For years, employers in the private sector have been moving in the direction of versatile, 401(k) style retirement accounts. However, a vast majority of the 20 million state and local government workers in the U.S. have kept their generous, defined-benefit pension plans.
Despite the lofty promises made by policymakers, public employee retirement plans have been neglected over the years and have become huge liabilities that severely threaten the financial health of many states. If legislators do not properly address the crisis in public pensions, they will make current state budget problems look trivial. In fact, as of 2006, states had accumulated nearly $360 billion in unfunded pension obligations, according to a new 50 state study conducted for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The report entitled “State Pension Funds Fall Off a Cliff,” is co-authored by Dr. Barry Poulson of the University of Colorado and Dr. Arthur P. Hall of the University of Kansas.
Much of the current data regarding liabilities in public employee pensions was taken before the recent economic downturn, and the study’s authors warn the problem is much worse today since stock market losses have not been fully realized in many official government pension statistics. Other estimates with recent data place the unfunded pension liabilities at $1 trillion nationally.
The mathematical impossibility of paying off the overly rich pensions of public sector employees is hitting home in state after state. The battle over dwindling financial resources will pit taxpayers against the unions; once the citizenry gets wind of the outrageous defined-benefit pension plans crafted by SEIU bosses, there will be no containing the rage.(from directorblue.blogspot.com)
Public sector union bosses have completely hosed their members and taxpayers by constructing impossible pension payment schemes. The shortfall will be real, the outrage formidable and the misery significant.
When a company goes bankrupt, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp (PBGC) is intended to step in to cover the shortfall. But the PBGC does not protect state or local retirement plans.
It's high time that public-sector unions were outlawed and all such organizations currently operating disbanded. It's clear that they serve no useful purpose other than soaking taxpayers and their rank-and-file members.
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As a 65-year-old independent voter, am I the only person who has been watching President Obama look directly into the television cameras both in his campaign and in office, and make frequent statements which seem disingenuous at best, or worse, devoid of truth?
How could President Obama believe he could use America's ignorance of history and the facts, with his superior intellect and his amazing oratorical skills, to ignore the U.S. Constitution and the will of the American people?
I just finished reading a book written in 1972, which has been asserted by many historians as the "playbook or bible" of President Obama's true world vision as a former community organizer in Chicago. It is called "Rules for Radicals," by Saul Alinsky, the late radical who was a strong proponent and apostle of Karl Marx's principles of socialism.
Some of the details of Alinsky's major principles in his book are entitled "Means to an end," "Haves and have not's," and "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."
After reading this book, now it is totally clear to me who the real Barack Obama is. I believe he despises the rich — the haves in this country, capitalism, private corporations and companies that strive to make profits.
• Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
• More Saul Alinsky stories: here
• 'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com
Brown University's invitation for Wade Rathke, co-founder of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, to speak at Brown next Tuesday has prompted criticism from a group whose mission includes the "restoration . . . of academic integrity."(from newsblog.projo.com)
Highly-charged adjectives fly: Stephen Beale, president of the nonprofit Foundation for Intellectual Diversity, a Brown alumni organization, on Tuesday described ACORN as "a disgraced and discredited organization" and said the selection of Rathke "raises eyebrows."
CNSnews published a story yesterday providing some insight into President Obama’s pro-project labor agreement (PLA) Executive Order 13502 from Brett McMahon, vice-president of ABC member Miller&Long Concrete Construction (”Construction Industry Opposes Obama Pro-Union Order,” 2/12/10).
It’s a little misleading to say the entire construction industry opposes the order. Certainly union contractors and 14.5 percent of the U.S. private construction workforce that belong to a union and stand to benefit from discriminatory and costly PLAs support this order. But astute taxpayers and the remaining 85 percent of the construction workforce that does not belong to a union are right to challenge this special interest policy, as PLAs needlessly increase costs and essentially prohibit quality nonunion contractors and their skilled employees from badly needed jobs (there is 24.7 percent unemployment in the construction industry as of Jan. 2010) and hinder them from delivering the best possible product at the best possible price to the public.
What’s notable about this article – besides the fact that it provides an accurate update on Executive Order 13502 - is that McMahon highlights the problems with false premises that are the foundation of Executive Order 13502.
Related video: Unions could not be happier
Activist, professor and author Angela Davis will appear as part of Bridgewater State College's Distinguished Speaker Series from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on March 18 in the Horace Mann Auditorium at Boyden Hall.(from southcoasttoday.com)
Davis is known internationally for her ongoing work to combat all forms of oppression in the U.S. and abroad. Over the years, as a student, teacher, writer, scholar, activist and organizer — and even a prisoner — she has become a living witness to the historical struggles of two generations of American life.In 1969, she rose to national attention after being removed from her teaching position at UCLA as a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party. At one point, she was placed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List and was the subject of an intense police search that drove her underground, all of which culminated in one of the most famous trials in recent American history.
