Archive for the ‘Public Pensions – General’ Category

The Actuary Documentary

The actuarial profession has not received much attention from filmmakers since these clips from a 1948 classic:
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However that may all change if the New York City Office of the Actuary (NYCOA) has its way.

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Land of Liabilities

Truth in Accounting on Monday sponsored a presentation by James E. Spiotto on how to address Illinois’ constitutional pension crisis.

Among the highlights:

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Gubernatorial Candidates On Pensions

P&I did a lengthy story* on states where public pensions are an issue in the election for governor. Here is a condensed summary of that story with relevant video where available:

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Frontline Pension Gamble

They do not trust their eyes or ears, but only their imaginations. What convinces masses are not facts, not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the illusion.

Hannah Arendt

Two things I watched today – Hitler’s Hollywood from which that quote is taken and the Pension Gamble episode of Frontline. The linkage is that the Frontline people imagined that the pension crisis has its roots in Wall Street greed and a move to 401(k) plans so they tailored their narrative to maintain those illusions. The sad part is that they stumbled upon the real problems but did not follow up.

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Iowa Gubernatorial Debate on Pensions

In 2016 Governor Terry Branstad opened a debate over the future of public employees’ pensions in Iowa that went nowhere until it turned up as a scare tactic in this years’ final gubernatorial debate:
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So how does IPERS look?

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Pension News Explodes

There will be a Frontline episode tomorrow on the “role of state governments and Wall Street in driving America’s public pensions into a multi-trillion-dollar hole” concentrating on  Kentucky and examining “the broader consequences for teachers, police, firefighters and other public employees everywhere.” Here is the trailer:
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Though not a big fan of Wall Street money managers, they are minor players in the pension crisis. If anything, the outsized returns they provided allowed many zombie plans (like New Jersey’s) to appear healthier than they actually were. It was, in no particular order, politicians, unions, actuaries, government regulators, the mainstream media, and participants themselves to the extent they trusted the aforementioned that bear far more blame for bankrupting so many pensions.

The City Journal got much closer to the truth:

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Illinois Gubernatorial Debate on Pensions – Number 2

Another debate in Illinois and again, after the toilet questions had been exhausted, the pension issue came up:
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Both agree on the $130 billion hole but obviously are on the path of distracting from rather than tackling it. Contrast the jejune responses to the most serious challenge Illinois faces to how they perk up when allowed to wallow in the muck:

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