Pensions-Angst!

I am upset.  I am apolitical and glad that comments tend to respect this.  But there are far too many comments off topic.  Please do not waste my time or yours.

If you like my work, please comment or call and let me know.  The same if you dislike and disapprove.  I welcome suggestions and observations, please keep them coming.  I need intelligent input.

Gentle reader, if you need more that 30-50 words, don’t.  Get your own blog.  I do not want to see back and forth conversations.  Get numbers, call, and get off my post!

I will not tolerate angry, hating cyberbullies.  I will likewise not tolerate off topic gyrations.  I am about to begin exploring my options including limiting comments or commenters.

Gentle reader, a sense of perspective please.  We are going into an election year and Congress is up for grabs.  As Americans we possess a birthright of incalculable value.  We do not need a revolution in America as we are legally entitled to a revolution every two years.  I will never tell another how to vote or which party or candidate to support.  I will curse and swear at a man saying I can but do not vote as it does not matter.  Your vote matters!  Never believe otherwise!  The most powerful tool ever conceived is your inheritance, bought and defended with American blood.

Do you vote by conscience or by party lines?  I would like to know.  Do not tell me which party, just do you vote by party or conscience.  Are you satisfied with the status quo, please let me know?  The Bury web site ran a story where a man admitted that in NJ politicians failed to fund pensions.  How do you feel about this?  Have you voted the way your grandfather, neighbor, or union said to?  If so this is called prostitution, not voting.  The value of the vote only matters when you realize you have a mind, intellect and are free to decide and vote as you, gentle reader, think best.

In the case of NJ, the pension crisis is not a result of the prior administration, rather it has been going for decades.  Gentle reader, have you supported a party that has had a majority control in NJ over the past two decades?  Looking back, have you supported a party holding the majority of elected positions?  Have you voted to support broken promises?  You have none to blame but yourselves.  How do you feel about that, comment and let me know?

Right now, Congress is forming commissions to look at loans to save pensions, what are your thoughts?  The mathematics are very complex and if there is a slight mistake, or if circumstances move in an unpredicted direction, the loan defaults and this is a taxpayer bailout.  How do you feel about this?

I have just sent out a proposal on this topic.  There is an active call looking for pensions to participate in a test program.  I have reservations about loans but, so long as my reservations are considered, I will support the effort.  We are actively looking for test subjects.  You are taxpayers.  How do you feel, and will you share your thoughts and comments with me and your elected officials?

I see ill-informed commenters shrieking about the debt and health costs.  A sense of perspective, please.  Suppose our debt is about $20T and our national budget is about $3.5T.  Divide the debt by budget and you get about 5.7 times.  This means the debt is less than six times income.  I can buy a home with a larger ratio, and I will bet many readers have.  Banking has a rule called the highly leveraged lending rule.  A bank can lend with a multiple greater than 7, but penalties begin.  If Uncle Sam were a business he may still be bankable.  And, while the debt is large, it is mostly very low cost. Debt is in no way the largest problem I see.

When screaming about how healthcare has risen, remember this.  We are a consumer economy.  What happens if we take three quarters of 40M retirees and cut income by more than 50%?  This is a real-world question.  Our consumer economy stops and increases to healthcare will go up faster than Elon Musk’s rockets.

I do not know what will happen tomorrow but I am committed to participating in the process today.  So, gentle reader, what do you want?  Continue in blind ignorance, or informed?  If I continue to write, will you read, and comment, but under my terms; no hate, no bullying, and no stupid-off topic droning?

My name is Tim Alexander.  I am an economist committed to changing my nations.  My light is on and I am open for business.  What do you want? Please let me know.

Tim Alexander

Triune

805-402-4943

 

35 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on February 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    i thought the owner of this blog was John Bury.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on February 11, 2018 at 2:55 pm

      Anonymous:
      Thank you for your comment and you are correct. I will not tell one how to use their property. But as I contributor I too, have a say in my content.
      I take my work very seriously, not always the approach. I will not have my message diluted by pointless banter nor tolerate hate mongering cyber bullies.
      This blog and Mr. Bury have been very good to me, but I am considering all options.
      Did you get my theme that our pending mess is so large that immediate action is needed?
      I recognize your name and know we have traded comments in the past. Please call or write any time.
      Tim Alexander
      Triune
      805-402-4943
      tim@triunegfs.com

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on February 11, 2018 at 7:34 pm

        Just curious, how would you …………… “I recognize your name and know we have traded comments in the past. ” …….. from a short sentence posted under “Anonymous” ?

