The Impact of Record Debt on Investments

By Michael Lebowitz
Editor’s Note: This analysis by economic strategist Michael Lebowitz joins three other articles of his that we published last year, all of them warning of unsustainable growth in investments. For over forty years the United States has been on a debt binge, trading long-term, sustainable growth for growth fueled by debt accumulation. In this article, Lebowitz...

TAGS: economic growth, pension fund solvency

California's Pension Contribution Shortfall At Least $15 Billion per Year

By Edward Ring
“Pension-change advocates failed to find funding for a measure during the depths of the 2008 recession and the havoc it wreaked on government budgets, so they won’t pass (a measure) when the economy is doing well.” –  Steve Maviglio, political consultant and union coalition spokesperson, Sacramento Bee, January 18, 2016 It’s hard to argue with...

TAGS: CalPERS, CalSTRS, normal contribution, pension fund contributions, pension fund solvency, unfunded contribution

Libertarians, Government Unions, and Infrastructure Development

By Edward Ring
“Alright, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?” –  John Cleese, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979 Any discussion of California’s neglected infrastructure has to recognize the three factors most responsible, libertarians, environmentalists, and...

TAGS: California infrastructure, environmentalists, libertarians, pension fund solvency, private sector unions, public sector unions

The Misleading Arguments of Those Who Fight Against Pension Reform

By Edward Ring
Weakening pensions is a choice, not an imperative. The crisis is political, not actuarial. – Susan Greenbaum, guest editorial, Al Jazeera America, October 20, 2014 With this thesis highlighted, Greenbaum, a retired professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida, has just published a guest editorial that provides in one place a useful example...

TAGS: defined benefit pensions, pension fund solvency, pension reform, Social Security

Estimating America's Total Unfunded State and Local Government Pension Liability

By Edward Ring
Summary:  The total state and local government pensions in the United States at the end of 2013 had an estimated $3.6 trillion in assets. They were 74% funded, with liabilities totaling an estimated $4.86 trillion, and an unfunded liability of $1.26 trillion. These funds, in aggregate, project annual returns of 7.75%. If you apply a...

TAGS: defined benefit pension, pension fund solvency, unfunded pension liability

Bubbles & Schemes

By Doug Noland
Editor’s Note: Consistent with our ongoing determination to publish in-depth analysis along with the more digestible tidbits that should never be an exclusive source of political and economic analysis and commentary, here is a 2,400 word piece that exposes and dissects the sources of instability and speculative excess in global financial markets. Anyone who has...

TAGS: asset bubble, pension fund solvency