Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pension Crisis

Pension Crisis Too Big for Markets to Ignore, by Danielle DiMartino Booth, 3/24/17, Bloomberg

In late 2006, Aaron Krowne, a computer scientist and mathematician, started a website that documented the real-time destruction of the subprime mortgage lending industry. The Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter caught on like wildfire with financial market voyeurs, regularly reaching 100,000 visitors. West Coast lenders, some may recall, were the first to fall in what eventually totaled 388 casualties.

A year earlier, to much less fanfare, Jack Dean launched another website in anticipation of the different kind of wave washing up on the California coastline. Called the Pension Tsunami, the website was originally conceived to provide Golden State taxpayers with a one-stop resource to track news stories on the state’s mammoth and numerous underfunded public pensions.

Dean came about his inspiration honestly: “I started tracking this issue in 2004 after the Orange County Board of Supervisors gave a retroactive pension formula increase of 62 percent to county employees,” he said. “I was stunned. It’s the main reason Orange County has a $4.5 billion underfunded liability today.”

As the years have passed, though, the site has become a font of information for states and municipalities nationwide as well as corporate pensions. In all, over 40,000 headlines have been posted to the website to date. On a recent Friday, Dean posted multiple stories on the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the country’s largest pension program, as well as a budget cliff facing San Francisco, six Los Angeles public safety officers who collected over $1 million apiece last year in pensions, and eight cities that could face bankruptcy when the next recession hits. But the day’s headlines also included the latest on 
the fiasco unfolding in Dallas, an update on Houston’s less awful situation and features on states that have become the site's other usual suspects -- Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey. And that was a slow news day.
The question is why haven’t the headlines presaged pension implosions? As was the case with the subprime crisis, the writing appears to be on the wall. And yet calamity has yet to strike. How so? Call it the triumvirate of conspirators – the actuaries, accountants and their accomplices in office.

Throw in the law of big numbers, very big numbers, and you get to a disaster in a seemingly permanent state of making. Unfunded pension obligations have risen to $1.9 trillion from $292 billion since 2007.

Credit rating firms have begun downgrading states and municipalities whose pensions risk overwhelming their budgets. New Jersey and the cities of Chicago, Houston and Dallas are some of the issuers in the crosshairs. Morgan Stanley says municipal bond issuance is down this year in part because of borrowers are wary of running up new debts to effectively service pensions.

Federal Reserve data show that in 1952, the average public pension had 96 percent of its portfolio invested in bonds and cash equivalents. Assets matched future liabilities. But a loosening of state laws in the 1980s opened the door to riskier investments. In 1992, fixed income and cash had fallen to an average of 47 percent of holdings. By 2016, these safe investments had declined to 27 percent.

It’s no coincidence that pensions’ flight from safety has coincided with the drop in interest rates. That said, unlike their private peers, public pensions discount their liabilities using the rate of returns they assume their overall portfolio will generate. In fiscal 2016, which ended June 30th, the 
average return for public pensions was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 percent.

Corporations’ accounting rules dictate the use of more realistic bond yields to discount their pensions’ future liabilities. Put differently, companies have been forced to set aside something closer to what it will really cost to service their obligations as opposed to the fantasy figures allowed among public pensions.

So why not just flip the switch and require truth and honesty in public pension math? Too many cities and potentially states would buckle under the weight of more realistic assumed rates of return. By some estimates, unfunded liabilities would triple to upwards of $6 trillion if the prevailing yields on Treasuries were used. That would translate into much steeper funding requirements at a time when budgets are already severely constrained. Pockets of the country would face essential public service budgets being slashed to dangerous levels.

What’s a pension to do? Increasingly, the answer is swing for the fences. Forget the fact that just under half of pension assets are in the second-most overvalued stock market in history. Even as Fed officials publicly fret about commercial real estate valuations, pensions have socked away eight percent of their portfolios into this less than liquid asset class. Even further out on the risk and liquidity spectrum is the 10 percent that pensions have allocated to private equity and limited partnerships. For the better part of a decade, New Albion Partners Chief Market Strategist Brian Reynolds has tracked pensions’ allocations to these so-called alternative investments, and the total is approaching $350 billion.

