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Keyword: pensions

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  • Quinn tells lawmakers to make 'hard choice' on keeping tax hike (another broken promise)

    03/26/2014 7:48:50 PM PDT · by Beave Meister · 4 replies
    The Chicago Tribune ^ | 3/26/2014 | Ray Long and Monique Garcia
    Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn today proposed making permanent the temporary income tax increase he signed into law three years ago, fully framing the debate over his fall re-election bid against Republican Bruce Rauner who wants the tax hike rolled back. Delivering his budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1, Quinn sought to offer some sweeteners for keeping the tax increase—including a doubling of the tax credit for lower-income workers and offering a flat $500 property tax rebate to benefit homeowners. "As a result of our hard work to restore fiscal stability -- from spending reductions to pension...
  • Other Michigan Cities in Pension Debt: Not just a Detroit problem

    03/25/2014 11:29:38 AM PDT · by MichCapCon · 11 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 3/20/2014 | James Hohman
    Detroit's pension woes are in the news, but municipal employees around Michigan should not presume that their pension systems are secure. Indeed, in most Michigan cities the underfunding problems are worse than those in Detroit. On paper, the unfunded liabilities for Detroit's police and fire system are $147 million, and its general employee pension system underfunding comes to $838 million. That translates into 96 percent and 77 percent funded, respectively. That is, for every dollar in pension benefits earned by an employee, the city has an average of 87 cents saved. That's not good, but the 2012 financial statements of...
  • Public-Sector Pensions are Eating Taxpayers Alive

    03/24/2014 7:31:40 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 46 replies ^ | March 23, 2014 | Jeff Jacoby
    Some of my best friends, to coin a phrase, are lifetime government employees. When they stop working, their pensions will put them among the highest-earning retirees in the country. On a personal level, I'm glad my friends' retirement will be so comfortable. But as a taxpayer, I know that their good fortune, multiplied by hundreds of thousands of government workers like them, will only worsen a swelling political and fiscal crisis. Around the country governments are facing a tidal wave of pension obligations that they haven't figured out how to pay for. By some estimates, the states' long-term unfunded pension...
  • Unions: 'Will that Be Cash, Credit or Corruption?'

    03/17/2014 4:41:21 AM PDT · by Kaslin · 7 replies ^ | March 17, 2014 | John Ransom
    While it’s a truism that for every finger you point at someone else you’ve got three pointed right back at you, for liberals it’s part of their laws of physics. It would be impossible for the laws of liberals to govern without this binding hypocrisy that keeps them in orbit. That’s why it shouldn’t surprise you that for all the leftist rhetoric about corporations and greed contributing the decline of the country, there’s one corporate outfit that’s really screwing up this country- and it’s a creation and a creature of the left. Like most Big Left organizations it is...
  • Tax Reform and Pension Reform

    03/13/2014 2:08:57 PM PDT · by ThethoughtsofGreg
    ALEC ^ | 3-13-14 | Ben Wilterdink
    Congressman Dave Camp’s recently released tax reform draft has stimulated a much-needed national conversation about the U.S. tax code, attracting praise, criticism and skepticism. Buried in the plan is one tax change that could significantly influence the pension reform debate now raging nationwide at the state and local level. Camp’s plan would require top earners to pay a surtax on previously untaxed municipal (muni) bond interest. Currently, state and local governments use tax-exempt muni bonds to fund capital projects such as bridges and new school buildings. The proposed surtax might negatively affect top bracket taxpayers’ willingness to invest in muni...
  • Pension Expert: Local Pennsylvania Downgrades Lurk

    03/10/2014 2:45:04 PM PDT · by ThethoughtsofGreg · 7 replies
    American Legislator ^ | 3-8-14 | ALEC
    With new accounting rules looming, states and municipalities are beginning to realize that their unfunded pension liabilities are much more severe than they had previously estimated. Defined-benefit pension plans, the standard for government employees, have wreaked havoc on state and local budgets for years. Unrealistic assumptions about the rate of return on pension investments is one cause for the plans’ regular underfunding, assuming an average uninterrupted 8 percent rate of return forever. ALEC’s recent publication, Keeping the Promise: State Solutions for Government Pension Reform, provides an excellent blueprint for policymakers to understand the pension problem and offers concrete solutions on...
  • What’s behind Illinois’ employment collapse?

