America’s public pension funds are in trouble because sketchy Mr. Wall Street sold some slack-jawed pension fund managers on risky investments with promises of high returns that may never materialize. Or so Matt Taibbi seems to believe. In a recent piece in Rolling Stone Magazine, Taibbi blames public pensions’ current woes on “Gordon Gekko wanna-be’s” (sic) and “Wall Street,” who used the financial crisis to lure weakened pension funds into investing in “alternatives.” Alternatives are investment vehicles that are different from stocks, bonds, and commodities in that they are typically traded by individuals without the benefit of an exchange,
Yep, it´s all Wall Street´s fault, and George Bush´s fault, and the Tea Party , too. It´s not the fault of democratic run municipalities that promised 6 figure pensions and golden health plans knowing they would no longer be in office when the chickens came home to roost.
I have worked with Defined Benefit Plans since 1977 (just after ERISA became effective). The problem with "Public Pension Plans" has nothing to do with what Wall Street has done. EVERYONE has been investing in the same climate. There´s no difference in Public versus Private in that regard.
The problem is that the Public Plans have been run by the same individuals that seem to get their hands on Government programs. They are NOT QUALIFIED and they mess things up.
The same is true with Union Plans.
Think about the investment climate in the last 35 years....most people have made a fortune. The "risky" market has paid off handsomely.
No...the problem has been that people have allowed unreasonable "assumptions" to drive costs down, and then given themselves, or negotiated for themselves, increased UNFUNDED BENEFITS.
I deal with some plans that have been "conservative" in their approach and they are funded at well over 110%, some higher than that.
Additionally, #2 I have tried to explain to my idiot co-workers how the numbers 3 and 7 relate to our pension funding. See, our Fund Managers-good liberals all- have always CLAIMED to get %7 return. The reality is under %3. BIG problem if you base your contributions on fallacious numbers.
It´s not judges and planners who stole the money. It´s the elected officials. State and local governments haven´t funded pensions like they were required by law to do. Instead, they have used the money to expand government, give themselves pay raises and create jobs for relatives and campaign donors.
#2 has it correct. Government at every level has given themselves benefits that are unfunded and most of all, unsustainable. Deals were made between unions and management that both knew could not be sustained in the long run, knowing they were not going to be around when the * hit the fan. Meanwhile, the taxpayer is left holding the bag.
The Senate was no longer functioning properly, a member of the majority party leadership argued on the floor of the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body, as a prickly minority single-mindedly thwarted the president’s appointment powers, thus abusing its role of advising on and consenting to White House nominations. “To correct this abuse,” the member went on, “the majority in the Senate is prepared to restore the Senate’s traditions and precedents to ensure that regardless of party, any president’s judicial nominees, after full and fair debate, receive a simple up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. It is time to move away from
Nothing is more important in agriculture than place. What is successful on one kind of soil in one kind of climate won’t necessarily work in another place with a different soil or different weather patterns. Farmers have always gained the knowledge necessary to understand a place through hard-won and rarely transferable experience. What farmer Brown knows about his land might travel down the road a few miles, but it is less applicable on a similar farm in a different part of the country. This idea of place is what drives the local food movement. Wineries brag about the perfection of
A minor eruption of articles and blog posts has noted the emergence of a new grammatical entity, the “prepositional because.” That’s the label for this construction: “Let´s start with the dull stuff, because pragmatism.” That’s how one of the articles, in The Atlantic, cleverly begins. “Because,” up to now one of the popular subordinating conjunctions, here is dubbed a preposition because, well, nothing else even remotely fits. Much discussion has ensued about the linguistic versatility of the construction. It turns out, upon examination, that “because” can be followed not just by a noun but by a verb, an adjective, or
According to an old saying, when the winds are strong even turkeys fly. If ever there was a case to which this would adage apply, it would be that of the market’s present favor for Greek government bonds. Over the past year, as the market has stretched for yield in a low interest rate global environment, the Greek government’s long-term borrowing cost has declined from over 18 percent to 8.5 percent currently. And it has done so despite increased signs that Greece lacks the political willingness to resolve the many deep-seated problems that still characterize the Greek economy.
