Do All Governments Lie?

In the last few days three things caused me to examine that question:

  1. We are having a gubernatorial election in New Jersey where property taxes are the main issue that people care about while pension debt would be the main issue if it were explained properly yet there is no media coverage on these real problems;
  2. I was interviewed by a journalism student at Ithaca College for a class assignment on citizen journalism; and
  3. I saw this movie.

My conclusion:

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Trusting Murphy on Pensions

New Jersey’s next governor took a stance on the public pension issue when it came up at a town hall meeting last night. The key word…
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Breaking News: Local 805 Withdraws

Local 805 Pension Fund of New York, NY just popped up with a letter on the MPRA website withdrawing their application for benefit suspensions.

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Trump Tax Plan

The nine-page plan is out and here is how it would impact me (and possibly you).

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PBGC Claiming Westinghouse MTIA Worthless?

The reporter recently contacted me on this story:

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – Employees of U.S. nuclear power firm Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, which is bankrupt and reeling from a failed reactor project, got a nasty surprise recently: in the eyes of the U.S. government’s pension insurer, its retirement plan has a massive shortfall.

While bankrupt companies often have big pension deficits, the vast majority flag the underfunding years in advance of filing for Chapter 11. By contrast, the Westinghouse Electric Co Pension Plan, which has about 9,700 participants, appeared fully funded in its most recent report to the Department of Labor in 2015.

That was the question and this is what I found out (and did not find out):

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Breaking News: Western States Refiles

Last February the Western States Office and Professional Employees Pension Fund out of Portland, OR became the eleventh multiemployer (union) plan to file for benefit cuts under MPRA in an attempt to avoid insolvency. Last month that application was withdrawn. Yesterday it appeared as being refiled.

So what changed?

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Truth on NJ Fiscal State

Truth in Accounting released a report today on the Financial State of the States based on data provided by the states.

New Jersey came in last based on the numbers but we have two, if not entirely unique at least exaggerated, burdens to bear here that put us in a much worse fiscal position:

  1. A property-tax cap that exploded local debt: To keep gravy trains fueled after a 2% tax-cap was enacted in 2010 localities looked to repay campaign bribes with debt that is now sinking Atlantic City with other cities (Roselle) about to follow.
  2. Our politicians: Unlike Illinois and Connecticut where politicians are struggling to find solutions (however misguided) to their pension crises, in New Jersey we have a fairly reasonable way forward gathering dust and key positions in government staffed with assholes and miserable pricks (per opening arguments).

Though tragic on its own, this is not the whole story:

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