    03/02/2014 11:42:15 AM PST · by Beave Meister · 31 replies
    Illinois ^ | 2/24/2014 | Michael Lucci
    A smaller and smaller percentage of adults are working to support the entire state population. Why does this matter? Because a booming economy provides the benefits of opportunity and upward mobility. But not only that. Growing the number of taxpayers is essential for funding core government services and pension bills. The only other tools legislators have are tax hikes, which have done more to chase away taxpayers than to fund the government. The percentage of the working-age population that is employed fell by 5.6 percentage points, from 65 percent in January 2008 to 59.4 percent in December 2013. This percentage,...
  • 4 Pension Myths That Keep Us From Making Badly Needed Reforms

    02/24/2014 2:18:23 PM PST · by ThethoughtsofGreg · 2 replies
    American Legislator ^ | 2-24-14 | Will Freeland
    As 2014 brings in new struggles for cities and states to pay for employee legacy costs while still funding the essential functions of government, policymakers on both sides of the aisle are reconsidering how to provide a secure retirement for state and municipal employees in a responsible manner. Reports estimate total unfunded pension liabilities exceed $4 trillion across the 50 states, and Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy, along with dozens more over the last half decade, are just the tip of the iceberg. Many thoughtful criticisms have come from reform discussions, but also many attacks built on misconceptions, “straw man” arguments and...
  • How Politicians Game the Pension System

    02/21/2014 6:27:15 PM PST · by MichCapCon
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 2/19/2014 | James Hohman
    No one questions that employers should pay the pensions that its employees earn. Yet in Michigan and across the country, government pensions systems have failed to set aside the money required to pay those pensions. Michigan's recent discussion of education funding reiterates that there are few political incentives to ensure that pensions are properly funded. The state has increased its support of government schools in Michigan. The school aid budget, which pays for government schools, increased by roughly $800 million from the budget passed before the Snyder administration to the most recently approved budget. Yet, some school administrators and union...
  • Cornyn a triple dipper; received three public pensions plus salary in 2012 (Oct 3, 2013)

    02/20/2014 12:19:24 PM PST · by jimbo123 · 20 replies
    Longview News Journal ^ | 10/3/13 | Potomac In The Pines
    Texas Republican John Cornyn supplemented his Senate salary with a trio of public pensions last year from his days as a Texas judge and elected official — a practice some fiscal watchdog groups have attacked as "double dipping." Cornyn, who is the minority whip and the No. 2 ranking Republican in the Senate, reported collecting $65,383 in public retirement benefits in 2012 in addition to his $174,000 salary as a U.S. senator.
  • John Cornyn’s Three Pensions Make for One Uncomfortable GOP Situation (2013)

    02/20/2014 8:15:52 AM PST · by jimbo123 · 34 replies
    Daily Beast ^ | 6/19/13 | LLoyd Grove
    Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas likes to present himself as a deficit hawk—a red-state conservative who “believes that Congress must be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money,” as his official website declares, and that “fiscal responsibility is the cornerstone for good governance.” So the revelation in the National Journal that the 61-year-old Cornyn is collecting three different state-government pensions while receiving his federal salary as a senator (a total of $239,383 in taxpayer-funded largesse) is slightly off-message, and just a tad inconvenient, as he gets ready to run for a third term next year. “There’s a lot of...
  • State Still Underfunding Teacher Pensions

    02/19/2014 8:07:57 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 3 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 2/17/2014 | James Hohman
    Michigan's school employee pension system is underfunded by $23 billion and to return it to full funding, it is necessary to continue to pay the system's annual required contribution. The annual required contribution is the amount necessary to pay for the pensions that employees earn and to catch up on unfunded liabilities under the state's assumptions. The state has not been paying the full amounts. The annual required contribution last fiscal year was $1.9 billion, but the state put in only $1.4 billion. This has been a long-term problem. The state only paid its full contribution in two of the...
  • Sen. Cornyn Reveals Not One, Not Two, but Three Public Pensions Atop His Salary (2013 Flashback)

