Judges, Judicial Arrogance, Judiciary, Law, Pensions on June 1, 2015 by e-commentary.org

. . .

7          “How the h-e-double hockey sticks can the Illinois Supreme Court rule on a matter that goes to the heart of its and its members core fundamental financial interests – their pensions.”

9          “They are judges.  Period.”

7          “The court as an institution was obligated to recuse itself.  Each justice should have recused himself and herself.”

9          “They are judges.  Period.”

7          “No one will ever get a fair hearing on the matter before a partial court.  Judges like to make a public spectacle about recusing themselves for some minor insignificant matter to give the appearance that the system is fair and impartial.”

9          “They are judges.  Period.”

7          “The constitutional language cited by the court is aspirational and premised on a functioning economic and political system.”

9          “They are judges.  Period.”

7          “The plausible arguments are rejected with some snitty aside that ‘the argument is absolutely without merit’ or some such intellectually dishonest drivel.  And then the court sanctions the attorney.”

9          “They are judges.  Period.  They do what they want to do.  Period.  It is not that difficult.  Period.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at Pensions and Other Entitlements: Pt. 1 (April 14, 2008), Pensions and Other Entitlements: Pt. 2 (April 28, 2008) and June – Celebrate Terrorism-Free Month (June 2, 2014).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Celebrate Terrorism-Free Month in June.  Reject your fears for a few weeks and reflect on your hopes for a few minutes.

“Titters” v. “Self-Unemployed” (September 1, 2014)

Posted in Entitlements, Judicial Arrogance, On [Traits/Characteristics], Pensions, Work on September 1, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

Q          “If you plan to attract an academic clique, you need to concoct your own hip lingo.  Those who are in the know need to believe they are in a selective and exclusive circle.”

P          “I also call them ‘9-to-5ers’.  That is just not as much fun . . . or as facetious.”

. . .

P          “‘Class’ is a telling factor even though we profess to live in a class-free society.  And of course ‘Earnings’ or ‘Income’ however defined are salient traits.”

Q          “Social scientists have it covered with the more antiseptic academic catch-all phrase ‘Socioeconomic Status’.  ‘Race’ is also intertwined with ‘Socioeconomic Status’.”

P          “‘Education’ also impacts and is impacted by ‘Socioeconomic Status’.”

Q          “‘Religion.’  ‘Religion’ and ‘Race’ are related.  Some say that the most segregated hour of the week is every Sunday morning in the houses of worship.”

P          “And one’s ‘Political Party’ is one’s defining clan and secular religion.  Some hypothesize that the Red Clan hates the Blue Clan; the Blue Clan hates the Red Clan.”

. . .

P          “A nuanced understanding of ‘Employment Status’ is also revealing.  The differences between those who are employed and those who are unemployed refine the analysis.  When I poll people who are among the employed cohort, the most defining trait is the difference between those who are ‘Titters’ versus those who are ‘Self-Unemployed’.  Is someone working for the government or working for himself or herself?  The analysis can be expanded to cover anyone getting a regular pay check, yet someone working for a corporation does have an almost certain guarantee of lifetime government employment.  The distinction between ‘Titters’ versus the ‘Self-Unemployed’ is more telling and tells you as much as the other conventional traits.”

Q          “One’s employment circumstance may be even more revealing than whether one is a devotee of the Designated Hitter Rule or not.”

P          “Exactly.  The ‘Titters’ feel entitled to every single penny and will fight for every single penny.  And they are tight with every penny.  ‘I earned it.’  The ‘Titters’ do not feel that they should pay the ‘Self-Unemployed’ for their services.”

. . .

P          “When ‘Titters’ talk about the mission of their bureau, almost without fail they preface the discussion by stating that they cannot get the job done without even more money and even more personnel.  The ‘Self-Unemployed’ admit that they don’t have enough money and personnel, but they soldier on within their limited means.”

Q          “I know one guy who spends his work days twisting paper clips into animal figures and complains that the bureau can’t get the job done without even more money and even more personnel.”

. . .

P          “Those who are ‘Self-Unemployed’ recognize that money is ‘Hard come, easy go’ and are often willing to throw a few dollars into the pot even though they do not know whether the next dollar will arrive.”