The working assumption is that the Pension Tsunami will never make land fall, but the next time you take comfort in the sanctity of pensions given they have yet to self-destruct, ask yourself instead how they are hedged in the event of a correction. Will it be their bond, stock, real estate or private equity holdings that shield their portfolios? Or will it be none of the above?


Comments

There is a website monitoring pension failures at:

There is another website monitoring our actual $100 trillion US National Debt at:


Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

Lawless Public Schools

An Obama Decree Continues to Make Public Schools Lawless

To improve education, allow teachers to administer discipline regardless of race. by Jason L. Riley, 3/21/17,

In 2012 the Education Department released a national study showing that black students are suspended from school at a higher rate than whites, and the findings fueled a predictable debate over whether school discipline policies are racist. Two years later, the department sent a letter to school districts warning them to do something about the disparity—in effect, to stop suspending so many disruptive black students or risk becoming the subject of a federal civil-rights investigation—and the results have been just as predictable.

The title alone of a new report on the fallout, “School Discipline Reform and Disorder,” might tell you all you need to know. The author, Max Eden of the Manhattan Institute, notes that 27 states and more than 50 of the country’s largest school districts have moved to reduce suspensions in recent years, often to the dismay of those on the front lines.

A Chicago teacher said her school became “lawless” after the new discipline policy was implemented. A teacher in Oklahoma City said “we were told that referrals would not require suspension unless there was blood.” A Buffalo teacher who was kicked in the head by a student said his charges are well aware of the new policy. “The kids walk around and say ‘We can’t get suspended—we don’t care what you say.’ ”

WSJ OPINION LIVE FROM DALLAS
Jason Riley will join Paul Gigot, Karl Rove and Kimberley Strassel next Tuesday for a discussion about President Trump’s first 100 days. Watch the event live on

WSJ.com/Opinion, and sign up to get an email reminder here. Mr. Eden’s report isn’t just a collection of anecdotes. It also includes plenty of empirical data that point to a change for the worse in school order. In New York City, home to the nation’s largest school system, suspensions rose steadily between 2002 and 2011 under former mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose policies targeted disruptive students in the most violent schools. But Mr. Bloomberg softened his position somewhat in 2012 for first-time offenders, and his successor, Bill de Blasio, who assumed office in 2014, has made it much more difficult to suspend even those students who’ve committed repeated infractions. Following the implementation of these reforms, school suspensions in New York fell by nearly 50%, but survey data of students, teachers and parents show that the learning climate in many schools has suffered. Moreover, the effects of the new policies haven’t been evenly distributed, especially under the current mayor, writes Mr. Eden. “Under de Blasio’s discipline reform, of schools that serve 90+% minority students, nearly 60% saw a deterioration in mutual student respect, about 50% saw a deterioration in student-reported physical fighting, more than 40% saw a deterioration in teacher-reported order and discipline, and nearly 40% saw an increase in student-reported drug and alcohol use and gang activity.” Overall, fighting, gang activity and drug use worsened at three times as many schools as saw an improvement. None of this is likely to sway liberals who believe that racism explains all racial disparities, but Mr. Eden has performed a public service. The left’s decision to place the welfare of the bullies and thugs above the welfare of kids who are in school to learn is counterproductive.

Thanks to liberal opposition to school choice—Mr. de Blasio is opposed to opening more charter schools in a city where more than 40,000 students are on charter waiting lists—a disproportionate number of black kids wallow in dropout factories with the least experienced teachers. How does making these schools more violent and disordered help matters? Given that we see significant racial differences in behavior outside school, it’s not very surprising that we would see it inside schools, too, unless you believe that all antisocial behavior begins after graduation. And before we conclude that racist policies or teachers or administrators are to blame for these outcomes, we need to explain why white students are suspended at higher rates than their Asians counterparts. Is the system antiwhite as well, or do rates of discipline reflect different behavior among different groups?