    02/13/2014 12:29:14 PM PST · by jimbo123 · 13 replies
    National Journal ^ | 6/17/13 | Shane Goldmacher
    The Texas Republican earned $65,383 in retirement benefits last year; amended disclosure to show he's been collecting one pension since 2006. Texas Republican John Cornyn supplemented his Senate salary with a trio of public pensions last year from his days as a Texas judge and elected official—a practice some fiscal watchdog groups have attacked as “double dipping.” Cornyn, who is the minority whip and the No. 2 ranking Republican in the Senate, reported collecting $65,383 in public retirement benefits in 2012 in addition to his $174,000 salary as a U.S. senator. Cornyn’s office did not respond to requests for comment....
  • Prepare For When The New MyRA Becomes "TheirRA"

    02/10/2014 11:11:19 AM PST · by blam · 10 replies
    Market Oracle ^ | 2-10-2014 | Peter Krauth
    Prepare For When The New MyRA Becomes "TheirRA" Personal_Finance / Pensions & Retirement Feb 10, 2014 - 06:47 PM GMTPeter KrauthBy: Money_Morning Personal Finance Peter Krauth writes: In his recent State of the Union Address, President Obama unveiled something new: a retirement savings account to "help" Americans build a nest egg, coining it the "MyRA." Something immediately felt wrong about the proposal... but I couldn't put my finger on it. So I researched the new MyRA and found details to help you understand just how it works. But I also saw some potential dangers there that you need to prepare...
  • Voters in bankrupt San Bernardino sweep old guard from power

    02/06/2014 9:17:29 AM PST · by Beave Meister · 5 replies
    Reuters ^ | 2/5/2014 | TIM REID
    (Reuters) - Residents of bankrupt San Bernardino, California on Tuesday voted to complete a rout of the city's pro-union old guard, electing business-friendly pragmatists who have pledged to try to reduce pension costs and take on vested interests. As San Bernardino enters into a fourth month of mediation with its creditors, the biggest of which is Calpers, California's giant retirement system, voters on Tuesday elected Carey Davis as the crisis-hit city's new mayor. Davis, a businessman and political novice, ran in part on a campaign to reduce the city's pension obligations. In an interview in November, when he became one...
  • California's — And America's — Pension Debacle On Its Way: Watch Your Wallets

    02/06/2014 6:36:25 AM PST · by SeekAndFind · 9 replies
    IBD ^ | 02/06/2014 | Mark Bucher
    Hold on to your wallets, folks. Without a powerful intervention, California may soon become the first big domino to fall in America's public pension debacle. To help prevent catastrophe, the California Public Policy Center (CPPC) has just made public a new database detailing the size and scope of the state's outsized expenditures on public employees — the largest ever compiled in California. Legislators and voters should take note, because California can't afford another round of fact-free partisan warfare. As recently reported in the New York Times, the fate of California cities such as Desert Hot Springs — where civic bankruptcy...
  • Boehner proposes linking debt-limit hike to a restoration of recent cuts to military benefits

    02/05/2014 7:49:41 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 23 replies
    The Washington Post ^ | 5 Feb 14 | Robert Costa
    House Speaker John A. Boehner scrambled on Wednesday to sell a new debt-ceiling solution to his Republican colleagues, encouraging them to demand a restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority. Though Boehner (R-Ohio) did not formally endorse the idea as his own, he did ask his lieutenants to test it among rank-and-file Republicans. House Speaker John A. Boehner scrambled on Wednesday to sell a new debt-ceiling solution to his Republican colleagues, encouraging them to demand a restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of...
  • Federal employee unions use tax-funded official time, money to build political muscle

    02/05/2014 7:18:05 PM PST · by gooblah · 2 replies
    Foxnews ^ | February 05, 2014 | Mark Flatten
    A leaner union contract had been imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association was not happy about it.
  • US Congress revisits military pension cuts amid outcry from veterans' groups

