Tag Archives: pensions

Twelve Years A-Float…

9 Jul

I have 12 years to live!

At least to live above the poverty line…

That is If I do in fact live that long…

Because by age 72, according to our most corpulent governor, Chris Christie the 1st, my pension fund will be empty. He practically guarantees it! Our Beefy Boss says that any system where a person pays in 95,000 dollars and takes out 2.3 million dollars is destined to fail…that would of course be a system where Methuselah represented every pensioner because I would have to live to be about 969 to get paid 2.3 million dollars in retirement.

That’s an exaggeration on my part of course (by about 700 years) but then again so is everything that comes out of the Governor’s mouth, rather like so many of his farts, which I have no doubt represent more of the truth about our Over-sized Overseer than anything that he has to say.

When Mr. Christie was elected governor of New Jersey in 2009, he assured the state’s police officers and firefighters that, “Nothing will change for the pensions of current officers, future officers or retirees in a Christie administration. It is a sacred trust.” He told the state’s teachers the same thing…

But the intervening six years have shown just how little that “sacred trust” is worth to our Garden State Gargantuan, who signed legislation in 2011 raising public employees’ pension contributions and curbing their benefits. Employees were asked to make concessions which included raising the retirement age, suspending cost-of-living increases for retirees, and requiring workers to contribute more toward their pensions and health benefits, from 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent for teachers and 8.5 to 10 percent for Police and firemen with Judicial employees kicking in an additional 9 percent of their salary.

In return, our Most Magnanimous and Meaty Manager promised to make the state’s regular and contractual payments into the pension system, something that hadn’t been done by Governor Christie before (nor by most of his thieving governmental predecessors, I must add) However, this Head Honcho of Husk failed to deliver on those promises and those payments, which drove our pension system deeper into debt — a move that a judge later ruled to be unlawful.

But unlike previous Governors, Chris “Crispy Creme” Christie didn’t just stop payments but has also seen to it that the New Jersey pension system paid more than $600 million in fees to financial firms in 2014 — 50 percent more than the previous year, and at a higher rate than almost any other state reports paying for pension management. And he has had the pension money invested in high-fee firms whose executives made campaign contributions to Republican political groups…all the while telling New Jersey teachers, firefighters, cops and other public workers that “there are no alternatives” to cutting our retirement benefits because the state pension system is so strapped for cash.

Mr Christie’s overbite (excuse me, oversight)  of our pension system has gotten so bad that former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Ted Siedle, who conducts forensic investigations of state and local pensions says that New Jersey is the “Poster Child for pension system shenanigans happening to pension systems all across the country.” Including shenanigans like: lack of transparency, skyrocketing risks and fees and chronic under performance…with shenanigans being the operative euphemism for…stealing!

And now of course our Weighty Chief of State is happy, no, practically giddy, if you watch him on the morning shows, to tell us and all of America that the NJ pension system will collapse and go broke in 12 years. Now everyone sit down and shut the ef up!

But On a lighter note:

Our Elephantine Executive paid for food and drinks at MetLife Stadium with a state debit card 58 times over the 2010 and 2011 NFL seasons, accruing a bill of 82,594 dollars. That’s an average of nearly $1,500 on food and drinks every time he attended a football game. If you follow the governor at all you know that Our Paragon of Plump is fond of saying that while serving in public office he wants to “squeeze the orange for everything he can get.”… Here I believe orange being his operative euphemism for electorate, while he means squeeze, as in…screw.

So go ahead America and vote for Chris Christie for president of the United States! I’m sure He’ll be more than happy to liquidate your Social Security checks in an all out effort to outdo the late great Roman Emperor, Nero, who was once said to have fiddled while Rome burned.

So Won’t it be great fun America, to watch New Jersey’s Rotunda of Rule… Fart while America goes Belly Up!

