Greece is not the only country where pensions are at the root of an economic disaster

In the ongoing debt crisis taking place between Greece, Germany, and the EU’s financial Troika, Greek pensions remain squarely in the crosshairs for austerity cuts to allow acceptance of a new round of bailouts, and a saving of Greece’s insolvent financial system.  But with the global economy in decline and even recession despite manipulated equity market highs, the Damocles Sword of underfunded pensions elsewhere threaten to keep central banks and central planners from doing what is necessary to rebuild sectors within the economy that have been stagnant since the 2008 credit crisis.

One country in particular, that of the United States, is a poster child for underfunded pensions that could matriculate a domino effect on the nation’s entire financial system should the Fed even attempt to stimulate growth through the raising of interest rates.

The cost to American cities for their cash-strapped pension funds is starting to look a lot worse, and it’s not because the stock-market rally may be losing steam.

Houston was warned by Moody’s Investors Service this month that it may be downgraded because of mounting retirement bills, the latest municipality put on notice as the company ignores bookkeeping gimmicks that let cities mask the size of their debt for years. The approach foreshadows accounting rules for even top-rated issuers that are poised to cause pension shortfalls to swell as new financial reports are released.

Cities that shortchanged pensions for years are under growing pressure to boost their contributions, even after windfalls from a stock market that’s tripled since early 2009. Janney Montgomery Scott has said growing retirement costs are “the largest cloud overhanging” the $3.6 trillion municipal-bond market, where investors are demanding higher yields from borrowers under the greatest strain.

That was on display this week for Chicago, whose credit rating was cut to junk by Moody’s in May because of a $20 billion pension shortfall. The city was forced to pay yields of almost 8 percent on taxable bonds maturing in 2042, about twice what some homeowners can get on a 30-year mortgage. – Bloomberg

And here is where it gets interesting, and in essence, critical for states and pensioners alike.  Should the Fed begin to raise interest rates, the forecasted effect will be an assured decline in the stock market, leaving many pension funds who hold equities in even greater trouble as their pool of funds would shrink, and their rate of return would vastly decline since it has benefited immensely on the Fed driven bubble in equities over the past four years.  And then complimentary to this, any raise in rates would cause bond rates to rise, meaning that it will cost cities and states much more to service those bonds, and require an even greater amount of revenue than they already bring in annually through taxes and fees.

States and municipalities have had to offer fiscally absurd benefits to skilled workers who in the past would have chosen to work in the private sector where their earnings are much greater than in civil service jobs.  And when the markets were doing well, as between 2003 and 2007, they could get away with paying out much more than they were taking in since their return on investment made up for the lack of contributions by the states and employees.  But as we saw in 2009, when the stock market lost over 40% of its value from a previous all-time high, much of that decline went straight onto balance sheets of mutual funds, pension plans, and individual retirement accounts, and provided a warning that has been little heeded on the fragile nature of promising too much in a volatile market structure.

state-pensions

States and municipalities in the U.S. are not the only ones to blame, as the devaluation of the dollar and in its purchasing power is a direct result of the Federal Reserve’s policies and inability to control inflation via increases in the money supply.  Thus what was once a working and feasible system for employee retirement has turned into a boondoggle that neither states nor unions are willing to touch, and unless someone intervenes with hard lessons like those being attempted now for Greece, the result will be collapse and implosion, and many who trust and rely upon the government will be without a safety net in their golden years.

Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for Secretsofthefed.comExaminer.com, Roguemoney.net, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.