        Reply

  2. Posted by Bonny Kelter on February 11, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks, Tim. I read every blog entry that you post, but I’ve never commented. I very much appreciate your work and don’t want you to stop. I worked for AT&T for 24 years, but they changed our pension plan to defined contribution in 1997, and then laid us off in 2002. I’m 60 and still need to work, but I should have been retired. FYI. That Trump’s sister is a retired Federal appellate judge who threw out the AT&T employees class action pension lawsuit – I think in 2012. She said she remembered her father’s words that you work until you die! And then she retired!

    Please keep up the good work!

    Reply

    • Bonny Kelter:
      Wow! My own cheerleader. Thanks!
      I welcome dialog with intelligent Americans wanting a say in their retirement. Please feel free to call or write any time.
      Tim Alexander
      Triune
      805-402-4943
      tim@triunegfs.com
      PS- I am hoping for an update as early as the end of this week about Congressional support of loans. Did you note I have two alternatives which are not taxpayer bailout? I have been contacted by another commenter named “The Analyst”. We are having great discussions.
      Each year one of the largest, global economic forums is in DC and called the FDIC Annual Research Conference. We are speaking about a collaboration on three or four papers for submission. No one person has ever had that many submissions in the same year.
      Do you realize that if many parties, including Congress, are so motivated that we move quickly, we can have trial funding before the end of June. We can then have audited, published findings on how the loan proceeds moved in the pension, by September.
      The research conferences all about theory and research. The Analyst and I want to publish a solution roadmap based on my theory. Wow!. There are some indications that my solutions may help with pensions around the world, I am investigating possible solutions to the UK healthcare crisis.
      I doubt that anyone ever needed a cheerleader, prayers and best wishes, between now and the end of June, than I do.
      OOP! I broke my own 50 word rule. Bad Tim!
      Call or write any time
      Tim Alexander
      Triune
      805402-4943
      tim@triunegfs.com

      Reply

    • Posted by Tough Love on February 11, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      Without giving (via ERISA) Private Sector employers the right to reduce (or end) DB pensions for FUTURE service, there would be no Private Sector DB pensions because the risk of having to honer (for FUTURE years) a locked-in formula and provisions when your future financial circumstances are unknown is simply too great.

      That risk is no less for Public Sector Plans, and the only reason that Legal Protections prohibiting reduction exists is:

      (a) The Unions OWN our Elected Officials …BOUGHT with Bribes disguised as campaign contributions, and
      (b) the Taxpayers are looked upon as “suckers’ who can be forced to endlessly pay more and more taxes, even when unjustified.

      Reply

  3. Posted by skip3house on February 11, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Tim…..I suspect you know this blog is wonderful for an education into its subject and are using it.

    Peterson Foundation worries debt payments will be largest item, soon. O.K. with your home, but why have future taxpayers pay for services done for us, not them, including pensions earned (by promises, etc…). Exceptions for bridges (infrastructure…..). And, to be sure our country survives past our lifetimes….

    Progressive tax systems (based on ability to pay) are our fairest method to support all the country’s needs, and must be better controlled to be sure all are fairly treated, add to the common good, and do not pass their ‘upkeep’ on to the future.

    Is it reasonable to have just a few thousand families controlling 80% of the wealth made possible by the security and economic factors provided by all of us? Google Ike’s thoughts. Regards.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on February 11, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    80% of the wealth (mostly land) in this world is owed by less than 10% of the people. Someone famous (can’t recall the name) once said that if all the worlds’ wealth was evenly distributed to 100% of the population, it would take less than 20 years for those same 10% to once again control 80%. The cream rises to the top.. Not saying that is good or bad. Just pointing out a fact.

    Reply

    • Anonymous-please honor my request and stay on topic. The open questions are how d you feel. Please do not clog with pointless dribble.
      Tim

      Reply

      • Posted by PS Drone on February 11, 2018 at 8:33 pm

        You have gonads criticizing any of the posters here. Why do you even submit these assinine posts of yours? You add nothing to the understanding of the fiscal issues and solutions to the country’s numerous pension problems. You are a flake.

        Reply

        • PS Drone. Thank you for your comments. Compliments and criticism welcome. I am reminded of the quote from a great man;”who is more foolish, a fool or a man that follows a fool?”
          My question is this, what does your above comment say of you. If you believe my work is “asinine” what do I infer of you, a constant reader and commenter. Do I conclude a hypocritical idiot? Or one incapable of reducing himself to the most base level.
          Tim Alexander
          Triune
          805-402-4943
          tim@triunegfs.com

          Reply

          • Posted by dentss dunnigan on February 12, 2018 at 8:49 am

            Triune-please honor you’rr own request and stay on topic. Please do not clog with pointless dribble…….dribble ,dribble …

          • Triune, your posts make me think of the saying, author unknown: “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” Too bad you are unable to heed this advice. I have read nothing in any of your posts which would lead me to believe you have a solution to the mess the politicians and identity politics have created.

            And now, I go back to following my own advice.