    01/28/2014 3:10:56 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 33 replies
    The Guardian and AP ^ | 28 Jan 14 | Staff
    Congress is revisiting its decision to cut annual cost-of-living adjustments (Cola) to pensions for most working-age military retirees after talk of the cuts drew outrage from veterans' groups and others. The budget agreement approved this month reduced those adjustments by 1% annually once a service member retires until that retiree reaches 62. Lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee, back from a week-long break in their home states, said they were interested in repealing the Cola change scheduled to take effect on 1 December 2015. But Pentagon officials asked them to hold off on making any more changes until a...
  • San Francisco’s Gay Icon Larry Brinkin Guilty of Felony Child Porn Possession

    01/28/2014 12:11:26 PM PST · by ColdOne · 77 replies ^ | 1/28/14 | cnsnews
    ( – Larry Brinkin, who worked at the Human Rights Commission for the City of San Francisco for 22 years and was a prominent homosexual rights activist for more than 40 years, pleaded guilty to felony child pornography possession last week. Brinkin is expected to serve six months in jail, five years of probation, and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life when he is sentenced on Mar. 5. But he likely will get to keep his city pension because possessing and viewing child porn apparently is not considered a crime of “moral turpitude” under San...
  • Why Detroit Pensions are Underfunded

    01/24/2014 9:27:27 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 11 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 1/19/2014 | James Hohman
    Detroit’s bankruptcy has meant that the city’s pensioners may receive less than what they expected. This has angered a lot of people and blame has been pointed in many directions. There are a lot of reasons why Detroit’s pension systems are in poor shape and there is plenty of blame to go around. The most basic reason that pensions are underfunded in Detroit is simple: the city did not properly fund the system. During good times, the city oversold benefits and its assumptions have proven ineffective at keeping pensions funded during bad times. A retirement system can offer generous pensions...
  • Insight: Battle over police pensions in U.S. cities takes ugly turn

    01/18/2014 4:19:44 PM PST · by Anton.Rutter · 36 replies
    Yahoo News ^ | Jan. 16, 2014 | Tim Reid
    A drive by some American cities to cut costly police retirement benefits has led to an extraordinary face-off between local politicians and the law enforcement officers who work for them. In Costa Mesa, California, lawmaker Jim Righeimer says he was a target of intimidation because he sought to curb police pensions. In a lawsuit in November, Righeimer accused the Costa Mesa police union and a law firm that once represented them, of forcing him to undergo a sobriety test (he passed) after driving home from a bar in August 2012. That followed a call to 911 by private detective Chris...
  • The News with Sen. Cruz-Newsletter

    01/18/2014 4:40:57 AM PST · by Old Badger · 3 replies
    Personal email ^ | January 17, 2014 | Senator Cruz January 17, 2014 Greetings, This week, once again, Washington politicians failed to listen to the American people. The Senate passed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, and the Majority Leader and Senate Democrats refused to reexamine the detrimental harms many families are facing due to Obamacare. The expansion of federal power and the lawlessness promoted among Senate Democrats and the President must stop. Just this year, President Obama has delayed the employer mandate by a year, without the approval of Congress. He has chosen to modify enforcement of drug crimes, without the approval of Congress. He has granted legal...
  • Chris Christie's New Jersey Is Least Solvent State

    01/16/2014 5:25:28 AM PST · by IBD editorial writer · 16 replies
    Investor's Business Daily ^ | 01/16/2014 | John Merline
    More bad news for Gov. Chris Christie: New Jersey is dead last in the nation in terms of its fiscal solvency, according to a new report. The study, released this week by the free-market Mercatus Center at George Mason University, ranked each state's financial health based on a variety of measures, such as cash on hand to pay its current bills, budget surpluses or deficits, unfunded liabilities and ability to provide adequate public services. The Mercatus study used 2012 data. New Jersey came in last on two of those measures — budget and long-term solvency — and finished in the...
  • How Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Steals From His Soldiers

    01/11/2014 6:03:49 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 20 replies
    Military Watchdog ^ | 2 Jan 14 | Military Watchdog
    How Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Steals from His Soldiers That is a tough charge, not made lightly. The Secretary of Defense is stealing earned but deferred income from his soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. It is especially troubling because Hagel is a former Vietnam combat soldier and noncommissioned officer. He served in the infantry with valor and gallantry. He just stole $6 billion from his retiring or retired soldiers. No need to detail here the massive debt the nation has created and much of that from fighting mostly unfunded wars. No need to repeat the abundant and perpetual...
  • Senate Democrats Block Amendment to Restore Military Pensions [money goes to illegal aliens]

