Archive for the ‘Public Pensions – General’ Category

Jeremy Gold Papers

Jeremy Gold now has a wikipedia page primarily with information taken from his obituary in the WSJ and NYtimes that includes helpful links to his writings and presentations:

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Drivers of Public Plan Underfunding

My Summer, 2018 issue of Plan Consultant (An Official Publication of ASPPA) came in the mail today, just in time to pore over in the passenger seat of what could well be a four hour drive to Newington, CT, but first, excerpts from an article by past ASPPA president Joseph A. Nichols that this group may find interesting.

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Labor’s Last Best Weapon: Lying

From the front flap of The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon:

David Webber uses cases such as Safeway’s to shine a light on labor’s most potent remaining weapon: its multitrillion-dollar pension funds. Outmaneuvered at the bargaining table and under constant assault in Washington, state houses, and the courts, worker organizations are beginning to exercise muscle through markets. Shareholder activism has been used to divest from anti-labor companies, gun makers, and tobacco; diversify corporate boards; support Occupy Wall Street; force global warming onto the corporate agenda; create jobs; and challenge outlandish CEO pay. Webber argues that workers have found in labor’s capital a potent strategy against their exploiters. He explains the tactic’s surmountable difficulties even as he cautions that corporate interests are already working to deny labor’s access to this powerful and underused tool.

I can’t speak to the first seven chapters of the book but that last chapter (The Retirement “Crises” and the Future of Labor’s Capital) makes the case that the pension crisis is a fraud perpetrated on the public by “billionaire conservative activists Charles and David Koch and their organization Americans for Prosperity, as well as Enron billionaire John Arnold and his Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) and other allies [who] are determined to reform public pension funds in ways that would destroy labor’s shareholder activism.” (page 213).

To that claptrap of a chapter I can speak.

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Unsustainable NYPD QDRO Procedures

Among the recurring headlines in Jack Dean’s pensiontsunami news aggregation emails is this item from 2013:

UNSUSTAINABLE: New York City Has More Retired Cops Collecting Pensions Than Active Cops on the Streets (op-ed – Nicole Gelinas / New York Post)

The New York Post did another story yesterday that suggests some of these retired cops may have too much time (and money) on their hands. But beyond the 40 years of pension payouts and 22 years of non-Medicare health benefits there is a puzzling aspect to this story that some of you may be able to clear up for me.

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PEW Reactions

I have been holding on to this youtube waiting for an opportune moment:


That opportunity has come as it was reported that a study released yesterday* from The Pew Charitable Trusts found that “the New Jersey and Kentucky funds are in such perilous shape that they risk running dry.”

Reaction, first from Kentucky:

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Public Pensions As Revenue Generators

And “significant” revenue generators at that. According to their latest ‘research’ brief the National Conference of Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) posits that if “public pensions were dismantled, our economy would suffer a loss of about $3 trillion by 2025.” And it gets funnier:

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RFP Funding Factor

A Bloomberg story pegging Wisconsin as having the best funded public pension retirement system in the nation starts off:

The latest Pew Charitable Trusts report on the state pension funding gap, which came out last month, has many words of warning for states that are “on an unsustainable course, coming up short on their investment targets and having failed to set aside enough money to fund the pension promises made to public employees.” New Jersey is in the worst shape of all, with pension fund assets that in 2016 added up to only 31 percent of liabilities.

New Jersey may still be last (depending on how Kentucky plays it) but not for lack of assumption manipulation. Which got me to thinking.

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