      • Posted by Tough Love on February 11, 2018 at 9:17 pm

        Pointless dribble ………… talk about the pot calling the kettle black !

        Reply

  5. Posted by Tough Love on February 11, 2018 at 6:32 pm

    Quoting Tim ………..

    “What happens if we take three quarters of 40M retirees and cut income by more than 50%? This is a real-world question. Our consumer economy stops and increases to healthcare will go up faster than Elon Musk’s rockets.”

    Lets clarify the full picture ……..

    Right now the DB pensions associated with those 40M retirees (likely in Public Sector Plans) ONLY have assets to actually pay about 50% of their promised pensions. So the issue isn’t really that we’re cutting or not paying pension promises where there already exists-money-to-pay-them* ………. but rather if we are to pay the portion of pensions associated with the 50% of those promises for which assets do NOT now exist, we must take that amount of money from Taxpayers (via increased Taxes) or generate it by loans ALSO to be paid back by increased taxes.

    Therefore what we REALLY have is ZERO net reduction in actual money for (Public and Private sector) retirees to spend, but simply SHIFTING money from the Taxpayers to the retired Public Sector workers.

    While I place a high value on keeping promises, the value of keeping promises disappears quickly when those promises are not the result of fair/arms-lengths negotiations, and Public Sector pensions & benefits fall in that category, being BOTH grossly excessive (by any and every reasonable metric) and clearly having been granted as a result of the Public Sector Unions BUYING the favorable votes (on Public Sector pay, pensions, and benefits) of our Elected Officials with BRIBES disguised as campaign contribution and election support.
    _____________

    * I consider any Feds funds that may arise from a reversal of quantitative easing as belonging to ALL of Americas Taxpayers, and should NOT be used to bailout grossly excessive Public Sector pensions.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Tough Love on February 11, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    This is getting weirder and weirder ……..

    Quoting Tim ………. “I have just sent out a proposal on this topic. There is an active call looking for pensions to participate in a test program. I have reservations about loans but, so long as my reservations are considered, I will support the effort. We are actively looking for test subjects. ”

    (1) post YOUR proposal here (or a lkink to it)

    (2) post a link to this “active call looking for pensions to participate in a test program. ”

    (3) “We are actively looking for test subjects. ” Who’s the “we” ? Test subjects for what? Post a link to this study looking for “test subjects”

    Reply

  7. Posted by boscoe on February 11, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    OK. This thread has gone further into interstellar orbit than Elon Musk’s Tesla. Mr. Alexander/Triune/Anonymous has begun mixing his sweet “gentle readers” with barely veiled threats that he is exploring his options including limiting comments and commenters (!!!!) who are wasting his time and exceeding to 35-50 words to do so. I’m outa here. Wake me when you are receiving the Nobel Prize for Economics in Norway.

    I’ve exceeded my word limit, so my time is up.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Tough Love on February 12, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Hey John,

    Did you catch this part from Tim ?

    “Gentle reader, if you need more that 30-50 words, don’t. Get your own blog. I do not want to see back and forth conversations. Get numbers, call, and get off my post!”

    Reply

  9. Posted by geo8rge on February 12, 2018 at 9:40 am

    “I see ill-informed commenters shrieking about the debt and health costs.”

    Bloomberg: Investors Are the Guinea Pigs in U.S. Fiscal Experiment

    How long can this borrowing binge go on before it matters to the credit-ratings firms and global investors?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-12/investors-are-the-guinea-pigs-in-u-s-fiscal-experiment

    The joker in the debt solution is if the act of raising debt could cause assets underlying pensions to fall in value or produce less income, like the GE dividend cut, and you will not accomplish your aim of increasing solvency.

    “Right now, Congress is forming commissions to look at loans to save pensions,”
    I have no idea what if anything the commission is discussing. My personal feeling is the loans were at least a concrete proposal, the commission is a downgrade from proposal to formal discussion of possible proposals. Is there a time limit for the commission?

    But the fundamental problem is there are 50 senators. You need 26 to agree on any proposal. At this point I don’t see it.

    I thought your proposal to use fed asset sales might work. Make the use of the money vague to avoid arguments and distribute the proceeds from the assets sales directly to states according to a preset formula with no restrictions on spending. States will probably use the money to bail out at least their own pension schemes. I would also distribute the gold reserves to the states, as I find the gold reserves ridiculous, but maybe that is just me. Give it a name like ‘The money for States act’.