    01/10/2014 2:02:54 PM PST · by Zakeet · 65 replies
    Washington Free Beacon ^ | January 10, 2014 | Elizabeth Harrington
    Amendment would close loophole that allows tax refunds for illegal aliensSenate Democrats on Thursday blocked a Republican attempt to restore military pensions cut in last month’s budget deal, denying a vote that would save up to $20 billion by closing a loophole that allows tax refunds to go to illegal aliens. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) called an effort by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) to repeal the military retiree cuts “fiddling while Rome burns.” Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) “filled the amendment tree” on Thursday, ending debate and blocking any Republican amendments to a bill to extend unemployment...
  • Disabled Veterans to Be Exempted From Pension Cuts (Only Med Retired Early, Not VA Rated Disabled)

    01/08/2014 7:42:35 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 50 replies
    AP and ABC ^ | 8 Jan 14 | Andrew Taylor
    A massive spending bill taking shape on Capitol Hill is likely to repeal a recently enacted pension cut for disabled veterans. Capitol Hill aides said Wednesday that the $1 trillion-plus omnibus spending bill measure will reverse a 1 percentage point cut to annual cost-of-living increases that was inadvertently applied to more than 63,000 veterans who have left the military due to injury or disability. But the controversial pension cut included in last month's budget agreement would continue to apply to other military retirees. It would save about $6 billion over the coming decade, money that's being used to ease cuts...
  • An Unholy Alliance Is Forcing Veterans To Pay For 12 Years Of War

    01/06/2014 4:32:25 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 123 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 3 Jan 14 | Tony Carr, John Q. Public
    Led by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray but abetted by Barack Obama, Congress recently gambled with our nation’s future for an extremely modest short-term gain. In doing so, it was given aid and comfort by knowledge-starved pundits, axe-grinding editorial boards, and self-anointed armchair analysts everywhere, as it left the military and veteran community standing with their jaws on the ground in despairing disbelief. Exploiting pressure to strike a budget compromise, Ryan and Murray entered into an unholy alliance to reduce veteran pensions – including those already vested under previous covenants – by an average of $84,000 to $120,000. They obscured...
  • The Ghosts of Christmases Past: Haunted by public sector pensions

    01/06/2014 10:03:05 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 9 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 1/4/2014 | Jack Spencer
    At the beginning of the Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol,” Ebenezer Scrooge wouldn't give so much as a farthing to the poor. However, he also didn't reach into the pockets of others and spend their money so irresponsibly that it risked putting them and their children in the poorhouse. Sticking to the Dickens theme, it is appropriate to point out that every man, woman and child in this nation is haunted by the ghosts of Christmases past. This is a fact of life, not only in deep, dark December, but 365 days a year. One estimate of how much taxpayers...
  • Push to restore veterans' benefits may lack support

    01/05/2014 5:01:12 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 30 replies
    Pilot Online ^ | 5 Jan 14 | Bill Bartel
    Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, D-Va. Military veterans are pressuring Congress to move quickly when it reconvenes this week to cancel cuts in pensions for working-age vets - a change set in motion as part of last month's budget deal. However, reversing the decision to reduce cost-of-living pension increases could be difficult and, at best, would take some time to negotiate, say some legislators and lobbyists. Federal lawmakers from Hampton Roads, which has one of the nation's largest concentrations of retirees and active-duty service members, strongly support undoing the cuts. Most have already proposed or are co-sponsoring legislation...
  • Cut in military pensions reconsidered

    01/04/2014 4:23:24 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 9 replies
    Portland Press Herald ^ | 4 Jan 14 | Kevin Miller
    Under intense pressure from veterans’ groups, members of Congress are pledging to revisit a controversial provision of the weeks-old federal budget that would reduce pension payments for younger military retirees. The cuts to military pensions quickly emerged as the most contentious aspect of the two-year budget passed by Congress late last month. Since then, lawmakers have introduced a slew of proposals to reduce or reverse cuts that outraged veterans’ groups and active duty military personnel. “If they want to deter people from making the military their career, they are on the right track,” said Thomas Lussier, public relations officer for...
  • Security Insiders: It's Time to Reduce Military Health and Pension Benefits