Before playing the race card, it also helps to factor in the racial makeup of the people running public schools. Over the past three decades, the number of minority teachers has more than doubled and their growth has far outpaced that of white teachers. A 2016 federal study noted that “high-poverty elementary and secondary schools employed a greater percentage of black and Hispanic teachers and a smaller percentage of white teachers than did low-poverty schools.” In Boston, 45% of public school students are black, along with 21% of teachers and 38% of principals. 

In Washington, close to half of all teachers are black, as are two-thirds of the students. In Chicago, blacks comprise 37% of students, 43% of principals and 22% of teachers. The racial makeup of the adults who staff large urban school districts ought to further undermine the racism charge. The Obama administration “guidance” on school discipline is still in effect, but the Trump administration can withdraw it at any time. What’s taking so long? An Obama Decree Continues to Make Public Schools Lawless


An Obama Decree Continues to Make Public Schools Lawless By Jason L. Riley To improve education, allow teachers to administer discipline regardless of race.  

Reducing Healthcare Costs

A better way to reduce healthcare costs is to reverse the actions that caused it in the first place.  First, we need to restore low cost volunteer and faith-based care and county health clinics for the poor to perform rescue and repair. Then we need to remove illegal aliens and refugees from all US federal welfare programs. Next, we need to allow hospitals and doctors to refuse to take patients that will not or cannot pay their medical bills. Next we need to restrict public schools to only serve US citizens.  Next, we need to limit the right to file malpractice suits to remove defensive medicine practices. We need to repeal all federal, state, county and city laws that interfere with medical provider and insurance operations that drive up costs.  We need to allow insurance companies to sell whatever they want and consumers to buy whatever they need and can afford.

 

Finally, we need to repeal Obamacare and allow consumers to determine how and where they want to spend their healthcare dollars.  If government wants to help, they can allow for all IRS 502 deductions and allow consumers to set up health savings accounts.

 

Then, we need to establish US citizen identification and take steps to remove voter fraud, tax fraud and prevent identity theft.  We need to remove non-citizens from CID tax credit eligibility and have non-citizens use non-citizen tax forms, work permit cards and non-citizen drivers’ licenses. Then, we need to establish English as our “official language. We need to update voter registration lists in all US counties annually.



Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader

Special Prosecutors

How Democrats use Special Prosecutors to do their Dirty Work. Video by Dick Morris
 Special Prosecutors are used to launch political attacks. There were several of these since the 1990s.
 http://www.dickmorris.com/democrats-use-special-prosecutors-dirty-work-history-video/?utm_source=
dmreports &utm_medium=dmreports&utm_campaign=dmreports

Repealing the Civil Rights Act

There is a case to be made to repeal all US anti-discrimination laws.  The Act was passed to end racial segregation laws in the South, but it should have been limited to ending the most offensive practices like restricting access to public bathrooms, water fountains and bus seats. That would have been enough to signal a change. The federal government could have accompanied this change with the truth that all people are equally able and encourage employers to begin to realize this.

 

The government could have desegregated the government workforce gradually to ensure that their hires were based on ability with no regard to race or sex. Hotels and restaurants could have voluntarily relaxed their segregation practices. Limiting the Civil Rights Act would have reasserted employers’ rights to hire whoever they wanted to hire. 

 

Instead, the Civil Rights Act led to the Employment Law scam. Once the right to hire was infringed, a myriad of other equally unnecessary employment laws were imposed in 1989.

 

The Civil Rights Act started a feeding frenzy to establish the class identity scam. The law was expanded include everybody else to no effect.  Adding religion was a joke. The government launched the war on Christianity in the 1960s and it continues today.  Adding women gave the government cover to debase the dollar and send everybody’s mom to work to pay for Lyndon Johnson’s wars on poverty and Vietnam.

 

Anti-discrimination laws caused the 2008 Mortgage meltdown, because the Community Reinvestment Act of 1993 and HUD rules forced lenders to give mortgages to unqualified buyers.

