Here Comes The Next Trillion-Dollar Bailout

By: John Rubino | Mon, Aug 3, 2015
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As boxers like to say, it's the punch you don't see that knocks you out.

In a world where a growing part of the financial system is hidden from view and excluded from official statistics, those are words to remember.

A couple of examples from the 2008-2009 crisis:

Since bubbles tend not to repeat in exactly the same form, it's reasonable to assume that the next Fannie or AIG will be something very different -- like state and local pension plans, which for years have been putting away too little to cover the coming wave of retirements and are now starting to beg for help:

New Jersey legislator seeks federal loans to bail out state pensions

(Reuters) - A top New Jersey Democrat wants the federal government to create a low-interest loan program to rescue states with big public pension problems.

State Senate President Steve Sweeney called on Wednesday for a nationwide pension debt restructuring plan under which the U.S. Federal Reserve would offer low-interest loans to state governments to pay down unfunded pension liabilities.

The country has racked up nearly $1 trillion of unfunded liabilities altogether in its state-run retirement systems, according to the latest estimate from Pew Charitable Trusts. Other projections have put the number even higher.

New Jersey's badly underfunded pension system was cast further into the spotlight last year when Governor Chris Christie, now a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, slashed the state's contribution because of a revenue shortfall.

Labor unions sued, saying the cuts violated a promise Christie himself made, in 2011 pension reforms, to ramp up to full contributions.

But Christie won the battle in the state's highest court. The decision provided breathing room for the stressed state budget, but the pension problem lingers long term.

New Jersey would have to pay $6 billion on average annually for 30 years to pay off its existing $51 billion unfunded liability, the third largest in the nation, Sweeney said.

But under his proposal, the Garden State could take out a $50 million federal loan at a low 1 percent interest rate, putting the proceeds into its retirement system. If that happened in fiscal year 2017, it would cut annual pension contributions, including the loan repayment, in half to about $3 billion, he said.

This means three things:

 


 

John Rubino

Author: John Rubino

John Rubino
DollarCollapse.com

John Rubino

John Rubino edits DollarCollapse.com and has authored or co-authored five books, including The Money Bubble: What To Do Before It Pops, Clean Money: Picking Winners in the Green Tech Boom, The Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit From It, and How to Profit from the Coming Real Estate Bust. After earning a Finance MBA from New York University, he spent the 1980s on Wall Street, as a currency trader, equity analyst and junk bond analyst. During the 1990s he was a featured columnist with TheStreet.com and a frequent contributor to Individual Investor, Online Investor, and Consumers Digest, among many other publications. He now writes for CFA Magazine.

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