HERE Is WHAT WILL HAPPEN If The DEEP STATE TAKES DOWN PRESIDENT TRUMP & It’s NOT PRETTY … FOR THEM “The tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson ELDER PATRIOT – Corrupt politicians ignore Jefferson’s directive to their own detriment. It’s no longer political, it’s personal. Americans have had their eyes opened by the ascension of Donald Trump and no amount of leftwing money can put the Freedom Movement genie back in the bottle. Conservative Senator Ted Cruz made that observation after reviewing the results of the 2016 elections and the expectations of the voters. Cruz, who had the most high profile personality clash with Donald Trump during the Republican primary process nevertheless embraced Trump’s America First agenda and said, “If we’re given the White House and both houses of Congress and we don’t deliver, I think there will be pitchforks and torches in the streets. And I think quite rightly.” Candidate Trump promised many things – border control, lower taxes, fairer trade relations, a balanced budget, healthcare that puts the people first not the government, safer communities, and – to the extent possible – an end to foreign wars. What, among those promises, should any Republican, nay any American, have a problem with? After four months without a single legislative achievement, Congressional and Senatorial Republicans – notably John McCain, Paul Ryan and Lindsey Graham – have joined the Democrats in investigating President Trump absent a single shred of evidence that an underlying crime has been committed. So, what gives? Well, there was one additional promise that Trump made on his way to the White House that has some Republicans joining with Democrats and quaking in their boots, Trump’s promise to “Drain the Swamp.” As we reported yesterday, “An F.B.I. agent with ‘intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the Clinton case’ told us that they uncovered evidence of such massive corruption that the agents involved realized that damned near the entire government could be brought down.” The criminal co-conspirators in both parties realized almost immediately that the new sheriff wasn’t interested in joining them in the swamp so they launched, what can only be characterized as, a coup attempt. Democrats are well schooled in such things probably because of their close alliance with Marxist regimes that can only gain power by seizing it through bloody civil wars. It should be noted that the Democratic Party has already done this once before. One Hundred and Fifty-Seven years ago the Democrats waged a war against the First Republican President Abraham Lincoln for giving Blacks their freedom. That war came at a high price, as many as 700,000 Americans died fighting for what they believe in. To put that in perspective, these casualties exceed the nation’s loss in all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam. Today, Americans are still prepared to fight and die to protect their children’s God-given freedoms. Despite what you are reading and hearing in the mainstream media, they aren’t the leftwing-funded rioters, the pussy hat-wearing feminists, or the cuck bois that cant handle a micro aggression. No, the Americans that back Donald Trump are well armed. Donald Trump’s presidency will move forward politically lest the sixty million patriots who voted for him, that are comprised of the large majority of military voters, police, and NRA members, move it forward by force. These patriots are armed, trained, prepared, and have proven their discipline. They have grown disgusted by the corruption in Washington and will do whatever is necessary to make sure Trump’s Freedom Agenda moves forward and under the direction of Donald Trump himself. No amount of fake news based on unsubstantiated charges by unnamed sources is going to change that. The battle lines have been drawn and no amount of finger pointing is going to convince these patriots to let anyone overturn the election results. So why are establishment politicians courting a bloodbath on the streets of America that will also threaten them personally when they could be part of Making America Great Again? It’s because they have been caught red-handed and up to their eyeballs in a worldwide criminal conspiracy that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with defrauding the American taxpayers. And, now that they’ve been caught robbing the world’s largest bank – the U.S. treasury – they have chosen to go out in a blaze of glory rather than try to defend the indefensible at trial. Washington’s criminal elites have chosen to go to war to unseat our duly elected president. It’s time to make our voices heard before this turns very ugly. Buckle your chin strap, America is counting on you. EDITORS NOTE: THIS IS NOT A CALL TO ARMS BUT RATHER AN ANALYSIS OF WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF THE DEEP STATES OVERTURNS A DUELY ELECTED PRESIDENT. HERE IS A LIST OF EVERY SINGLE TIME OBAMA COMMITTED AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE THAT DEMS & MEDIA COVERED UP “Impeach!” It’s been more than eight years since Democrats uttered that word – long enough for anyone to wonder if it was still in their vocabulary, considering the deafening silence through the dozens of serious scandals during President Obama’s administration – but now that President Trump is the man in the White House, it’s back with a vengeance. Democrats everywhere are wildly slinging the “I” word, hoping to nail Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors after the New York Times claimed a memo written by former FBI Director James Comey said the president urged him to end the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Some members of Congress are getting in on the action. They include Reps. Maxine Water, D-Calif., and Al Green, D-Texas. Even a Republican, Rep. Justin Amash, claimed Wednesday there are grounds to impeach President Trump. House Oversign Committee Chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asked for the alleged Comey memo and other documents. Chaffetz tweeted that he is prepared to subpoena the information. And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., invoked “Watergate.” Now the Democratic Party is reportedly poll testing impeachment as a 2018 election issue. More than 1 million people signed a petition calling on Congress to impeach Trump. Wasting no time Wednesday, the mainstream media sprang into action, enthusiastically echoing the left’s impeachment calls. MSNBC launched a Watergate ad implying Trump is America’s new Richard Nixon. “Watergate. We know its name because there were reporters who never stopped asking questions,” says MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who hinted that Trump is next on the impeachment chopping block. “Now, who knows where the questions will take us. But I know this: I’m not going to stop asking them.” Meanwhile, some overzealous members of the left plastered fliers around Washington, D.C., demanding all White House staffers resign Wednesday. The posters read: “If you work for this White House you are complicit in hate-mongering, lies, corrupt taking of Americans’ tax money via self-dealing and emoluments, and quite possibly federal crimes and treason. Also, any wars will be on your soul. … Resign now.” But constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, who voted for President Obama, warned “impeachment” enthusiasts not to get ahead of themselves with President Trump. Why? At this time, there’s no evidence Trump actually committed a crime. “The criminal code demands more than what Comey reportedly describes in his memo,” Turley wrote in a May 17 opinion piece posted at the Hill. Turley explained: For the first time, the Comey memo pushes the litany of controversies surrounding Trump into the scope of the United States criminal code. However, if this is food for obstruction of justice, it is still an awfully thin soup. Some commentators seem to be alleging criminal conduct in office or calling for impeachment before Trump completed the words of his inaugural oath of office. Not surprising, within minutes of the New York Times report, the response was a chorus of breathless “gotcha” announcements. But this memo is neither the Pentagon Papers nor the Watergate tapes. Indeed, it raises as many questions for Comey as it does Trump in terms of the alleged underlying conduct. A good place to start would be with the federal law, specifically 18 U.S.C. 1503. The criminal code demands more than what Comey reportedly describes in his memo. There are dozens of different variations of obstruction charges ranging from threatening witnesses to influencing jurors. None would fit this case. That leaves the omnibus provision on attempts to interfere with the “due administration of justice.” However, that still leaves the need to show that the effort was to influence “corruptly” when Trump could say that he did little but express concern for a longtime associate. The term “corruptly” is actually defined differently under the various obstruction provisions, but it often involves a showing that someone acted “with the intent to secure an unlawful benefit for oneself or another.” Encouraging leniency or advocating for an associate is improper but not necessarily seeking an unlawful benefit for him. . Obama’s Iran nuke deal Obama knew about Hillary’s private email server Obama IRS targets conservatives Obama’s DOJ spies on AP reporters Obamacare & Obama’s false promises Illegal-alien amnesty by executive order Benghazi-gate Operation Fast & Furious 5 Taliban leaders for Bergdahl Extortion 17 ‘Recess ‘ appointments – when Senate was in session Appointment of ‘czars’ without Senate approval Suing Arizona for enforcing federal law Refusal to defend Defense of Marriage Act Illegally conducting war against Libya NSA: Spying on Americans Muslim Brotherhood ties Miriam Carey Birth certificate Executive orders Solyndra and the lost $535 million Egypt Cap & Trade: When in doubt, bypass Congress Refusal to prosecute New Black Panthers Obama’s U.S. citizen ‘hit list’