Entries by Mike Shedlock

Illinois Financial Apocalypse – $163 Billion Accumulated Liabilities

Editor’s Note:  If you think what’s happening in Illinois can’t happen here, think again. For starters, read these two studies by the California Policy Center, (1) “Calculating California’s Total State and Local Government Debt,” and (2) “Comprehensive Review of California School Bonds.” While experts disagree over what is a reasonable rate-of-return projection for pension fund […]

Aggregate U.S. Pension Data Shows Grim Outlook

Editor’s Note:  This analysis by economics blogger Mike Shedlock clearly shows why government employee pensions are taking an awful risk by continuing to forecast annual investment returns of 7.0% or more per year. In his first chart Shedlock points out how between 2008 and 2014 the aggregate value of state and local government worker pension […]

Volcker Sounds Alarm Over States' Budget Gimmicks and Pension Assumptions

The Volcker Alliance, founded by former Fed chairman Paul Volcker has sounded an alarm over budget gimmicks. The alliance seeks Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting. In the report, the Volcker Alliance examines in detail the budgeting practices of California, New Jersey and Virginia, assessing the effectiveness of each state’s practices. The report highlights the […]

CalPERS and Unions Win Again – Taxpayers and Bondholders Lose

In bankruptcy, the federal courts have ruled that cities can reduce pension obligations. They can, but they don’t have to. In Detroit, bondholders were sacrificed to maintain police and fire pensions with minimal haircuts. On Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury ruled against bondholders in favor of Calpers in the San Bernardino bankruptcy. She acknowledged […]

Michigan Court: Reduce Pensions or Reduce Retirement Health Benefits

Editor’s Note: Notwithstanding recent court challenges that could go either way, one way to negotiate meaningful steps towards financially sustainable defined benefit pensions, i.e., reductions or suspensions of COLAs, prospective reductions in the multiplier, increased employee contributions towards the unfunded liability and not just towards the normal contribution, etc., is to offer to reduce OPEB […]

How Unions and Bankers Hide Chicago's Poor Financial Health

Editor’s Note:  Nearly everything described in this lengthy expose on the perilous financial condition of the City of Chicago, and the ways it has been obscured for so long, also neatly applies in many if not most of California’s large cities. Also directly applicable to California’s cities are the author’s descriptions of how the unions representing […]

Union Group Mobilizes "Against" Pay Hike

In what may be a first (otherwise an extreme rarity), a substantial force within a union has mobilized against a pay hike to $9.00 per hour from essentially nothing. “Nothing” you say? Yes, it happens in small non-profit theaters that pay aspiring actors $7 to $15 per performance. Rehearsal time does not count. Curiously, but rightfully […]

Wayne County Michigan – Following Detroit into Bankruptcy

Just as Detroit is coming out of bankruptcy, the entire county is about to go under. This will be especially aggravating because Detroit pensioners are already extremely upset with the pension haircuts they received. In the “too late to complain now” category, Wayne County now seeks to overturn the Detroit bankruptcy settlement. Lawyers will have […]

Federal Judge Smacks CalPERS on Sanctity of Pensions

Exceptionally good news from California today: A federal judge ruled Calpers claim of “Sanctity of Pensions” is invalid. Today’s ruling went even further than the bankrupt city of Stockton originally sought in court. For details, please consider the New York Times article In Ruling on California Town’s Bankruptcy, Judge Challenges Sanctity of Pensions.  A federal bankruptcy […]

Meet "McCashier" Your $15.00 Per Hour McDonald's Worker Replacement

Editor’s Note:  Successful union activism in support of a $15/hour minimum wage will not only reduce the supply of entry level jobs – it will have a disproportionate negative impact on small businesses. Large corporations will invest directly in – or offer their franchisees access to – specialized automation equipment. Small businesses will not have […]

Los Angeles Careens Towards Bankruptcy – Retirement Benefits Are Biggest Driver

The Los Angeles 2020 Commission studied among other things the sorry state of LA’s pension mess. In a case of can-kicking extraordinaire, its recommendation was to appoint another commission to further study the problem. Please consider Report Finds Los Angeles at Risk of Decline  A scathing verdict on Los Angeles’s civic health that was delivered in a one-two […]

Union Goon-Squad "THUGs" Thwart Reform in Pennsylvania

A “goon-squad” group named The Helpful Union Guys (THUG), members of Ironworkers Local 401 set fires, started riots, and took crowbars to the competition in an effort to protect union jobs. THUGs stalked women, took baseball bats to a Toys R Us site, and even torched a Quaker meetinghouse that dared to use non-union labor. Philly.Com reports 10 […]

The Partisan War on "Income Inequality"; Law of Bad Ideas

Debate rages over “income inequality”. CEOs makes hundreds or thousands of times more than workers. That is one aspect of income inequality. And it’s easily explained: The Fed’s inflation policies, bank bailouts, Fractional Reserve Lending, and crony capitalism are to blame. That blame is nonpartisan. Rather than attack the problem, “progressive” partisans howl over minimum wages. […]

Drone Transport Ships, Automation, and the Bubble Economy

Editor’s Note:  This article by Mike Shedlock leads off with a report on “drone transport ships,” but moves on to explore a provocative and very pertinent question:  Are policies that create the “bubble economy,” i.e., artificially inflated asset values, partly motivated by a desire to counter the deflationary pressures caused by automation? We have explored […]

Mistrust Leads to Shocking Union Defeat in Tennessee

Efforts by the United Auto Workers to unionize a Tennessee Volkswagen plant failed today in spite of the fact that Volkswagen chose to cooperate closely with the UAW. Volkswagen allowed UAW organizers to campaign inside the factory—a step rarely seen in this or other industries. Mistrust Sinks Deal By a vote of 712 to 626 […]

Controversy in Detroit: What's a Fair Settlement of Bondholder and Pension Obligation Claims?

A huge battle between pensioners and bondholders is on. Last week, a Bond rating agency blasted Governor Rick Snyder’s $350-million Detroit pension rescue plan as being too favorable to creditors at the expense of bondholders. Today, the New York Times reports Detroit Turns Bankruptcy Into Challenge of Banks. Amy Laskey,a managing director at Fitch Ratings, said in a recent report […]