    01/03/2014 6:25:56 AM PST · by Poundstone · 60 replies
    National Journal ^ | January 2, 2014 | Sarah Sorcher
    The time has come: Military health and pension benefits, which have more than doubled in the past decade, should be reduced as the defense budget comes down, said a whopping 90 percent majority of National Journal's National Security Insiders. Pentagon leaders have been calling for changes to curb the skyrocketing compensation costs, which threaten to usurp other key priorities in the defense budget during austere times—even training for combat operations and weapons procurement. But reform efforts have been complicated in part because military-personnel issues are a political landmine on Capitol Hill. In the budget deal clinched by Sen. Patty Murray...
  • Ryan O'Connell and Neil Berman: Military pension politics

    01/02/2014 12:06:48 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 5 replies
    Monterey Herald ^ | 2 Jan 14 | Ryan O'Connell and Neil Berman
    The passage of a bipartisan budget surprised many after the Washington D.C. fiasco of 2013. But having both parties working together does not mean the interests of all are served. No one knows that better than the men and women in, and retired from, our military. They are the most recent victim of budget cuts. What the authors of the budget call pension "reform," is simply a cut in military pension benefits for those retired and those currently serving in our armed forces. The authors are quick to argue that the cut is small — a 1 percent reduction in...
  • Inside the military pension cutback

    12/28/2013 9:10:40 AM PST · by TurboZamboni · 12 replies
    Pioneer Press ^ | 12-17-13 | ed lotterman
    A little-noted feature of the recent budget bill, together with wrangling in many states over public employee pensions, raises a question that has economic implications as well as legal and moral ones: Are defined-benefit pension plans explicit contracts of compensation for work performed, and, for military and public safety personnel, perils undergone? Or are they a voluntary favor granted by employers as a gesture of gratitude that can be withdrawn at any minute? The military pension question is the one most currently in the news. The budget compromise includes a provision that reduces the annual cost-of-living increase for those retiring...
  • Constitutional Convention Delegates Wanted Detroit Pensions To Be Fully Funded

    12/28/2013 8:09:55 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 8 replies
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 12/28/2013 | Tom Gantert
    Retiree pensions in Detroit were underfunded. Politicians fretted about the city's inability to pay the obligations and state officials debated what to do about the problem. Sound familiar? That was 1961 and retiree pensions were underfunded to the tune of $1.2 billion, when adjusted for inflation. Politicians foresaw a government that promised state workers retirement benefits it couldn't afford so they attempted to protect those pensions in a new constitution — the fourth in the history of Michigan. It was completed in 1962 and approved by voters a year later. Today, Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr projects the city's pension...
  • How Congress broke faith with our troops

    12/27/2013 5:45:41 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 11 replies
    MSNBC ^ | 25 Dec 13 | Patrick J. Murphy
    <p>Last week, Congressional leaders reached a compromise budget agreement that averts yet another disastrous fiscal fight. On its face, that’s a commendable achievement but not worthy of the political preening that took place after Congress simply did its job. That’s because there is a catch.</p>
  • Paul Ryan & the GOP Must Own the Cuts to Veterans Benefits

    12/26/2013 1:24:21 PM PST · by SkyPilot · 37 replies
    Red State ^ | 18 Dec 13 | Erick Erickson
    Republicans in the Senate want to restore veterans benefits to the Paul Ryan – Patty Murray Budget plan. Harry Reid is blocking the amendment so Republicans are blaming Harry Reid for cutting veterans benefits. That is intellectually dishonest of the GOP. Paul Ryan, a Republican, drafted the plan with Patty Murray, a Democrat. House Republicans overwhelming approved the plan before it even made it to Harry Reid for a vote. The Republicans could have restored the cuts themselves in the House. Instead, they voted for the plan with the cuts to veterans benefits and went home. Were Harry Reid...
  • Disposable: Paul Ryan's Budget Epitomizes How Washington Actually Sees Veterans

