Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Gold Price Trend Forecast, Where are the Gold Traders? - Bob_Loukas
2.Stocks Bear Market of 2017 Begins? Shorting the Dow At its Peak! - Nadeem_Walayat
3.Betting on President Trump Leaving Office Early, Presidency End Date - Betfair Market - Nadeem_Walayat
4.Why Stock Market Analysts Will be Wrong About 2017 - Clif_Droke
5.Is This The Best Way For Investors To Play The Electric Car Boom - OilPrice_Com
6.Silver Price 2017 Trend Forecast Update - Video - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Gold Price Set For Very Bullish 2017, Trend Forecast - Austin_Galt
8.10 Things I learned From Meetings With Trump’s Transition Team - - John_Mauldin
9.How Investors Can Profit From Trumps Military Ambitions - OilPrice_Com
10.Channel 4 War on 'Fake News', Forgets Own Alt Reality Propaganda Broadcasting - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Here’s Proof Rising Rates Are Good for Gold - 21st Feb 17
Gold and Silver Weekly Update - 21st Feb 17
US Dollar and Gold Battle of the Cycles - 21st Feb 17
NSA and CIA is the Enemy of the People - 21st Feb 17
Big Moves in the World Stock Markets - Big Bases - 21st Feb 17
Stock Market Uptrend Continues - 21st Feb 17
Brent Crude Oil Price Technical Update: Low Volatility Leads to High Volatility - 20th Feb 17
Trump’s Tax System Could Spark The Wave Of Self-Employment - 20th Feb 17
Here’s How to Stay Ahead of Machines and AI - 20th Feb 17
Warning Signs Of Instability In Russia - 20th Feb 17
Warning: This Energy Investment Could Wreak Havoc On Your Portfolio - 20th Feb 17
The Mother of All Financial Bubbles will be Unimaginably Destructive when it Bursts - 19th Feb 17
Gold’s Fundamentals Strengthen - 18th Feb 17
The Flynn Fiascom, the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper - 18th Feb 17
Not Nearly Enough Economic Growth To Keep Growing - 18th Feb 17
SPX Stocks Bull Market Continues to make New Highs - 18th Feb 17
China Disaster to Trigger Gold Run, Trump to Appoint 5 of 7 Fed Governors - 18th Feb 17
Gold Stock Volume Divergence - 17th Feb 17
Gold, Silver, US Dollar Cycles - 17th Feb 17
Inflation Spikes in 2017, Supporting Gold Prices Despite Increased Odds of March Rate Hike - 17th Feb 17
Roses Are Red... and So's Been EURUSD's Trend - 17th Feb 17
Gold Trade Note Sighted - 17th Feb 17
Gold Is Undervalued Say Leading Fund Managers - 17th Feb 17
NSA, CIA, FBI, Media Establishment 'Deep State' War Against Emerging 'Trump State' - 16th Feb 17
Silver, Gold Stocks and Remembering the Genius of Hunter S. Thompson - 16th Feb 17
Maps That Show The US’ Strategy In Asia-Pacific - 15th Feb 17
The Trump Stock Market Rally Is Just Getting Started! - 15th Feb 17
Tesco Crisis - Fake Prices, Brexit Inflation Tsunami to Send Food Prices Soaring 10% 2017 - 15th Feb 17
Stock Market Indexes Appear Ready to Roll Over - 15th Feb 17
Gold Bull Market? Or was 2016 Just a Gold Bug Mirage? - 15th Feb 17
Here’s How Germany Buys Time From China - 15th Feb 17
The Stock Trader’s Actionable Guide to Trump - 15th Feb 17
Trump A New Jacksonian Era? The Fourth Turning (2) - 14th Feb 17
Stock Market Yet Another Wall Street 'Witch's Brew' - 14th Feb 17
This Is Why You Don’t Own A Lot Of Stocks - 14th Feb 17
Proposed Tax Reforms Face Enormous Headwinds - 14th Feb 17

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

State of Global Markets 2017 - Report

California Dreaming: Bankruptcy, Pensions and Taxes

Politics / US Debt Dec 05, 2012 - 05:29 AM GMT

By: BATR

Politics

The California Public Employees' Retirement System lives in the rarified air where financial magic somehow materializes to pay for their irrational exuberant pensions. When the drug high is over, the real world requires a harsh penalty for ebullient irresponsibility. The Chicago Tribune reports:

"San Bernardino, a city of 210,000 about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, filed for bankruptcy protection on August 1. Since then, it has halted its bi-weekly, $1.2 million payment to Calpers, saying it wants to defer any payments to the fund until fiscal year 2013-2014. Calpers says the city is already $6.9 million in arrears since August 1.


