Posts tagged benefits
Chicago Sees Pension Crisis Drawing Near
Promises were made to unions by people who knew they would be long gone when the bills came due. Now the bills are coming due and there is no money, or soon won’t be. But that doesn’t keep the unions from screaming foul.
So what if Chicago is headed over the economic precipice due to lavish pensions which do not exist anywhere in the private sector? You know the sector which pays the taxes for the lavish public sector pensions. So what? I deserve a lifetime pension and healthcare even though I am likely to live to be 80 and I retired at 52. Tough, taxpayers. Pay me.
Good luck with that.
(From The New York Times)
The pension fund for retired Chicago teachers stands at risk of collapse. The city’s four funds for other retired city workers are short by $19.5 billion. At least one of the funds is in peril of running out of money in less than a decade. And starting in 2015, the city will be required by the state to make far larger contributions to the funds, which could leave it hundreds of millions of dollars in the red — as much as it would cost to pay 4,300 police officers to patrol the streets for a year.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
Perverse Incentives of the Welfare State
WASHINGTON – The ongoing economic slump has led to an unprecedented expansion of the segment of the US population receiving welfare assistance.
One reason for this, according to James Pethokoukis, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, is that the welfare system “creates some crazy disincentives to working your way up the ladder.
Benefits stacked upon benefits can mean it is financially better, at least in the short term, to stay at a lower-paying job rather than taking a higher paying job and losing those benefits. This is called the `welfare cliff.’”
To illustrate, a single mother who earns $29,000 can wind up with $57,327 in net income and benefits – but if she took a job paying $69,000, after taxes she would have net income and benefits of only $57,045.
Image credit: http://nextnewsnetwork.com
Feds give laid-off Boeing workers a big (GIANT) helping hand (It pays to be a crony)
Anyone out there who’s been laid off in the past 5 years or so (I know there are many of you) get a deal like this?
But wait, there’s more…
(From The Seattle Times)
While unemployed, they’ll also get a tax credit for nearly three-quarters of their health-care premiums. And they’re eligible for a grant of up to $25,000 toward the cost of a degree.
And for those workers over 50, if they have to take a lower-paid job after leaving Boeing, the government will provide up to $10,000 over two years in supplementary pay to make up some of the difference.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
Rotting, Decaying And Bankrupt – If You Want To See The Future Of America Just Look At Detroit
Eventually the money runs out. Much of America was shocked when the city of Detroit defaulted on a $39.7 million debt payment and announced that it was suspending payments on $2.5 billion of unsecured debt, but those who visit my site on a regular basis were probably not too surprised. Anyone with half a brain and a calculator could see this coming from a mile away. But people kept foolishly lending money to the city of Detroit, and now many of them are going to get hit really hard.
Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has submitted a proposal that would pay unsecured creditors about 10 cents on the dollar. Similar haircuts would be made to underfunded pension and health benefits for retirees. Orr is hoping that the creditors and the unions that he will be negotiating with will accept this package, but he concedes that there is still a “50-50 chance” that the city of Detroit will be forced to formally file for bankruptcy. But what Detroit is facing is not really that unique. In fact, Detroit is a perfect example of what the future of America is going to look like.
We live in a nation that is rotting, decaying, drowning in debt and racing toward insolvency. Already there are dozens of other cities across the nation that are poverty-ridden, crime-infested hellholes just like Detroit is, and hundreds of other communities are rapidly heading in that direction. So don’t look down on Detroit. They just got there before the rest of us.
The following are some facts about Detroit that are absolutely mind-blowing…
1 – Detroit was once the fourth-largest city in the United States, and in 1960 Detroit had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation.
2 – Over the past 60 years, the population of Detroit has fallen by 63 percent.
3 – At this point, approximately 40 percent of all the streetlights in the city don’t work.
4 – Some ambulances in the city of Detroit have been used for so long that they have more than 250,000 miles on them.
5 – 210 of the 317 public parks in the city of Detroit have been permanently closed down.
6 – According to the New York Times, there are now approximately 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit.
7 – Approximately one-third of Detroit’s 140 square miles is either vacant or derelict.
8 – Less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.
9 – If you can believe it, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.
10 – According to one very shocking report, 47 percent of the residents of Detroit are functionally illiterate.
11 – Today, police solve less than 10 percent of the crimes that are committed in Detroit.
12 – Ten years ago, there were approximately 5,000 police officers in the city of Detroit. Today, there are only about 2,500 and another 100 are scheduled to be eliminated from the force soon.