    12/25/2013 11:10:42 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 28 replies
    Business Insider ^ | 24 Dec 13 | Tony Carr, John Q. Public
    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) wants to look tough on budget issues. In an editorial published in USA Today explaining his decision to lead the passage of a budget that reduced vested veteran pensions by an average of $84,000 to $120,000, Mr. Ryan founded his message on the urgent need to “do the right thing.” In doing so, he created a painful irony; Ryan’s budget seeks to save $6B over the next 10 years – equivalent to less than six-tenths of one percent of projected federal spending over that period — by extracting it from compensation already guaranteed to people...
  • AP: Military Personnel Make Enough Money to Survive Pension Cuts

    12/24/2013 6:25:34 AM PST · by Zakeet · 63 replies
    Brietbart Big Government ^ | December 23, 2013 | Awr Hawkins
    With veterans' groups fighting against cuts in military pensions, the Associated Press (AP) is out with a story suggesting that in light of active duty military pay, healthcare, and "quality of life" benefits, retiring military personnel should be able to the weather the cuts that Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has pushed through. According to the AP, "compensation" for active duty military "is competitive with the private sector." They try to bolster this point by showing that "an Army private with fewer than two years of service and no dependents earns on average about $40,000 annually." Later in the paragraph they...
  • Veterans groups vow to fight cuts in military pensions

    12/23/2013 7:13:42 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 20 replies
    Fox News ^ | 23 Dec 13 | Fox news
    The Pentagon's top civilian says it's time to tame burgeoning military personnel costs, but he's facing a test of wills with the nation's powerful veterans groups, which want no cut in their benefits. Veterans groups are fighting curbs in annual pension increases for military retirees under age 62 that are part of the new budget deal passed by Congress last week and awaiting President Barack Obama's signature. After a barrage of protests from the military community, lawmakers said they'll review the cut next year and possibly reverse it. But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday that reform of military...
  • Ryan defends military benefits cuts (Proposed "fix" will NOT cover disabled retirees)

    12/22/2013 11:43:30 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 74 replies
    The Hill ^ | 22 Dec 13 | Molly K. Hooper
    Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday defended cuts to military retiree benefits, noting that Congress would change a provision for individuals who were “medically retired” or received “survivor’s benefits.” In a USA Today op-ed published on Sunday, the Republican budget guru, who spent weeks crafting a two-year bipartisan budget deal with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), noted that the budget chiefs “have agreed to amend the law … well before the reform takes effect in December 2015.” “Many raised concerns that these reforms would affect the retired pay of service members who are medically retired and those...
  • First shots fired on military compensation

    12/22/2013 8:13:46 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 42 replies
    The Hill ^ | 22 Dec 13 | Jeremy Herb
    The battle over military retirement benefits in the budget deal was the first skirmish in a larger compensation war, and next year's outcome could determine the fate of long-protected military compensation programs. Budget experts and veterans groups say the retirement benefits fight will serve as a test case to see what appetite there is on Capitol Hill to actually cut military compensation costs — and how much blowback will come from those efforts. “There’s no doubt that this is a little bit of a weather vane, a litmus test as to what the veterans and military communities’ tolerance is going...
  • Canada to phase out home mail delivery to cut big losses

    12/17/2013 12:41:41 PM PST · by TurboZamboni · 44 replies
    Rooters ^ | 12-11-13 | David Ljunggren
    Dec 11 (Reuters) - Canada's postal service will phase out urban home delivery within five years and hike the cost of postage stamps to try to stem soaring losses, the post office said on Wednesday. Canada Post, like the U.S. Postal Service, is suffering as customers switch to digital communications. In August it said it was on track to run short of cash by the middle of 2014 unless major changes were made. The government-owned corporation - which has a mandate to be self-financing - last month reported a third-quarter loss of C$109 million ($103 million) before tax and said...
  • Hidden disaster in new budget: Demonic plot to raid pensions

    12/12/2013 3:09:04 AM PST · by Cincinatus' Wife · 44 replies
    Salon ^ | December 11, 2013 | David Dayen
    2013 has not been a pleasant year if you work for the federal government. You’ve been subject to pay freezes, furloughs and shutdowns. One of you got yelled at by a Tea Party Republican at the World War II memorial. And if Congress passes the budget deal announced Tuesday night by Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray – a big if – you will get a final Christmas present: You’ll have to pay more into your pension, an effective wage cut that just adds to the $114 billion, with a “B,” federal employees have already given back to the...
  • GOP seeks military pension cuts in looming budget deal

