Mish Shedlock Talks America's Pension Problem

By: Gordon Long & Mike Shedlock | Sun, Apr 19, 2015
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Mike Shedlock

An espoused self educated Austrian Economist, Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction. Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com

Published 04-18-15

Mish Shedlock talks about the magnitude of the mounting Pension Problem in America and uses his home state of Illinois as a prime example. According to a State Budget Solutions, last year's state unfunded pensions reached an all-time high of $4.7 trillion. This funding gap state public pension plans are underfunded by $4.7 trillion, up from $4.1 trillion in 2013. Overall, the combined plans' funded status has dipped three percentage points to 36%. Split among all Americans, the unfunded liability is over $15,000 per person.

Illinois Pension Obligations


Illinois' Pending Pension Crisis

"Illinois Pension's in general are 39% funded! This is after this massive rally we have had since 2009 in financial assets. Some of the worst ones are only about 20% funded. I think the Teacher's Pension Plan is about that and the General Assembly and Judicial Pension Plan are also on the bottom."

"Various cities in Illinois have problems, Chicago being one of them. The City of Chicago has a huge pension crisis right now. We have things in Illinois like "Home Rule Taxes" where cities can levy their own taxes in addition to the state. That is why we have varying sales tax that range anywhere from 6% to 10%, depending on locality."

"I believe Chicago is Bankrupt!"

"I have been working with the Illinois Policy Institute. There are a number of cities in Illinois (I am not going to name them), but I am aware of five cities (one of them a major city - not Chicago) that are ready to file bankruptsy - and it is all over the pension issue! The problem is they can't file bankruptcy because the state doesn't allow it."

"The fundamental problem is they have made more promises than they can possibly keep!"


Gaming The Pension System

The problem is "you have police and fire workers who can retire after 20 years ... and collect up to 70% of their earnings based on the 5 highest years salaries. We see a lot of pension spiking in the last few years where for example police work overtime (which counts towards their best five years) so these workers stand to collect far more in retirement (total years in retirement) than they actually ever made while working (total years worked).

Pension Debt Cartoon

"Tax payers are actually funding the employees portion of the pensions by excessive wages and direct contributions."

"Chicago (has) floated General Obligation Bonds to actually just fund current expenses. That is illegal! We have bonds here in Illinois that are called tax exempt on the basis they are supposed to be funding long term infrastructure expenses that are funding short term needs."


Property Taxes The Jurisdiction Of Underfunded Cities & Towns

"Taxes in Illinois are are already obscene. A homeowner on a $600,000 home can expect to pay $14-15,000 per year - every year on property taxes. Do you really own your own home in Illinois? On top of tht you have 10% sales tax."

"Pensions are so underfunded in Illinois that they are going to go bust in the next slowdown. I believe one (a slowdown) is on the way."


The New, Looming Problem For States, Cities And Towns

Negative interest rates are sweeping the globe. How will states, cities and towns fund themselves and their pension obligations in an era of potential negative nominal bond rates?

Government Bond Yields

Percentage of Countries with Negative Bond Yields

"How will states, cities and towns fund (attract) long term assets with 15 year negative bonds?"

 


 

Gordon Long

Author: Gordon Long

Gordon T. Long
Publisher - LONGWave

Gordon T. Long

Gordon T. Long has been publically offering his financial and economic writing since 2010, following a career internationally in technology, senior management & investment finance. He brings a unique perspective to macroeconomic analysis because of his broad background, which is not typically found or available to the public.

Mr. Long was a senior group executive with IBM and Motorola for over 20 years. Earlier in his career he was involved in Sales, Marketing & Service of computing and network communications solutions across an extensive array of industries. He subsequently held senior positions, which included: VP & General Manager, Four Phase (Canada); Vice President Operations, Motorola (MISL - Canada); Vice President Engineering & Officer, Motorola (Codex - USA).

After a career with Fortune 500 corporations, he became a senior officer of Cambex, a highly successful high tech start-up and public company (Nasdaq: CBEX), where he spearheaded global expansion as Executive VP & General Manager.

In 1995, he founded the LCM Groupe in Paris, France to specialize in the rapidly emerging Internet Venture Capital and Private Equity industry. A focus in the technology research field of Chaos Theory and Mandelbrot Generators lead in the early 2000's to the development of advanced Technical Analysis and Market Analytics platforms. The LCM Groupe is a recognized source for the most advanced technical analysis techniques employed in market trading pattern recognition.

Mr. Long presently resides in Boston, Massachusetts, continuing the expansion of the LCM Groupe's International Private Equity opportunities in addition to their core financial market trading platforms expertise. GordonTLong.com is a wholly owned operating unit of the LCM Groupe.

Gordon T. Long is a graduate Engineer, University of Waterloo (Canada) in Thermodynamics-Fluid Mechanics (Aerodynamics). On graduation from an intensive 5 year specialized Co-operative Engineering program he pursued graduate business studies at the prestigious Ivy Business School, University of Western Ontario (Canada) on a Northern & Central Gas Corporation Scholarship. He was subsequently selected to attend advanced one year training with the IBM Corporation in New York prior to starting his career with IBM.

Gordon T Long is not a registered advisor and does not give investment advice. His comments are an expression of opinion only and should not be construed in any manner whatsoever as recommendations to buy or sell a stock, option, future, bond, commodity or any other financial instrument at any time. While he believes his statements to be true, they always depend on the reliability of his own credible sources. Of course, he recommends that you consult with a qualified investment advisor, one licensed by appropriate regulatory agencies in your legal jurisdiction, before making any investment decisions, and barring that, we encourage you confirm the facts on your own before making important investment commitments.

The information herein was obtained from sources which Mr. Long believes reliable, but he does not guarantee its accuracy. None of the information, advertisements, website links, or any opinions expressed constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any securities or commodities. Please note that Mr. Long may already have invested or may from time to time invest in securities that are recommended or otherwise covered on this website. Mr. Long does not intend to disclose the extent of any current holdings or future transactions with respect to any particular security. You should consider this possibility before investing in any security based upon statements and information contained in any report, post, comment or recommendation you receive from him.

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Mike Shedlock

Author: Mike Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish
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Mike Shedlock

Michael "Mish" Shedlock is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Visit http://www.sitkapacific.com/ to learn more about wealth management for investors seeking strong performance with low volatility.

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