The Obama administration’s ongoing delay in approving the Keystone XL pipeline – which would transport Canadian oil to U.S. refiners on the Gulf of Mexico – is ostensibly based on concerns over the safety and reliability of oil pipelines, as well as concerns over climate change. At first, concerns focused on the protection of the Ogallala aquifer, but once the pipeline was re-routed to minimize such risks, climate concerns came to the fore. Discussing the pipeline last summer, President Obama focused on carbon, insisting that Keystone would not be approved if it will “significantly contribute to carbon in our atmosphere.”
Did President Obama lie to Americans when he said that those who liked their current health insurance policies could keep them? Or was he simply out of the loop when it came down to the details of his health care reform, as he has claimed in his own defense — a defense that comes suspiciously close to Bart Simpson’s “I didn’t do it” denials. How could a man of Obama’s obvious intelligence fail to know something so critical to the success of his most significant piece of legislation? Since Obama is not a fool, he must be a liar.
As the old saying goes, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows — or doesn’t blow nearly as much as in earlier years, as the data show for tornado activity in the United States, and for tornadoes and cyclone activity more generally. The global warming/climate change industrial complex, confronted with growing bodies of scientific analysis and data both inconsistent with climate change orthodoxy and difficult to dismiss, slowly is coming unglued, producing analyses that conflict and ancillary effects — in particular, the collapse of “carbon trading” programs — not helpful to the cause.
In May of 1541, Spanish explorers under Francisco Vásquez de Coronado camped on the rim of Palo Duro Canyon and joined together in a celebration of thanksgiving. Nearly a quarter-century later, French Huguenot colonists at Fort Caroline, Florida, set aside a day for solemn praise and thanksgiving in June 1564. In the summer of 1607, English settlers in Maine united with Abnaki Indians for a harvest feast. Three years later, English colonists in Jamestown held a jubilant day of thanksgiving when fresh supply ships arrived, providing the surviving colonists with much-needed food after a severe winter and disastrous drought.
As Paul Krugman details in a recent column, many mainstream economists are concerned that a depressed economy may be the new norm. The case “was made forcefully recently at the most ultrarespectable of venues, the IMF’s big annual research conference,” he writes. Robert J. Gordon, Stanley G. Harris Professor at Northwestern University, has dismissed the job-creating potential of technological optimists’ favorite projects like biotechnology and self-driving cars, and concluded: “The future of American economic growth is dismal, and policy solutions are elusive.” Among others, the economics Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps has deplored the decline of America’s innovative spirit.
For everyone then alive, it remains a moment frozen in time. I was a 19-year-old Vanderbilt University sophomore having lunch in the Gold Room, Vanderbilt’s snack bar. I was sitting in an overstuffed leather chair and in the act of inserting a hot dog into my mouth when one of the ladies who worked the counter came in from another room where there was a television. In a voice as devoid of emotion as if she were announcing, “They say it’s going to rain this weekend,” she said, to no one in particular, “They say the president’s been shot.”
Whether it’s a second shooter on the grassy knoll, inconsistencies in the Warren Commission investigation, or the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby, Americans are still drawn to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago. But what contributes to the durability of these conspiracy theories? Certainly their plausibility has something to do with it. But like a good conspiracy theory itself, there’s more to it than the immediate explanation. In the days following President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the National Opinion Research Center was in the field polling a stunned nation.
Anyone with a modicum of knowledge regarding public health will agree that the most important, devastating, and preventable issue facing America is the human toll of cigarettes. Yet our nation’s main health regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will issue regulations within the next few weeks that could harm our nation’s 45 million smokers. Smokers trying to quit have an extremely difficult time, yet a new technology which might ease their path — electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes — is facing relentless opposition from public health agencies like the FDA and CDC, and their antipathy is certainly not based on science.