(from Liberty Chick at biggovernment.com)
Tea Party activists might be smarter than some would like to think. And depending upon the outcome of a court case later this month, they might also play a role in setting legal precedent.
When New Jersey state election officials denied their submission to initiate a recall effort against U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, calling it unconstitutional, a grass-roots recall committee’s constitutional instincts kicked into full gear. Attorneys for the committee, themselves Tea Party activists, filed to appeal the agency decision and began writing their supporting brief.
Meanwhile, seemingly everyone was now weighing in as a legal expert. Some insist the decision is simple: NJ has no constitutional authority to recall a US Senator; despite what its state constitution says, that authority is reserved for the federal government alone. For weeks now, legal scholars, political pundits and the media have been chattering online about the case, now before the Appellate Division in the Superior Court of New Jersey, some treating it more like a sideshow and an outlet to take pot shots at Tea Partiers than a legitimate court proceeding with real constitutional significance.
But Dan Silberstein and Richard Luzzi, attorneys for the Committee to Recall Robert Menendez, a committee initiated by members of the Sussex County Tea Party, see this case in an entirely different light. They insist this case is not about whether a recall order from the state is judicially enforceable against a United States Senator, rather, it’s all about protecting the first amendment right to free speech. And they are taking the matter very seriously. Based upon recent developments in the case, apparently so are several others, including some high profile legal experts and the courts.
In New York State, along with several other states, multiple parties can endorse a single candidate in an election. This is called fusion, and it is frequently used by the Working Families Party, although they do occasionally run candidates of their own. The party mostly endorses Democrats, and has become a somewhat large and powerful organizational structure in New York politics. The party’s executive director, Dan Cantor, writes in the New York Daily News:
We hope to use our political capital wisely. At a time when city and state budgets are threatened by steep budget cuts, we will use the leverage we have to champion the priorities we think matter most to middle- and working-class New Yorkers. It’s an agenda that some consider controversial, but to us it’s common sense. Specifically, we’ll fight for:
Paid sick days. Right now, as many as 2 million workers in New York City aren’t allowed to take even a single day off from work when they’re sick without losing their pay and sometimes their jobs. Coming to work sick not only harms those workers but their co-workers and customers. It’s past time we made paid sick time a universal workplace right.
Take back bonuses. We hear it practically every week: The people who wrecked the economy are rewarding themselves with taxpayer dollars. The WFP supports President Obama’s new proposal to take back that bonus money – and we’ll look at similar plans here in New York State. Maybe it’s time for a “bonus recapture tax” that can be used to provide property tax relief for the nonwealthy.
“I’m very nervous!” twittered super-model Naomi Campbell during a press conference held in Havana’s Hotel Nacional in 1998. “I just spent an hour and a half talking with your president, Fidel Castro! But he told me there was nothing to be afraid of because he already knew a lot about us (Campbell and her travel-chum, Kate Moss) from reading the press!”
Castro undoubtedly knew plenty about Mss’ Campbell and Moss–but probably not from reading Vogue, Elle or Cosmo.
“My job was to bug their hotel rooms,” disclosed high-ranking Cuban intelligence defector Delfin Fernandez, “with both cameras and listening devices.
“When word came down that models Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss were coming to Cuba the order was a routine one: 24-hour-a-day vigilance. Then we got a PRIORITY alert, recalls Fernandez, “because there was a rumor that they would be sharing a room with Leonardo DiCaprio. The rumor set off a flurry of activity and we set up the most sophisticated devices we had.”
“Delfin Fernandez has not only met some of the most famous men in the world,” says a story in the London Daily Mirror about the Cuban intelligence defector, “he’s also spied on them and been witness to some of their most innermost secrets.”
“Fidel Castro is a source of inspiration for me!” gushed Campbell while concluding her “press conference.”It is a great pleasure to be in Cuba. I’ve really enjoyed myself, and I plan to come back!”
“Fidel Castro is a genius!” said Jack Nicholson after a visit with El Lider Maximo that same year. “We spoke about everything,” the actor rhapsodized. “Castro is a humanist. Cuba is simply a paradise!”
“The American actor Jack Nicholson was another celebrity who was bugged and taped thoroughly during his stay in Havana’s Hotel Meliá Cohiba,” revealed Fernandez, the man in charge of the bugging. “We bugged his room thoroughly. Most people have no idea they are being watched while they are in Cuba. But their personal activities are filmed under orders from Castro himself.”