Q          “I’ve notice that those who are ‘Self-Unemployed’ also may deduct a few meals that are only quasi business-related and thus spread the costs of their pinching with other citizens.  They may also a slip a few dollars in their pocket without accounting to the Great Uncle.”

P          “Pinching pennies by pinching pennies.  Not a great surprise.”

. . .

P          “Those who work for the government eat.  Those who work for themselves eat . . . what they kill . . . if they kill.”

. . .

P          “Republican Judges and Democratic Judges share one conviction – they will protect their pensions uber alles.  One judge did not have any problem with the plight of a group of new employees who were forced to fund the retirement of an earlier group of retirees even though the new employees could not participate in the retirement fund under any circumstances.”

Q          “Raw naked amoral power, the currency in courts today.  And the judge surely participates in the old plan.  Bankruptcy Judges will be increasingly deciding the issue and rarely are able to repudiate one hard reality.  Resources of a debtor are finite.  Almost all pensions today are actuarially unsound.  If the money is not there in a bankruptcy case, it is not there.”

P          “Judges other than Bankruptcy Judges will find some legal hook to order, adjudge and decree that their pensions shall be paid under any and all circumstances.”

Q          “The new employees are a generation younger than the old employees. The conflict is both intra-generational and inter-generational.”

. . .

_          “A substantial cohort of citizens are entering retirement with no possibility of even maintaining a poverty level life style.  The unfunded Social Security obligations dwarf in comparison to this unrecognized and unanticipated financial burden.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at Pensions and Other Entitlements: Pt. 1 (April 14, 2008) and Pensions and Other Entitlements: Pt. 2 (April 28, 2008) and other e-commentary under the Category on “Pensions” at https://e-commentary.org/category/pensions/.%5D

Bumper stickers of the week:

For folks not working for the government, your retirement party is now known as your funeral.

For folks who are “Self-Unemployed,” your last day on the job is also your last day on the planet.

“Perspectives on Race, Class, Gender, Titters and The Self-Unemployed 101” at 9 a.m. M W F at Mr. and Ms. R. Baron Hall taught by Adjunct Professor of Race, Class, Gender, Titters and The Self-Unemployed H. Sebastian . . . .

Unemployment Insurance = Welfare 2.0 (June 23, 2014)

Posted in Federal Reserve, Insurance, Journalism, Military, Newspapers, Pensions, Personal Story, Press/Media, Unemployment, War, Welfare, Work on June 23, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

E          “They are not coming back.”

U          “And they keep coming.”

. . .

E          “After the War, he moved the family westward from the homestead bequeathed to his older brother to a community with no friends and no connections and moved upward from one manufacturing job to another and then retired as a floor manager.  He put food on the table and kids through college.  He said that all the companies he worked for have gone out of business or moved overseas.  Most of the pension funds were dissipated or disappeared.”

U          “Those returning from the current wars are not finding opportunities.  Those who stayed have not found opportunities.”

E          “Years ago, some guys worked at a service station checking the tires and washing the windows and graduated to a mechanics job for life.  Now there is no service and far fewer mechanics positions.”

U          “Yesterday’s grease monkey with a G.E.D. is today’s barista with a B.A.”

. . .

E          “Many of the jobs are undertaken by a robot that may never craft an inspiring poem or participate in a parent-teacher conference, yet it produces a consistently high quality product very efficiently.”

U          “A company can use the robots to fine-tune the built-in obsolescence.  The product can be designed and manufactured to fail ten minutes after the limited warranty expires.  And robots are not the most efficient consumers of their own products.”

. . .

E          “The Federal Reserve is untethered by the Constitution, Congress or common sense except for a mandate in the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act to address unemployment in its decision-making.  The Fed has knowingly pursued decisions that do nothing to promote employment and do much to transfer wealth to the wealthy.”

U          “The Republicans respond with the obscene lie that a reduction in the capital gains rate will reduce unemployment.  The Press almost always gives them a pass.”

. . .

E          “Unemployment insurance originally covered thirteen weeks and then twenty-six weeks and then up to seventy-three weeks in many jurisdictions.  Some are calling for further extensions of unemployment insurance.”

U          “The insurance is becoming a tenuous version of ‘Welfare 2.0.’”

. . .

E          “What happens when thoughtful people realize that the jobs are never coming back.”

U          “The unemployed are categorized under the ‘U6 Unemployment’ category and forgotten.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Get a job

Where?