Archive for the ‘Pensions’ Category

YOUR LIFE SAVINGS ARE AT STAKE !

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

 

This is the bottom line for many Americans in how they vote !  Nancy
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Trump-Biden Stakes: Your Life Savings

Millions of Americans have 401(k)s, making high stock values a boon for Main Street—even in Scranton

By Grover Norquist    Mr. Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.
 October 1, 2020
EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  There is no idea proposed by the Democratic Party that will increase the value of your savings.

In Tuesday’s debate, President Trump mentioned his greatest gift to the American people—but if you blinked you might have missed it. “When the stock market goes up, that means jobs,” he said. Then he added, crucially: “It also means 401(k)s.” That point hits home among the millions of Americans with savings in a tax-advantaged investment vehicle, who watched their retirement funds rise in the prepandemic stock surge.

On stage, Joe Biden had nothing to say to this point. But in a Pennsylvania town hall this month, he pooh-poohed the stock market as a concern only of the distant rich. “All that Trump can see from Park Avenue is Wall Street. All he thinks about is the stock market, and telling them, ‘We’re going to do all right, everybody owns stock.’ How many of you all own stock in Scranton? In my neighborhood in Scranton, not a whole hell of a lot of people own stock.”

Mr. Biden’s critique might have made sense when he began his political career. But today, more than 100 million Americans save in 401(k)s, up from 19 million in 1990, along with many others using individual retirement accounts, 403(b)s and 529 college savings plans. And this growing “investor class” is increasingly aware. They receive frequent reports and can check their statements online anytime to see how their savings have grown, fallen or rebounded. They watched the Trump presidency drive up the value of their life savings.

“Wealth” is a slur to the left. Yet if you ask ordinary Americans not about their “wealth” but about their savings in a 401(k) or IRA, many can tell you its value to the penny. Skeptics argue that the market’s performance matters only to investors with the biggest stakes, but that argument gets things backward. Younger Americans, just beginning to save in an IRA or 401(k), have an even greater interest in pro-growth economic policies. They have more years to reap the benefits.

President Trump’s tax cuts, deregulation, energy policies, and appointment of self-restrained judges have put Americans on a faster course toward savings growth. On Election Day 2016, the last day when many Americans and Wall Street believed that we would be living under Obama-style economic policies, the S&P 500 stood at 2140. By this February, after three years of President Trump’s policies, the S&P peaked at 3385 right before the Covid shutdown—an increase of 56% since Mr. Trump was elected.

(more…)

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VIDEO – CULTURE OF CORRUPTION IN THE DEPTH OF THE SWAMP

Monday, March 16th, 2020

 

This is an incredibly shocking  video of a talk that Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO  of openthebooks.com  gave regarding waste, fraud, corruption and abuse in all levels of our  government at a Hillsdale College event .   He names all those that are involved in the abuse of our taxpayer money.   This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue as the corruption is widely spread  throughout  our government. If this level of corruption is allowed to continue, our country will be greatly damaged.   Please share with all your contacts.     Nancy
VIDEO  – CULTURE OF CORRUPTION IN THE DEPTH OF THE SWAMP

Adam Andrzejewski | The Depth of the Swamp

March 5, 2020
Adam Andrzejewski is the founder and CEO of openthebooks.com, the world’s largest database of public sector spending, whether at the federal, state, or local level
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VIDEO – PUBLIC PENSIONS – AN ECONOMIC TIME BOMB PRAGER U

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

 

VIDEO  – PUBLIC PENSIONS – AN ECONOMIC TIME BOMB  PRAGER U 
Who cares about public pension liability? Well, you should – after all, it’s the reason entire cities and even states are facing bankruptcy. Joshua Rauh, professor of finance at Stanford and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, paints a startling picture of just how broken the public pension system really is, and what will happen if we continue to ignore it
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CONGRESS IS COMING FOR YOUR IRA

Saturday, July 13th, 2019

 

 

The Secure Act which is before the U.S. Senate for a vote can impact the taxes of  many of us and our children and grandchildren.   Take the time to look at this information and contact your senators if you would like to comment on how you want them to vote on  this bill.   Nancy
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Congress Is Coming for Your IRA

The Secure Act would upend 20 years of retirement planning and stick it to the middle class.

By

Philip DeMuth  Mr. DeMuth is author of “The Overtaxed Investor: Slash Your Tax Bill and Be a Tax Alpha Dog.”      July 10, 2019

Like grave robbers opening King Tut’s tomb, Congress can’t wait to get its hands on America’s retirement-account assets. The House passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, known by the acronym Secure, in May. The vote was 417-3. The Secure Act is widely expected to pass the Senate by unanimous consent. While ostensibly helping Americans save for retirement, the bill would actually reduce the value of all retirement savings plans: individual retirement accounts, 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, the works.

The main problem with the Secure Act is that it eliminates the stretch IRA,the fixed star in the financial-planning firmament since 1999. The stretch IRA lets savers leave their retirement accounts to children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries. Under current rules, the recipients can parcel out the required minimum distributions from the accounts over the course of their actuarial lifetimes. Payouts tend to be relatively small for children but grow in size over the decades until the inherited IRA might comfortably provide for the child’s retirement through the power of tax-deferred compounding. A parent could die with the knowledge that, whatever vicissitudes their children might experience in life, they won’t have to worry about retirement.

