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Broken Promises: Pensions All Over America Are Being Savagely Cut Or Are Vanishing Completely

How would you feel if you worked for a state or local government for 20 or 30 years only to have your pension slashed dramatically or taken away entirely? Either pension benefits are going to have to be cut a lot more all over America or taxes will need to be raised dramatically. So where is that 4.4 trillion dollars going to come from?

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How would you feel if you worked for a state or local government for 20 or 30 years only to have your pension slashed dramatically or taken away entirely?  Well, this exact scenario is playing out from coast to coast and in the years ahead millions of elderly Americans are going to be affected by broken promises and vanishing pensions.  In the old days, things were much different.  You would get hired by a big company or a government institution and you knew that the retirement benefits that they were promising you would be there when you retired in a few decades.  Unfortunately, we have now arrived at a time when government institutions and big companies have promised far more than they are able to deliver, and “pension reform” has become one of the hot button issues all over the nation.  Many Americans that have been basing their financial futures on their pensions are waking up one day and finding that their pensions are either gone or have been cut back dramatically.  According to Northwestern University Professor John Rauh, the latest estimate of the total amount of unfunded pension and healthcare obligations for state and local governments across the United States is 4.4 trillion dollars.  America is continually becoming a poorer nation and all of that money is simply not going to magically materialize somehow.  So where is that 4.4 trillion dollars going to come from?  Well, either pension benefits are going to have to be cut a lot more all over America or taxes will need to be raised dramatically.  Either way, we are all going to feel the pain of these broken promises.

There simply is not enough money out there to keep all of the pension commitments that have been made.  Something has got to give.  In the end, millions of elderly Americans will likely be plunged into poverty as pensions disappear.

Some local governments around the nation are already declaring bankruptcy and are either eliminating pensions or are cutting them very deeply.  Just check out what just happened in Central Falls, Rhode Island….

For years, city officials promised robust union contracts and pensions without raising revenue to pay for them. Last August, the math caught up with them. Central Falls was broke, its pension fund short $46 million. It declared bankruptcy.

“My daughters grew up here, went to school here. It’s all gone,” said Mike Geoffroy, a retired firefighter.

He said he could not make the payments on his house after his pension was cut by $1,100 a month.

When will the math catch up with the city where you are living?

For years and years most of our state and local politicians have been ignoring this problem.  But eventually a day comes when you simply cannot ignore it any longer.

Check out what Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward said about the situation in his city recently….

“When our annual pension liability is more than our yearly property tax revenues, we have to do something”

Keep in mind that taxpayers don’t get any new services for money spent on pensions.  It is money that goes straight into the pockets of retired workers.  State and local governments are desperately trying to pay retired workers what they are owed and fund ongoing government functions at the same time, but many have reached the breaking point.

All over the country, state and local governments are going broke.  The following is from a recent article by Duff McDonald….

Alabama’s Jefferson County has actually gone bankrupt. Stockton, California is all but ready to do the same. And all you have to do is look to Detroit—or any of the nearby auto towns named after a Buick model of one sort or another—and you see fiscal crisis playing out right now. Look in your own backyard—or at the potholes on your neighborhood roads—and you will likely find the same.

Things are so bad in Stockton, California that they are actually skipping debt payments….

The city of 290,000 that rode the wave of the housing boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s now finds itself littered with foreclosed homes, saddled with pension, health care and other obligations it can’t afford, and unable to pay its bills.

The City Council voted last month to suspend $2 million in bond payments and begin negotiations with bond holders, creditors and unions.

And did you notice what is being blamed for the financial problems in Stockton?

Pension and healthcare benefits.

Sadly, we are seeing pension nightmares erupt all over the nation right now.

For example, check out what is happening to the Public School Employees’ Retirement System and State Employees’ Retirement System in Pennsylvania….

PSERS had an accrued unfunded liability of nearly $26.5 billion, the amount of money the fund is short to cover existing retirement benefits. That hole is expected to grow to $43 billion by 2019. SERS is $12.5 billion in the red, and that shortfall is expected to climb to nearly $18 billion by 2018. Unless the stock market makes giant sustained gains, taxpayers will have to refill those funds.

That doesn’t sound good at all.

In California, the Orange County Employees Retirement System is estimated to have a 10 billion dollar unfunded pension liability.

How in the world can a single county be facing a 10 billion dollar hole?

This is madness.