And We’re Off…

10 Jan
On the very first day of the new Congress, the new Republican majority took steps that could very well damage the foundations of Social Security. In addition to providing benefits to retired senior citizens, Social Security  also includes a disability-insurance program for those who want to work but can’t due to health reasons. And sometimes when the disability-insurance program runs short on funds, Congress transfers money from elsewhere in the Social Security system to prevent benefit cuts. The transfers are needed every now and then to keep the money flowing to the proper recipients depending upon those who come and go within the system. These transfers have never been considered out of the ordinary and in fact it has been done by Congress 11 times over the last seven decades. That’s an average of once every 6 years or so…
Apparently the system’s trustees are expecting the Social Security disability-insurance program to face a shortfall next year, and are expecting Congress to do what previous Congresses have always done… but…What the new (and improved?) Republican policy says is that transfers must from now on “improve the overall financial health of the combined Social Security Trust Funds.”  Experts say that because of the new and rather vague language used, it would likely mean any reallocation would have to be balanced by new revenues or benefit cuts.” Because a “transfer” of funds doesn’t necessarily mean an “improvement” of funds…does it?
Republicans are saying that this new language is meant to “improve the overall financial health” of the Social Security system but it may just also provide a loop hole (and who in Congress doesn’t love a loop hole?) to clear the way for proposed Social Security cuts, which would be consistent with congressional Republicans’ goals based on their recent past attempts to make cuts, changes and reductions within the Social Security System.
So, If the disability-insurance program is starved of funds then people will inevitably have to face Social Security reductions of one kind or another. Already multi-employer pensions funds, which cover about 10 million U.S. workers, have seen reductions in pension benefits proposed and approved by Congress in last December’s budget spending bill. And if you are a member of a public pension program than you know that a recent and popular government tactic has been to starve your pension of funds by simply withholding promised and negotiated contributions to your fund.
This government policy of trying to break our retirement programs and then declaring them broken and in need of fixing is not only very disturbing, but most definitely immoral, and most probably illegal. But the bigger and more disturbing question that I have is…why? Why this attack on the working poor and middle classes and their promised retirement incomes? First job displacement in the recent past, then wage stagnation in the present, and now proposed reductions in our future pensions?
We already know that our Congressmen and women are bought and sold by big monied interests and as a result are doing their bidding but what are they up to now? Have they been heavily investing in Nursing Home Futures? Or are the banks pushing for a future of more “Reverse Mortgages” because selling the underwater kind just didn’t bring in enough ill gotten gains?
So what’s the deal? Does anyone out there know? I’d like to hear your thoughts because this new Congress is off and running and I sincerely hope we are not all trampled in the process…and then cast off because we are not “financially healthy”…or rather broken…as in broke.

The Rich Get! Everyone Else is on Their Own.

22 Dec

The 1.1 trillion dollar budget legislation approved by Congress and signed this week by the President, included a provision that is supposed to prevent an implosion of multi-employer pension plans. Those in favor of this provision claim that it is better to preserve some pension benefits for workers rather than letting plans collapse… especially because the multi-employer fund is “supposed to” run out of money within 10 years. And If the multi-employer system were to collapse, pensioners would  be left with no benefits. But the multi-employer plans are insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federally sponsored agency that insures private sector pensions. So what’s the problem?

Remember when all of those banks were about to go under because of their predatory lending scams and derivative packaging frauds and phoney bond rating swindles? And the federal agency that insures their money put it all back to the tune of trillions and trillions of dollars at tax payer expense? And then the bankers and wall street execs gave themselves million dollar bonuses for all of their good (dishonest) work?

So why can’t these at risk pension plans receive a giant infusion of money from that same federal government to save them and bail them out to keep their pensioners getting their full hard earned pensions…just like when all of those banks and bankers were bailed out? Because according to the plan as set forth in this bill, the maximum cuts permitted under the law for retired union workers are pretty drastic. For a retiree with 25 years of service and a $25,000 annual benefit, the maximum annual cut permitted under the law is… $13,200! That’s more than half of what is already a fairly meager amount, especially when you compare it to a millionaire’s bonus money.

Imagine being a middle aged man receiving a 2 million dollar bonus annually and having it cut by 1 million? You still get a million dollar bonus…and it’s a bonus! Now imagine being 70 years old and living on 25K per year and then being told you’ll have to live on 13,500 dollars! And did you know that this recent budget legislation, besides cutting these multi-employer pension benefits, includes the loosening of regulations that will make it easier for those same U.S. banks to lose all of their (our) money again?…If and whenever they please that is.

So, if the rich keep getting richer, and those who run our government are rich and are backed by the even richer, then what future is there for the honest working men and women of this country and their other hard earned retirement plans like public sector pensions, Social Security and Medicare?

According to financial experts full pension benefits shouldn’t be considered a sure thing anymore and everyone should have a Plan B…like saving your money to “make sure you have something to rely on in the future”. That’s if you work for a living of course, and have money laying around that isn’t sunk into an underwater mortgage or inflated college tuition or predatory credit card debt at up to 20% interest. If you do you can save it for the future…at .1% interest… from the big banks.

And what do you suppose is the super rich’s plan B when times get tough?

Thanks to Congress That’s an easy one… Just steal all the money again!

GRACEFIFTEENTEN

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