Congress wants to kill this. The Secure Act gives nonspouse beneficiaries 10 years to pull out all the money in an IRA. The effect would be to make more of an IRA subject to higher taxes sooner, as distributions are made in supersize chunks. As much as one-third more of an inherited IRA would get gobbled up by taxes than under current rules. When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expires in 2025, taxes will rise across the board. If President Trump signs the Secure Act into law, the stage will be set for a taxpocalypse sometime in the next decade.

In exchange for its windfall under the Secure Act, Congress will push back the age at which retirees must take their first required minimum IRA distributions from 70½ to 72. This isn’t the deal American savers were promised when they made contributions to their IRAs the last 20 years. Before, the optimal approach was for savers to leave their IRAs to their children or grandchildren and stretch the payouts over decades.

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CIVIL SERVICE REFORM – 2018 ISSUE FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP

Sunday, December 31st, 2017
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A Big, Beautiful Trump 2018 Issue

Civil-service reform could get bipartisan support, even in a rough election year.

 

 

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THEY WANT YOUR IRA

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

 

www.wsj.com/articles/they-want-your-ira-1459985170

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

They Want Your IRA

The White House pushes investors toward government accounts.

Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in Washington D.C. on April 30, 2015.
Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in Washington D.C. on April 30, 2015. Photo: CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

The Department of Labor says its so-called fiduciary rule will make financial advisers act in the best interests of clients. What Labor doesn’t say is that the rule carries such enormous potential legal liability and demands such a high standard of care that many advisers will shun non-affluent accounts. Middle-income investors may be forced to look elsewhere for financial advice even as Team Obama is enabling a raft of new government-run competitors for retirement savings. This is no coincidence.

Labor’s new rule will start biting in January as the President is leaving office. Under the rule, financial firms advising workers moving money out of company 401(k) plans into Individual Retirement Accounts will have to follow the new higher standards. But Labor has already proposed waivers from the federal Erisa law so new state-run retirement plans don’t have the same regulatory burden as private employers do.

This competitive advantage could be significant. Last month the board of California’s new “Secure Choice” retirement plan wrote to state legislators about their “exciting win” in Washington. They reported that employers enrolling workers in the new government-run plan “would have no liability or fiduciary duty for the plan.” Score! The California bureaucrats added that “we have been given the green light to auto-enroll workers into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).”

(more…)

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JERRY BROWN STANDS ATOP CALIFORNIA’S COLLAPSING HOUSE OF CARDS

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

 

 

 

Thomas Del Beccaro

Thomas Del Beccaro, Contributor

I try to place politics in perspective.

|
7/08/2013 @ 8:00AM |43,549 views

Jerry Brown Stands Atop California’s Collapsing House Of Cards

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 11:  California Gover...

California Governor Jerry Brown. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Jerry Brown, soon to be California’s longest-serving Governor, is obsessed with his legacy. Legacies, however, are judged retrospectively. For now, Brown has been receiving much credit nationally for “balancing” the budget. In truth, the budget is not really balanced and Brown is setting California up to fall like a house of cards.

Jerry Brown certainly is having a good year in the media. This year, PBS told us: “Gov. Jerry Brown Makes Tough Choices to Balance State Budget.” The Atlantic recently heralded: “California’s New ‘Problem’: Jerry Brown on the Sudden Surplus.” Even BusinessWeek proclaimed that Jerry Brown had “Scared California Straight” and that “Jerry Brown Stays Stern on California’s Budget Surplus.”

Brown has received such praise in connection with the California budget process this year, and the ruling Democrats’ self-proclaimed budget balancing. The real score in California, however, demonstrates that the budget is not really balanced and there is nothing but trouble ahead.

First, to use Jerry Brown’s own words, California has a “wall of debt,” which doesn’t include unfunded pension and medical liability – and that wall of debt is NOT included in the budget. The total amount of that debt is somewhere in the $27 billion range and includes over $10 billion owed to the federal government. That money was used to fund California’s Unemployment Insurance Fund, and California seems to have no plan to pay it back – a sort of “reverse” unfunded mandate, if you will. (more…)

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VIDEO – THE MONARCHS OF MONEY – THE UNPRECEDENTED POWER OF THE CENTRAL BANKERSS

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

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Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

 

The Wall Street Journal

  • March 30, 2013

The Debt Bomb That Taxpayers Won’t See

Coming

State and local governments owe $7.3 trillion in promises they’ve made that were never approved by taxpayers.

By STEVEN MALANGA

Mr. Malanga is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. This column is adapted from a forthcoming issue of City Journal, where he is a senior editor.

 

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:  A December report by the States Project, a joint venture of Harvard’s Institute of Politics and the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, estimated that state and local governments now owe in sum a staggering $7.3 trillion. Incredibly, the vast majority of this debt has never been approved by taxpayers, who are often unaware of the extent of their obligations.