13 – Due to budget cutbacks, most police stations in Detroit are now closed to the public for 16 hours a day.
14 – The murder rate in Detroit is 11 times higher than it is in New York City.
15 – Crime has gotten so bad in Detroit that even the police are telling people to “enter Detroit at your own risk“.
16 – Right now, the city of Detroit is facing $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities. That breaks down to more than $25,000 per resident.
As Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr noted last week, it took a very long time for Detroit to get into this condition…
“What the average Detroiter needs to understand is that where we are right now is a culmination of years and years and years of kicking the can down the road,” said Orr, adding that his proposal should not be seen as a “hostile act” but as a step in the right direction.
Does that sound familiar?
U.S. politicians have also been kicking the can down the road for “years and years and years”.
But eventually you can’t kick the can down the road anymore.
Sometimes it is helpful to step back and look at what we have done to ourselves over the past several decades.
For example, back in 1980 the U.S. national debt was less than one trillion dollars. Today, it is rapidly approaching 17 trillion dollars.
And our debt binge has greatly accelerated under Barack Obama.
During Barack Obama’s first term, the federal government accumulated more debt than it did under the first 42 U.S presidents combined.
Isn’t that insane?
In fact, if you started paying off just the new debt that the U.S. has accumulated during the Obama administration at the rate of one dollar per second, it would take more than 184,000 years to pay it off.
The following are a lot more facts about our exploding national debt from one of my previous articles entitled “55 Facts About The Debt And U.S. Government Finances That Every American Voter Should Know“…
#1 While Barack Obama has been president, the U.S. government has spent about 11 dollars for every 7 dollars of revenue that it has actually brought in.
#3 During fiscal year 2011, over a trillion dollars of government money was spent on 83 different welfare programs, and those numbers do not even include Social Security or Medicare.
#4 Over the past four years, welfare spending has increased by 32 percent. In inflation-adjusted dollars, spending on those programs has risen by 378 percent over the past 30 years. At this point, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government. Once again, these figures do not even include Social Security or Medicare.
#5 Over the past year, the number of Americans getting a free cell phone from the federal government has grown by 43 percent. Now more than 16 million Americans are enjoying what has come to be known as an “Obamaphone”.
#6 When Barack Obama first entered the White House, about 32 million Americans were on food stamps. Now, 47 million Americans are on food stamps. And this has happened during what Obama refers to as “an economic recovery”.
#7 The U.S. government recently spent 27 million dollars on pottery classes in Morocco.
#8 The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently spent $300,000 to encourage Americans to eat caviar at a time when more families than ever are having a really hard time just trying to put any food on the table at all.
#9 During 2012, the National Science Foundation spent $516,000 to support the creation of a video game called “Prom Week”, which apparently simulates “all the social interactions of the event.”
#10 The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the largest snack food maker in the world (PepsiCo Inc.) a total of 1.3 million dollars in corporate welfare that was used to help build “a Greek yogurt factory in New York.”
#11 The National Science Foundation recently gave researchers at Purdue University $350,000. They used part of that money to help fund a study that discovered that if golfers imagine that a hole is bigger it will help them with their putting.
#12 If you can believe it, $10,000 from the federal government was actually used to purchase talking urinal cakes up in Michigan.
#13 The National Science Foundation recently gave a whopping $697,177 to a New York City-based theater company to produce a musical about climate change.
#14 The National Institutes of Health recently gave $666,905 to a group of researchers that is studying the benefits of watching reruns on television.
#15 The National Science Foundation has given 1.2 million dollars to a team of “scientists” that is spending part of that money on a study that is seeking to determine whether elderly Americans would benefit from playing World of Warcraft or not.
#16 The National Institutes of Health recently gave $548,731 to a team of researchers that concluded that those that drink heavily in their thirties also tend to feel more immature.
#17 The National Science Foundation recently spent $30,000 on a study to determine if “gaydar” actually exists. This is the conclusion that the researchers reached at the end of the study…
“Gaydar is indeed real and… its accuracy is driven by sensitivity to individual facial features”
#18 Back in 2011, the National Institutes of Health spent $592,527 on a study that sought to figure out once and for all why chimpanzees throw poop.
#19 The U.S. government spends more on the military than China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined. In fact, the United States accounts for 41.0% of all military spending on the planet. China is next with only 8.2%.