The state of Illinois is facing an unfunded pension liability of more than 77 billion dollars.  Considering the fact that the state of Illinois is flat broke and on the verge of default, it is inevitable that a lot of those pension obligations will never be paid.

In fact, there are going to be a whole lot of broken promises all over the country.

Pension consultant Girard Miller told California’s Little Hoover Commission that state and local government bodies in the state of California have $325 billionin combined unfunded pension liabilities.

That comes to about $22,000 for every single working adult in the state of California.

So where is all of that money going to come from?

But at least most state and local government employees are still covered by pension plans, even if they are failing.

In the private sector, pension plans are vanishing at lightning speed.

According to the Boston College Center for Retirement Research, the percentage of workers in America covered by a traditional pension plan fell from 62 percent in 1983 to 17 percent in 2007.

That isn’t just a trend.

That is a tidal wave.

And many of the private pension plans that still exist are massively underfunded.  For example, Verizon’s pension plan is underfunded by 3.4 billion dollars.

So what should Americans do in light of all this?

Well, the number one thing to realize is that the pension plan you have been counting on could disappear at any time.

We live in an economic environment that is extremely unstable, and about the only thing you can count on in this environment is rapid and dramatic change.

Do not plan your financial future around a pension plan.  If you do, you are likely to be bitterly disappointed.

Americans that plan to retire in the coming years should do their best to try to fund their own retirements.

Unfortunately, most Americans are not putting away much of anything for retirement.  As I have written about previously, one study found that American workers are $6.6 trillion short of what they need to retire comfortably.

Ouch.

Over the next 20 years approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers will be retiring every single day.

A lot of them are going to be blindsided by empty pension funds and broken promises.

We are facing a retirement crisis of unprecedented magnitude, and there is not much hope in sight.

And if there is a maor stock market crash, things are going to be much, much worse.

Most pension funds and retirement plans are heavily invested in the stock market.  If we were to see a major financial crisis like we saw back in 2008 it would be absolutely devastating.  Millions of Americans could see their retirement plans wiped out in short order.

Once again, please do not place your faith in the system.

If you do, you are likely to end up holding a bag of broken promises.

A gigantic tsunami of unfunded pension obligations is coming.  A lot of state and local governments are going to go broke.  A lot of promises are going to be broken.

If you hope to retire any time soon, you better plan on being able to take care of yourself.

— The Economic Collapse Blog

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Trump Says He Will Make A “Major Statement” When He Returns To The US

After a 12-day tour through five Asian countries where he discussed the threat posed by North Korea and how America might shrink its massive trade deficits, President Donald Trump is heading back to the US Tuesday. And in true Trump fashion, the president hinted that he would be making a “major announcement” upon his return to the states – but offered no clues about what the topic of said “announcement” might be.

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After a 12-day tour through five Asian countries where he discussed the threat posed by North Korea and how America might shrink its massive trade deficits, President Donald Trump is heading back to the US Tuesday. And in true Trump fashion, the president hinted that he would be making a “major announcement” upon his return to the states – but offered no clues about what the topic of said “announcement” might be.

Here’s the tweet, sent around 1 a.m. Eastern Time:

Of course, there’s a lot happening in Washington right now, and Trump’s hinted-at announcement could be in reference to one of any number of issues. Will he deliver an update on the administration’s position regarding tax reform as two bills that differ in dramatic fashion wend through Congress? Perhaps some type of security announcement? Or the revelation that the US has finally entered into talks with North Korea after Trump adopted a notably softer tone toward his favorite Asian antagonist over the weekend?

There’s also the possibility that he could deliver an official statement about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who Trump previously said should “do the right thing” and step aside if allegations about him having inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl turn out to be true?

Shortly before his teaser tweet about the upcoming announcement, the president hinted that he had made some major breakthroughs on behalf of the US’s trading relationship in the region, claiming that the US’s regional partners now understand that trade deficits “most come down”?

The president also took the time to thank the staff of the US embassy in the Phillipines for doing such “GREAT WORK” during his visit. Strangely, similar praise for other US embassies in the region was not forthcoming.

He also took a swing at polls that reflect a presidential approval rating below 40%, pointing to a Rassmussen poll that puts his approval rating at a reasonable 46%…

With the House gearing up to pass its version of the tax reform program on either Thursday or Friday, it’s possible Trump could be taking to the bully pulpit to try and whip up votes among intransigent blue-state Republicans. Or the announcement could be on any one of a number of topics. North Korea, trade, tax reform, the upcoming Alabama special election – all are priorities for the White House and the Republican Party right now.