    Reply

    • Thank you geo8rge:
      Your thoughts and comments are just what I am looking for.
      I just sent out a follow-up to my earlier proposal, this morning. I will share with you what I included.
      “…Consider for a moment, IL TERS and NJ PERS. In the three years between 2014 and 2016, they have had an average investment income return of about 6.2% and 5.8% respectively. On paper this looks able to meet a suggested loan repayment of 3%. But does it?
      A more detailed look at investment income shows tremendous swings from profits to nominal income to losses. It would take a very detailed cash-flow statement and projections to validate repayment abilities.
      The growth in employer contributions is staggering and I have to believe services are being limited, to make these payments.
      Next consider that even with strong investment income earnings, pensions still remain underfunded. Do we, post loan, deduct 3% from the NJ average of 5.8% for a retroactive average return of 2.8%? We need to be sure approved investments will return well above the loan interest rate.”
      There are many thoughts about loans, as proposed with the Butch Lewis Act.
      Since you are intelligent, informed, and have an opinion, please keep my contact info. Are you willing to share your ideas with me and elected officials? Your input is needed.
      I am not publishing because I like the sound of my own voice, I am determined to be part of solving America’s most expensive crisis. I need people like Bonny Kelter, Skip3house, and you.
      I need hard working American’s scared about their twilight years to share comments, criticism, thoughts, etc.
      So you tell me. I am active in solutions. Would you like me to continue to publish? I will make you a deal. If you are willing to continue sharing your thoughts and insights, I will continue.
      Please call or write any time and thank you.
      Tim Alexander
      Triune
      805-402-4943
      tim@triunegfs.com
      PS-I am not afraid of criticism, but will tolerate no fools. I am considering options including limiting comments to constructive content.

      Reply

      • Posted by geo8rge on February 13, 2018 at 9:56 am

        “pensions still remain underfunded. ”

        CalPers claims to be stable ‘pay as you go’

        Pension fund hits milestone: It’s earning more money than it’s paying out

        CalPERS now expects to earn more money than it spends over the next 20 years. Previously, its financial outlook projected deficits through 2040.

        http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article199757439.html

        Reply

        • Posted by Stephen Douglas on February 13, 2018 at 12:13 pm

          That is good news, but…

          So many local governments that contract through CalPERS are seeing their contributions continually rising to pay down the unfunded liability. If they can’t, or won’t, keep up those payments, CalPERS will cut them loose and reduce pensions, even for those already retired, to what can be maintained with the existing funds at about a 3 percent discount rate.

          As it stands, I think CalPERS legally has no choice in the matter.

          Reply

  10. John,

    May I ask why you have decided to allow Tim so much air time on what I have always thought was your blog?

    Just curious…..
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Posted by Stephen Douglas on February 13, 2018 at 11:34 am

      You must admit, there have been some good discussion, and we may have learned a thing or two we wouldn’t have otherwise.

      “To learn something new, you need to try new things and not be afraid to be wrong.” 
      ― Roy T. Bennett

      Reply

  11. Absolutely correct! I rely on observations, comments, and citations from you and commenters like yourself. This is the best and fastest education I can get. It is the pointless dribble I can do without.
    Please feel free to call or write any time,
    Tim Alexander
    Triune
    805-502-4943
    tim@triunegfs.com
    PS-I had a discussion this morning to refine parameters when making loans under the Butch-Lewis Act. My postings are not empty rants. I need intelligent input to help me frame best possible solutions. What say you, should I continue to post?

    Reply

    • Posted by skip3house on February 13, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Tim, I find your progress in this subject ‘ like Darwin’s…..’, interesting, as new thoughts emerge about our little understood time passing life of no other measure……

      Reply

    • “PS-I had a discussion this morning to refine parameters when making loans under the Butch-Lewis Act. ”

      You do realize this is gibberish, right? You sound like a corporate hack, but in any case, I do hope you are not literally “making loans”, let alone “refining parameters” while you do it.

      You should learn to master the english language before purporting to control the debate on a topic of such epic interest as unfunded public sector pension promises.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tough Love on February 14, 2018 at 4:13 pm

        I wonder if Tim would share with readers exactly WHO he had such conversations with ……….. Congressional staff or others like himself who like have no input whatsoever in such discussions.

        Reply

  12. Posted by Stephen Douglas on February 13, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    “drivel”

    Dribble is what your Starbucks cup does when you’re wearing your best suit, or when you’re late for a meeting with no time to change.

    Reply

    • See-more proof positive I need you and commenters like you.
      I incorrectly used dribble when I should use drivel. However, when I read your post I laughed so hard the drivel turned to dribble. 🙂
      Tim Alexander
      Triune
      805-502-4943
      tim@triunegfs.com

      Reply

  13. Posted by Stephen Douglas on February 13, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    I tried to show restraint, but now you’ve got everyone saying it.

    Off topic, but way less than 50 words.

    To be frank, I don’t know whether your plan “could” work, or even if it “should”. (If there is money available, there are many competing “needs”.)

    But, in discussing the pros and cons, who knows what else we may understand better?

    Like, how not to drivel on your best suit.

    Reply

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