New Jersey’s Pension Surplus

In local budgeting having a surplus is often a good thing providing a cushion against unexpected  downturns.  For example in the 2016 Union County budget it was reported:

Faella said the county’s surplus increased from $31 million last year to $55 million this year, which has maintained the county’s bond rating.

New Jersey also has developed a surplus account (though they define it as ‘pension contribution’) and it looks like they may need to tap it again.

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NJ Power Broker’s ‘Better Way’ to Solve Pension Crisis

The story does not mention it so you have to listen to the podcast to find out what Thomas Bracken, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce‘s president and CEO, thinks about the state’s pension crisis.
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Granted We Have Problems

Government at all levels is dysfunctional and James L. Buckley in ‘Saving Congress from Itself‘ may have hit upon a critical first step toward regeneration.

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Lies, Incorporated with a NJ Pension Example

The book came out last month looking to expose biased and paid-for research that pollutes public debate on:

  1. Tobacco
  2. Climate Change
  3. Health Care
  4. Debt
  5. Immigration Reform
  6. Guns and Lies
  7. Voter I.D. Laws
  8. Abortion
  9. Gay Marriage

Around the same time this podcast interview with Union Boss Hetty Rosenstein offered a concrete examples of the process as applied to the New Jersey Retirement System.

First excerpts from the introductory chapters of Lies, Incorporated and then Rosenstein’s lies:

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Special Master of Mankind

All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.

– Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

Ironic that when it was decided with MPRA to have retirees in multiemployer (union) pension plans take the hit for an unsustainable system the executioner was dubbed ‘Special Master.’

In a letter to Congress explaining why the Central States application was rejected Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew provided clues as to where this is headed:

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Disinherited – the Rest (+ Was Trump Right?)

Subheading of the book being “How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young” with Parts II, III, and IV on:

  • The Failure of Primary and Secondary Education
  • Drowning in College Debt
  • Licensing Requirements Keep Out the Young
  • Banned from the Job Market Parents’ Health Care”
  • Reclaiming the Disinherited Generation

Excerpts follow:

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CSPF Resuce Plan – for those who run CSPF

The 5500 filing for 2014 for the Central States Pension Fund (CSPF) is 428 pages with 160 of those pages (12-171) being the Schedule C, a form where you report expenses being paid out of the trust which mostly go to Service Providers but for CSPF there are also several Trustees and Employees listed.

Were the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to take over CSPF and cut benefits to the maximum allowed not only would participants take a substantial hit but these ‘Trustees’ and ‘Employees’ would be off the trust payroll entirely.

So it is that when the Treasury denied the CSPF rescue plan with its massive benefit reductions (encouraging larger reductions) the people who run the fund, on their website, fought back:

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