Most state constitutions and many municipal charters limit borrowing and mandate voter approval. No matter. Politicians evade the limits, issuing billions of dollars in municipal offerings never approved by voters, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Courts have rubber-stamped many of these schemes.

Earlier this month, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Illinois officials with making misleading statements to bond investors about the state’s pension system. The agency detailed a long list of deceptive practices including failure to tell investors that the system was so underfunded that it risked bankruptcy.

Illinois taxpayers, as well as the holders of its debt, will ultimately bear the burden of the officials’ misdeeds. But there is nothing unique about the Prairie State. For years, elected officials in states and municipalities across the country have been imprudently piling up obligations that are imposing serious strains on budgets, prompting higher taxes and cutbacks in services.

In January, city officials in Sacramento, California’s capital, reported the results of a study they had commissioned on all the debt that the municipality had incurred. At a City Council meeting that the Sacramento Bee reported as “sobering,” the city manager explained that Sacramento had racked up some $2 billion in obligations (mostly pensions and retiree health care). All this for a municipality of 477,000 residents with an annual general fund budget of just $366 million.

Sacramento finances are already stretched—the city has cut some 1,200 workers, or 20% of its workforce, in the past several years. Servicing its debt in years to come will only add more woe, especially given the intractability of public unions. The budget report noted that “While reducing staff is clearly not the preferred method for reducing costs, the city has a very limited ability to reduce the cost of labor absent cooperation from the city’s employee groups.”

According to studies by the Pew Center on the States, states and the biggest cities have made nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars in promises to pay for retiree health-care insurance. Yet governments have set aside only about 5% of the money they’ll need to pay for these promises. (more…)

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OBAMA’S UNITED AUTO WORKERS BAILOUT

Friday, June 15th, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

  • June 14, 2012

Sherk and Zywicki: Obama’s United Auto Workers Bailout

If the administration treated the UAW in the manner required by bankruptcy law, it could have saved U.S. taxpayers $26.5 billion.

By JAMES SHERK
AND TODD ZYWICKI
Mr. Sherk is a senior policy analyst in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation. Mr. Zywicki is a law professor at George Mason University and a senior scholar at the university’s Mercatus Center. This op-ed is adapted from a longer article published this week at Heritage.org.

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:    Avoiding these losses would have been straightforward. If the government treated the UAW in the manner required by bankruptcy law, it could have given the stock and promissory notes to the Treasury instead of to the UAW. Labor cost savings and not supporting Delphi pensions would have increased the value of the taxpayers’ shares of GM, while GM would have needed less financing.

Instead, President Obama gave over $26 billion to the UAW—more money than the U.S spent on foreign aid last year and 50% more than NASA’s budget. None of that money kept factories running. Instead it sustained the above-average compensation of members of an influential union, sparing them from most of the sacrifices typically made in bankruptcy. Such spending does not serve the common good. President Obama did not bail out the auto industry. He bailed out the United Auto Workers.

President Obama touts the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler as one of the signature successes of his administration. He argues that the estimated $23 billion the taxpayers lost was worth paying to avoid massive job losses. However, our research finds that the president could have both kept the auto makers running and avoided losing money.

The preferential treatment given to the United Auto Workers accounts for the American taxpayers’ entire losses from the bailout. Had the UAW received normal treatment in standard bankruptcy proceedings, the Treasury would have recouped its entire investment. Three irregularities in the bankruptcy case resulted in a windfall to the UAW.

First, GM and Chrysler owed billions of dollars to the union’s Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA) when they went bankrupt. The union and the auto makers created VEBA in 2007 to assume responsibility for the UAW’s generous retiree health benefits. The benefits allowed UAW members to retire in their mid-50s with minimal out-of-pocket health-care expenses for the rest of their lives. GM owed $20.6 billion and Chrysler owed $8 billion to VEBA as unsecured claims.

A bedrock principle of bankruptcy law is that creditors with similar claims priority receive equal treatment. If you owe $1,000 each on two credit cards, in bankruptcy you cannot choose to pay $900 to Citi and only $200 to Chase. Each of the creditors is entitled to an equal percentage recovery.

In the auto bankruptcies, however, the administration gave the unsecured claims of VEBA much higher priority than those of other unsecured creditors, such as suppliers and unsecured bondholders.

At the time of bankruptcy, GM owed these unsecured creditors $29.9 billion, for which they received 10% of the stock of “new” GM, which went public in November 2010, and warrants to purchase 15% more at preferred prices. Yet VEBA got 17.5% of new GM and $9 billion in preferred stock and debt obligations. Based on GM’s current stock price, VEBA collected assets worth $17.8 billion—$12.2 billion more than if the administration had treated it like the other unsecured creditors.

The same thing happened at Chrysler, only to a greater degree. Chrysler’s junior creditors recovered none of their $7 billion in claims. In normal bankruptcy proceedings, the UAW would have also collected nothing. Instead it walked away owning almost half of new Chrysler and a $4.6 billion promissory note earning 9% interest. Had the stock and note gone to the Treasury instead, the bailout would have cost taxpayers $9.2 billion less.

Zwycki

Getty ImagesUnited Auto Workers President Bob King (left) with President Barack Obama at a UAW conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 28. (more…)

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