The San Bernardino bankruptcy is fast emerging as a precedent-setting case over how creditors, especially Wall Street bondholders and insurers, are treated in a municipal bankruptcy, because never before has a city seeking bankruptcy halted payments to Calpers or threatened its historical primacy as a creditor.

Under Californian state law, the contract between Calpers and debtor cities is viewed as inviolate and has been treated as such by state courts. Unlike Calpers, other creditors have historically been forced to renegotiate or forgive debt to debtor cities."

The concept of an inviolate obligation tied to public employee retirement payouts is a sacred cow that needs purging from law and, more importantly from populace endorsement.

Notwithstanding, expressing such supportive government orthodoxy, that bastion of objective news as reported by the Sacramento Bee, writes on the pro taxation argument of Jerry Brown: California tax vote start of national tax hike sweep.

"Revenue means taxes, and certainly those who have been blessed the most, who have disproportionately extracted, by whatever skill, more and more from the national wealth, they're going to have to share more of that."

The Democratic governor's remarks follow passage last week of Proposition 30, his initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners.

According to Governor Brown the expanded role for government programs and, by inference, public employee unions, is never ending. Just ask the taxpayers who live in San Bernardino if they are paying enough. Next, ask the municipal bond creditors, who stand to lose significant capital from the forthcoming bankruptcy.

Defining the extent of the self-inflicted injury, California: Anatomy of an exploding government obligation, reveals an alarming example of the cold hard truth why the state is financially broke.

"A promise to pay a retiree's health care coverage is essentially a kind of defined benefit plan, in which government pledges to cover a certain percentage of the cost of health insurance regardless of how much money it has actually set aside for this benefit. As the State Budget Task Force's recent report on California explains, right now workers covered in California by this retirement benefit are earning credits that should be financed to the tune of $4.7 billion a year, if California is going to have enough money to pay off this obligation over the years.

But instead of pre-funding the benefit, California has chosen to pay for it on a pay-as-you-go basis, taking the cash for the health insurance premiums of retirees right out of its annual budget. Right now that's only costing the state $1.7 billion annually because of the limited number of retirees who qualify for the benefit. But over time more and more workers will qualify, and those workers will live on average decades in retirement, swelling the rolls of those whom California must provide health coverage for."

Where in the present distressed economy are there new corporate employment contacts that include defined benefit plans? The old name is a pension. In the corporate world, IRAs and 401 K are common. The dinosaur companies that accepted union contracts with future defined benefit obligations are out of business, either escaped offshore or are hanging on by their fingernails.

Why should government employees have a privileged position, when the realities of further municipal bankruptcies are growing daily? It seems that Governor Brown forgets his own rhetoric.

Populism, Progressives and Public Unions cites a quotation from the current California governor.

"Several unions have agreed to larger employee contributions for their members. Taxpayers are living with cuts and making sacrifices to deal with the reality of California's budget crisis, state workers are going to have to do the same." Jerry Brown

Another quote referenced in a Public Employee Unions Guarantee National Bankruptcy article, also confronts the unrealistic mindset that exists in "The Golden State". Someone needs to explain to public officials that the state has used up their precious metal riches and their union members are not willing to do the hard labor of mining new veins of revenue benefit reductions that will balance their budgets.

"The Assembly Public Safety Committee today is considering one of the most noxious, special-interest pieces of legislation we’ve seen in a while—one that will endanger public safety, tread on the California constitution and reinforce the perception that some government workers are part of a special, coddled group that’s exempt from the normal legal and ethical standards that are applied to other Californians." The Registry

In this same BATR essay the Steven Greenhut’s critique in the WSJ, Public Employee Unions Are Sinking California, is emphasized. California legislators inhabit the same psychotropic mental escapism, exemplified with the double dippers that create the public employee entitlement culture. Financial reality never hits the retirement paychecks of the civil service sector, while the tormented taxpayer is told they must pay more.
The rush to leave the state has Californians perplexed for solutions as long as the Sacramento progressive ‘pols’ refuse to challenge the public union mafia. Those who remain will bear an even higher tax burden to feather the nests of the most unproductive elements in society, namely government.

Governor Brown preaches. "And everyone is going to have to realize that building roads is important, investing in schools is important, paying for the national defense is important, biomedical research is important, the space program is an indicator of the world leader - all that takes money". Just maybe a bankrupt state and municipalities needs to reduce the size and scope of government itself.

James Hall – December 5, 2012

Source : http://www.batr.org/negotium/120512.html

Discuss or comment about this essay on the BATR Forum

http://www.batr.org

"Many seek to become a Syndicated Columnist, while the few strive to be a Vindicated Publisher"

© 2012 Copyright BATR - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors

BATR Archive

© 2005-2016 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Catching a Falling Financial Knife