New York — The anchor who might beat Bill O’Reilly gets her eyelash extensions applied one at a time, with tweezers and dabs of glue, about 90 minutes before showtime, right after a motorized gun sprays foundation over her face, neck, shoulders, collarbone and sternum, wiping out a galaxy of light freckles that spreads across her — Let me stop you right there. Photos of the day Uruguay legalizes marijuana, Kiev police pull back from protesters, aging U.S. prison population and more. Tuesday´s Photos of the day Would you write this way about a man? About O’Reilly himself? At least that’s what Megyn Kelly might ask at
In August 2013 I became very sick with what I thought was a cold. After a few days I lost vision in my left eye and I checked into the hospital. I soon found out that what I thought was a summer cold was actually Strep bacteria poisoning my blood stream. The bacteria blinded my left eye, ate a hole through my heart, caused five strokes on both sides of my brain and forced the removal of my prosthetic left knee. Dr. Lee was the surgeon assigned to perform open heart surgery. What was originally scheduled to last four hours ended
When I was a kid, I knew two different Santa Clauses. The first had a fat belly, rosy cheeks, a long white beard, and skin as pink as bubble gum. He was omnipresent, visiting my pre-school and the local mall, visible in all of my favorite Christmas specials. Then there was the Santa in my family’s household, in the form of ornaments, cards, and holiday figurines. A near-carbon copy of the first one—big belly, rosy cheeks, long white beard: check, check, check. But his skin was as dark as mine. Seeing two different Santas was bewildering. Eventually I asked my father what
Johannesburg - A man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela´s memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a "fake," the national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa said on Tuesday. Asked about the claim by The Associated Press, South Africa´s government said it was preparing a statement. Three sign language experts said the man was not signing in South African or American sign languages. South African sign language covers all of the country´s 11 official languages, according to the federation. It wasn´t immediately clear if the unidentified man was using a
The health director who approved the release of President Obama’s birth certificate has died in a plane crash, Hawaiian officials said Thursday. Loretta Fuddy died after the Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft she was travelling on went down shortly after leaving Kalaupapa Airport at around 3:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. ET) on Wednesday. The other eight people on board were rescued, Richard Schuman, president of Makani Kai Air, told NBC News early Thursday, adding that that there was no indication as to why the plane had crashed. Fuddy hit the headlines two years ago when she approved a waiver request allowing Obama to
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) snapped at conservative groups that have come out in opposition to the budget deal reached Wednesday between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). "They´re using the American people for their own purposes. This is ridiculous," Boehner said at a press conference with other members of House Republican leadership on Wednesday. Over the past few days, a number of conservative groups have blasted the deal because it sets discretionary spending levels in the budget higher than previous levels under sequestration. In the past three days, the influential Heritage Action, Club for Growth, Americans
Views of the tea party are at all-time lows in a new poll, as primary challenges to establishment Republicans continue to heat up Washington. Just 30 percent of Americans view the tea party favorably in a new Gallup poll released Wednesday, the movement’s lowest point since Gallup began polling about it during its rise in 2010. Also in a first, a majority of Americans had an unfavorable view of the tea party, at 51 percent. Similar numbers of respondents described themselves as proponents or opponents of the tea party: Twenty-two percent identified themselves as tea party supporters, while 24 percent said they
Looks like this president can’t get away with flirting in front of his wife… It appears that first lady Michelle Obama was none too pleased with the way that President Barack Obama was acting toward Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt during a ceremony honoring Nelson Mandela, and before too long, they switched seats. This lmao! Michelle Obama vs Prime Minister of Denmark at Mandela´s ceremony. pic.twitter.com/Rq4uF9fTaZ — Stun (@TheBlogPirate) December 10, 2013
The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela´s memorial yesterday "made up his own signs," according to South Africa´s deaf federation. "He´s a complete fraud," Cara Loening, director of Sign Language Education and Development in Cape Town, said according to ITV News. "He wasn´t even doing anything, There was not one sign there. Nothing. He was literally flapping his arms around." Delphin Hlungwane, an official South African sign language interpreter at DeafSA, told Reuters:
THE Internet has been abuzz over the spectacle of President Obama and the prime ministers of Britain and Denmark snapping a photo of themselves — a “selfie,” to use the mot du jour — with a smartphone at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa on Tuesday. Leaving aside whether it was appropriate, the moment captured the democratization of image making that is a hallmark of our gadget-filled, technologically rich era. Manifestly undemocratic, in contrast, is the way Mr. Obama’s administration — in hypocritical defiance of the principles of openness and transparency he campaigned on — has systematically tried
If you go down on the ice today you´re sure of a big surprise - a rare glimpse of 20 polar bears gorging on a bloody midnight feast. These photographs show a rare cluster of males, females and cubs all dining out on the remains of a whale carcass. They spent a night and a day stripping every last morsel from the mammoth sea creature. Usually Polar bears are solitary and would never tolerate being so close to each other. But with food in plentiful supply and bellies dragging on the floor they seem too lethargic to fight.Wildlife photographer Michal