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The Price Swings In Bitcoin Are Making Me Sick To My Stomach

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Well, that de-escalated quickly…

All the hopes and dreams of Bitcoin Cash officianados have been dashed in the last 24 hours. After its mega spike from $600 to over $2400, the forked cryptocurrency has crashed back to around $1000 overnight as traders switch back to the mainstream Bitcoin branch, sending it surging back above $6600 – erasing all the weekend’s “the end is nigh” losses…

As CoinTelegraph reports, cross-exchange data for Bitcoin Cash, which describes itself as “the best money in the world,” shows a swift turnaround in the altcoin’s fortunes through the weekend.

The result of a giant publicity effort from its proponents, BCH saw mass investment as it heads towards a potentially contentious hard fork set for just after 7 p.m. GMT today.

The failure of SegWit2x, coupled with endorsement from the soon-to-be-defunct Bitcoin Classic team meant BCH became the major ‘competitor’ to Bitcoin overnight.

Its rapid rise has ignited the community, with widespread condemnation of lead supporters Roger Ver and Jihan Wu coming in tandem with public praise from Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

As BCH approached its highest-ever point Nov. 11, Buterin delivered his “congratulations” to Ver on Twitter, adding it was a “key reason why he is now so confident in crypto.”

Criticism meanwhile has focused on the ‘corporatized’ nature of BCH in contrast to Bitcoin’s decentralization, while figures involved insist the altcoin is an improvement on Bitcoin.

The project even has a CEO in the form of Finnish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, who released a statement aimed at harmonizing its structure.

“…As Chief Executive Officer of this disorganization with made-up titles, where every document is as official as people pretend it to be, I further emphasize that we cannot resolve social disputes by voting, for two reasons: first, there is no boundary on the electorate that determines who gets to vote, which creates winning by trickery rather than by argument, and second, we don’t want to vote anyway.”

But that is all over for now…

As Bitcoin soars back above $6600…

Leaving Bitcoin Cash about half the market cap of Ethereum once again…

So what happens next?

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7 Quotes That Sum Up Buffett’s Entire Strategy

Unlike other highly successful value investors, Buffett spends a large amount of time doing interviews. There have also been thousands of articles written about him and possibly hundreds of books.

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Warren Buffett is the world’s greatest and most prominent value investor.  Unlike other highly successful value investors, Buffett spends a large amount of time doing interviews. There have also been thousands of articles written about him and possibly hundreds of books.

Not only is Buffett the world’s most successful investor, he is also the investing world’s biggest celebrity. In some ways, this success has been a doubled-edged sword.

Since Buffett is a larger-than-life celebrity, his interviews stray away from the topic of investing. At the same time, he has produced so many sound bites on the topic of investing, many have lost their true meaning. For instance, almost all investors know Buffett’s first two rules — “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” More often than not, however, I have seen this interpreted as “If I don’t sell, I don’t lose money” — clearly not the right viewpoint at all.

So considering all of the above, in this article I have tried to pull together seven quotes I believe best describe Buffett’s investment process and give essential insight into how the average investor should look for value and high-quality investments. These are not one-liners, they are specifically picked to give as much detail as possible.

How to pick the best businesses:

“I like businesses I can understand. We’ll start with that. That narrows it down about 90%. There are all kinds of things I don’t understand, but fortunately, there’s enough I do understand. You got this big, wide world out there. Almost every company is publicly owned. You got all American business, practically, available to you. Now, to start with, it doesn’t make sense to go with things you think you can[‘t] understand. But you can understand some things. I can understand this (picks up can of Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)). I mean you can understand this. Anybody can understand this. I mean this is a product that basically hasn’t been changed much since 1886, and it’s a simple business. It’s not an easy business. I don’t want a business that’s easy for competitors. I want a business with a moat around it with a very valuable castle in the middle. And then I want the duke who’s in charge of that castle to be honest and hard-working and able. And then I want a big moat around the castle, and that moat can be various things.

The moat in a business like our auto insurance business at GEICO is low cost. I mean people have to buy auto insurance so everybody’s going to have one auto insurance policy per car, basically, or per driver. And I can’t sell them 20, but they have to buy one. What are they going to buy it on? They’re going to buy it based on service and cost. Most people will assume the service is fairly identical among companies, or close enough, so they’re going to do it on cost, so I gotta be the low-cost producer. That’s my moat. To the extent my costs get further lower than the other guy, I’ve thrown a couple of sharks into the moat.”

 



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