Is Covering Fake News Real News?

A quick diversion.

It seems we have always had unanswerable questions to divert us like:

  • What came first, the chicken or the egg?
  • If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it still make a sound?
  • If you say something and your wife isn’t there are you still wrong?*

To which we now add:

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Breaking News: NYS Teamsters Conference Pension Fund Gets MPRA Letter

On August 30, 2016 trustees of the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund out of Syracuse, NY became the ninth multiemployer (union) plan to file for benefit cuts under MPRA in an attempt to avoid insolvency. On April 5, 2017 they withdrew that application and on May 15, 2017 they refiled. Yesterday they got their letter:

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2025 Insolvency for PBGC Multiemployer Program

Today the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) released its FY 2016 Projections Report, an annual actuarial evaluation forecasting the future financial condition of PBGC’s Single-Employer and Multiemployer Programs noting, among other things, that:

The risk of insolvency accumulates year by year, leaving the multiemployer program fund more likely than not to use up all of its assets by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2025. While the program covers only roughly one-quarter of private sector defined benefit pension participants, it continues to have deficits (i.e., negative net positions) much larger than those of the single-employer program. Those deficits are expected to grow, in nominal dollars, over time. (page 1)

Here are the other things  of note:
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New Jersey Retirees Under Christie

New Jersey has updated their listing of retirees in  the state pension system. As of March, 2017 there were 325,937 retirees getting annualized benefits of $10,465,934,978. As of June, 2017 there were 328,932 retirees getting annualized benefits of $10,562,840,926.

Breaking down these retirements by year* we see an interesting pattern:

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Wizards of Lies In New Jersey Too

Watchdog.org had a piece on the Bernie Madoff story as told in the HBO documentary “The Wizard of Lies“:

A strong case can be made that public pensions are eerily similar to a Ponzi scheme, and that a similar collapse in some of the most underfunded systems in the country might be inevitable. That would mean an untold number of new victims that would make the Madoff case seem relatively minor by comparison.

The difference between a Madoff-like Ponzi scheme and the public pension crisis is that government is complicit in the latter, and that dedicated public servants, state retirees and taxpayers are the ones at risk.

I have been making that case for years and I see parallels between this:
.

.
and this.

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Critical Data On Multiemployer Plans

Pensions & Investments covered it but no other media outlet seems to take the institutionalization of theft by government bureaucracy as newsworthy. The sad part is that the participants in the United Furniture Workers Pension Fund A are hardly alone. According to a spreadsheet created from 1,234 Schedule MB filings for 2015 there are 333 other multiemployer (union) plans with larger deficits.

The Pension Benefit Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) keeps track of troubled multiemployer plans and form 5500 filings have these MB actuarial certifications but you have to know what to look for. Here it is….

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Breaking News: United Furniture Workers Pension Fund A Gets MPRA Letter

On August 17, 2016 trustees of the United Furniture Workers Pension Fund A out of Nashville, TN became the eighth multiemployer (union) plan to file for benefit cuts under MPRA in an attempt to avoid insolvency. That application was withdrawn on February 21, 2017 and resubmitted on March 15, 2017. Yesterday they got their letter.

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