    12/11/2013 7:34:40 AM PST · by SkyPilot · 34 replies
    All Voices ^ | 9 Dec 13 | itobin53
    In front of television cameras, Republicans wave the flag in support of US military personnel. But behind closed doors, they are taking aim at their pensions. The budget deadline of Dec. 13 is fast approaching with the threat of avoiding another government shutdown waning in the balance. Budget chairs Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash) may be close to a deal that could trim $20 billion from federal pensions. Similar to the chained CPI cuts President Barack Obama [Unlink] included in his failed Grand Bargain in 2011, Ryan is proposing changes in the way military pensions are...
  • Pension crisis endangers Chicago's future

    12/11/2013 5:44:55 AM PST · by outpostinmass2 · 19 replies
    <p>CHICAGO (AP) - It's not the vision of a world-class city that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel typically likes to portray.</p> <p>More teachers losing their jobs, thousands fewer police and firefighters on duty, less frequent trash collection and miles of potholed roads going unrepaired - all as property taxes soar.</p>
  • Merry Christmas? Detroit's Emergency Manager Weighs Pension-Fund Takeover (20 Cents On The Dollar)

    12/10/2013 8:45:38 AM PST · by whitedog57 · 4 replies
    Confounded Interest ^ | 12/10/2013 | Anthony B. Sanders
    Kevyn Orr, Detroit’s emergency manager, is threatening to take over one of Detroit’s pension funds after a report found that retirees received extra payments while the funds lost value. Mr. Orr proposed for Detroit to pay 20 cents on the dollar for the $3.5 billion that the city says it owes its two pension funds, one for 20,500 nonuniformed retirees and one for 12,700 retired police and firefighters. Detroit, of course, is the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, although New York City and Cleveland came close. This comes after another Detroit-area fiscal meltdown, the infamous General Motors bailout. Treasury...
  • Illinois Legislature Approves Benefit Cuts in Troubled Pension System

    12/03/2013 3:51:53 PM PST · by Oldeconomybuyer · 29 replies
    New York Times ^ | December 3, 2013 | By RICK LYMAN
    The Illinois legislature on Tuesday ended a day of emotional debate and fierce back-room arm-twisting by passing a deal to shore up the state’s debt-engulfed pension system by trimming retiree benefits and increasing state contributions. With the most-broken state employee pension system in the nation – some $100 billion in arrears – Illinois has been the focus of intense attention across the country as states and municipalities struggle to come to grips with their own public pension problems. The compromise reached in Illinois, a staunchly blue state with a strong labor movement that had successfully resisted previous efforts to trim...
  • Editorial: The Illinois reckoning

    12/02/2013 2:12:53 AM PST · by Libloather · 30 replies
    **SNIP** If legislators don't take a big step to unravel this crisis — an unfunded pension obligation of $100 billion that grows by millions every day — then the state that also boasts the nation's lowest credit rating, and one of the nation's worst jobless rates, will suffer even more. As will its citizens, many of whom wish pensions didn't devour more than one-fifth of the state's operating budget — money that could help educate children, care for the sick and meet other needs. It isn't just the pension crisis that should animate legislators' decisions this week — and that...
  • Is Emanuel's Chicago On Path To Financial Collapse?

    11/14/2013 5:03:32 PM PST · by raptor22 · 67 replies
    Investor's Business Daily ^ | Npvember 14, 2013 | IBD EDITORIALS
    Fiscal Disaster: A major credit rating agency has just given Chicago, with more general obligation debt per capita than Detroit, its second triple-notch downgrade in six months. Its bonds are perilously close to junk status. Citing skyrocketing pension costs and a lack of meaningful solutions, Fitch Ratings lowered Chicago's debt to A- from AA- last week, making it the second serious downgrade since July. The move by Fitch follows a triple downgrade of Chicago's bond rating by Moody's Investors in mid-July. Moody's cited the city's "very large and growing" pension liabilities and "significant" debt service payments, among other factors. The...