 

Now we have the Muslims using US discrimination law to invade the US through the UN refugee program, open borders and excessive legal immigration. We have “gays” insisting to join the scam and be included as a “protected group”.  The US Congress has not included “gays” in the Civil Rights Act, but municipalities have added anti-discrimination to their ordinances.  Also, most global corporations have anti-discrimination policies they have expanded to prevent religious liberty bills from passing through State legislatures.

 

You can go to jail and get fined in Canada for criticizing gays and other “minorities”. All of these laws infringe on the basic rights of all citizens and will eventually encourage revolt.

 

This revolt will be limited to much closer vetting of elected officials and will take place in the voting booth. Citizens should start drafting Bills to require complete disclosure of candidate voting records, decisions, scorecards, positions on issues and full resumes for candidates to add to their campaign websites.

 

The US Congress will need to declare that the Civil Rights Act did its job, is no longer necessary and has become a threat to the basic rights of all citizens.  It also needs to restore employer rights by repealing all useless and harmful employment laws ever passed.

 

If this doesn’t happen, the war on Christianity and the loss of freedom of association will continue.  If it does happen, the focus of US Law will shift back to the Constitution and that will be enough to remain a “Christian country”.

 

Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader


London Burning

Welcome to London: We can say we’re not afraid, light candles and make hearts of our hands but the truth is that we can’t go on like this, says KATIE HOPKINS 

They stood in the centre of Brussels. Row on row. Hands held high, making hearts to the heavens. Showing the slaughtered they were not forgotten. Reminding themselves they were here with love. Looking to show humanity wins. That love conquers all.

They lay in the centre of London, face down where they fell. Stabbed by a knife, rammed with a car, flung, broken, into the Thames, life bleeding out on the curb. And the news came thick and fast.

A car rammed deliberately into pedestrians on the bridge. Ten innocents down. A police officer stabbed at the House of Commons. Confirmed dead. Another woman now, dead at the scene. Shots fired. An Asian man rushed to hospital.

A woman, plucked from the water. And I grew colder. And more tiny. No anger for me this time. No rage like I’ve felt before. No desperate urge to get out there and scream at the idiots who refused to see this coming. Not even a nod for the glib idiots who say this will not defeat us, that we will never be broken, that cowardice and terror will not get the better of Britain.

Because, as loyal as I am, as patriotic as I am, as much as my whole younger life was about joining the British military and fighting for my country — I fear we are broken. Not because of this ghoulish spectacle outside our own Parliament. Not because of the lives rammed apart on the pavement, even as they thought about what was for tea. Or what train home they might make.

But because this is us now. This is our country now. This is what we have become. To this, we have been reduced.
Because all the while those forgiving fools in Brussels stood with their stupid hands raised in hearts to the sky, another mischief was in the making. More death was in the pipeline.

As the last life-blood of a police officer ran out across the cobbles, the attacker was being stretchered away in an attempt to save his life.

London is a city so desperate to be seen as tolerant, no news of the injured was released. No clue about who was safe or not.

Liberals convince themselves multiculturalism works because we all die together, too. An entire city of monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Blind. Deaf. And dumb.

Immersed in a seething pit of hatred, hidden in pockets of communities plagued by old animosities and ancient strife.
These people may have left their lands. But they have brought every tension, every conflict, every bit of fight here with them.

The Afghans hate the Somalias who loathe the Eritreans. As it was before, it is now. London is a city of ghettos behind a thin veneer of civility kept polished by a Muslim mayor whose greatest validation is his father's old job.
Son-of-a-bus-driver Sadiq.

I see him now, penning a missive about how London is a beautiful and tolerant city, how we are united by shared values and understanding, and how we will not be cowed by terror. Sure enough, there he was, saying exactly that, just now. Fool.

Even as mothers text to check their children are safe. Including my own, worrying about me as I sit overlooking the scene, feeling fearful of this place where monsters lurk and steal lives away in an instant. For nothing.

I would ask Sadiq to stop talking. Empty words. Meanwhile, banning pictures of women in bikinis on the Underground. How does that help? Please, no hashtag, no vigil, no tea lights. I am begging you not to light up Parliament in the colours of the Union.

Because we are not united. We are wrenched asunder. The patriots of the rest of England versus the liberals in this city. The endless tolerance to those who harm us, (while the Home Office tries to shift the focus of public fear to white terror) — versus the millions like me who face the truth, with worried families and hopeless hearts, who feel the country sinking.

We are taken under the cold water by this heavy right foot in the south, a city of lead, so desperately wedded to the multicultural illusion that it can only fight those who love the country the most, blame those who are most proud to be British, and shout racist at the 52%.

This place is just like Sweden. Terrified of admitting the truth about the threat we face, about the horrors committed by the migrants we failed to deter — because to admit that we are sinking, and fast, would be to admit that everything the liberals believe is wrong.

That multiculturalism has not worked. That it is one big fat failure and one big fat lie.

President Erdogan of Turkey said there is a war being waged between the crescent and the cross. But he is wrong. Because the cross is not strong. We are down on bended knee, a doormat to be trodden on, a joke only funny to those that wish us harm.

The war is between London and the rest of the country. Between the liberals and the right-minded. Between those who think it is more important to tip-toe around the cultures of those who choose to join us, rather than defend our own culture.

Katie Hopkins says these incidents are no longer unusual, but commonplace -  How many more times? And how many more attacks must pass before we acknowledge these are no longer the acts of ‘extremists’? That there is no safe badge with which to hold these people at arm’s length, in the way the liberals casually use the term 'far-right' for anyone who has National pride. These events are no longer extreme. They are commonplace. Every day occurrences.

These people are no longer extremists. They are simply more devout. More true to their beliefs. Beliefs which will be supported endlessly across our state broadcaster for the next few months until we buy into the narrative that one religion is not to blame. That in fact we should blame Brexit supporters. For believing in a Britain. As it was before.
Anything but the truth.

This is why there is no anger from me this time, no rage. No nod for those who pretend we will not be cowed, even as they rush home to text their mum they are safe. No surprise that the city of which I was so proud is now punctured by fear, and demarcated even more formally by places we cannot tread; there were always parts in which a white woman could not safely walk.

Now I feel only sadness, overwhelming sadness. I will walk over the river tonight and look to the Thames, to the Union flag lowered at half mast, and the Parliament below, and I will wonder, just how much longer we can go on like this.  




Removing UN Sabotage

The UN has always been overpriced and underperforming, but in 1992 it became the enemy of the citizens of every sovereign nation that supports it when it published UN Agenda 21. 


This needs to be eradicated in the US by first canceling George HW Bush’s adoption of UN Agenda 21 and Clinton’s order to implement it.  Trump can do this on his own. After that, the Congress should repeal any UN Agenda 21 enabling laws and so should the States, counties and cities who adopted Agenda 21 enabling laws.

 

UN Agenda 21 is the implementation plan for governments to adopt that will enable the “new world order” including a global government controlled by a Marxist oligarchy and fronted by UN bureaucrats.  Its goals include the reduction of the global population to 500,000 government employees settled in “mega-cities” in “transit villages”.  There would be no private property rights, no free market economy, no single family housing and no elected governance.  All current sovereign nations would be dissolved along with their Constitutions.  The global population would be ruled by an oligarchy of elites. There would be no freedom of speech, free association, movement or religion.

 

The justification for UN Agenda 21 was the global warming hoax that the UN admitted to when it published UN Agenda 2030, justified by the “world hunger” hoax. The UN supports policies that cause world hunger.

 

There are around 200 member countries and all of them condone varying degrees of corruption and they don’t attempt to improve the well-being of their citizens.  They are all about protecting the power and control of their ruling elite.  The exception is Donald Trump, who wants to reform the ruling elite and challenge all other nations to do the same and put their citizens first.

 

Trump has already started to defund UN waste, overreach, fraud and abuse within his power as President of the United States. Trump has encouraged UK citizens to regain control of their own law making powers and exit from the EU and other European nations are following suit.

 

The big battle today is between the UN globalists and our survival. 



Norb Leahy, Dunwoody GA Tea Party Leader