#22 If you can believe it, there are 77,000 federal workers that make more than the governors of their own states do.
#23 During 2010, the average federal employee in the Washington D.C. area received total compensation worth more than $126,000.
#24 The U.S. Department of Defense had just nine civilians earning $170,000 or more back in 2005. When Barack Obama became president, the U.S. Department of Defense had 214 civilians earning $170,000 or more. By June 2010, the U.S. Department of Defense had 994 civilians earning $170,000 or more.
#25 During 2010, compensation for federal employees came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.
#26 If you can believe it, close to 15,000 retired federal employees are currently collecting federal pensions for life worth at least $100,000 annually. That list includes such names as Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Dick Gephardt and Dick Cheney.
#27 During 2010, the federal government spent $33,387 on the hair care needs of U.S. Senators.
#28 During 2010, U.S. Senators pulled $72,370 out of the “Senate Restaurant Fund”.
#29 During 2010, an average of $4,005,900 of U.S. taxpayer money was spent on “personal” and “office” expenses per Senator.
#30 In 2013, 3.7 million dollars will be spent to support the lavish lifestyles of former presidents such as George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
#31 During 2011, the federal government spent a total of 1.4 BILLION dollars just on the Obamas.
#32 When you combine all federal government spending, all state government spending and all local government spending, it comes to approximately 41 percent of U.S. GDP. But don’t worry, all of our politicians insist that this is not socialism.
#33 As I have written about previously, less than 30 percent of all Americans lived in a home where at least one person received financial assistance from the federal government back in 1983. Today, that number is sitting at an all-time high of 49 percent.
#34 Back in 1990, the federal government accounted for just 32 percent of all health care spending in America. This year, it is being projected that the federal government will account for more than 50 percent of all health care spending in the United States.
#37 If you can believe it, Medicare is facing unfunded liabilities of more than 38 trillion dollars over the next 75 years. That comes to approximately $328,404 for each and every household in the United States.
#39 Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years.
#40 When Barack Obama first took office, the U.S. national debt was about 10.6 trillion dollars. Now it is about 16.7 trillion dollars. That is an increase of 6.1 trillion dollars in a little more than 4 years.
#41 The federal government has now run a budget deficit of more than a trillion dollars for four years in a row.
#42 If right this moment you went out and started spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.
#43 If you were alive when Jesus Christ was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
#44 Some suggest that “taxing the rich” is the answer. Well, if Bill Gates gave every single penny of his entire fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days.
#45 If the federal government used GAAP accounting standards like publicly traded corporations do, the real federal budget deficit for 2011 would have been 5 trillion dollars instead of 1.3 trillion dollars.
#46 The United States already has more government debt per capita than Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland or Spain does.
#47 At this point, the United States government is responsible for more than a third of all the government debt in the entire world.
#48 The amount of U.S. government debt held by foreigners is about 5 times larger than it was just a decade ago.
#49 Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. GDP grew by only 4.26%, but the U.S. national debt soared by 61% during that same time period.
#50 The U.S. national debt is now more than 37 times larger than it was when Richard Nixon took us off the gold standard.
#51 The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was first created.
#52 The U.S. national debt jumped more on the very first day of fiscal year 2013 than it did from 1776 to 1941 combined.
#53 Historically, the interest rate on 10 year U.S. Treasuries has averaged 6.68 percent. If the average interest rate on U.S. government debt rose to that level today, the U.S. government would find itself spending more than a trillion dollars per year just on interest on the national debt.
#54 A recently revised IMF policy paper entitled “An Analysis of U.S. Fiscal and Generational Imbalances: Who Will Pay and How?” projects that U.S. government debt will rise to about 400 percent of GDP by the year 2050.
#55 Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff is warning that the U.S. government is facing a gigantic tsunami of unfunded liabilities in the coming years that we are counting on our children and our grandchildren to pay. Kotlikoff speaks of a “fiscal gap” which he defines as “the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue”. His calculations have led him to the conclusion that the federal government is facing a fiscal gap of 222 trillion dollars in the years ahead.
Please share this article with as many people as you can. We are in the process of committing national financial suicide and time is rapidly running out to do anything about it.
Just like Detroit, a day is rapidly approaching when America will not be able to kick the can down the road anymore.
Sadly, our politicians don’t seem inclined to do anything about it and most of the population seems to think that our exploding national debt is not a significant problem.
By the time it becomes clear how wrong they were, it will be far too late to do anything about it.
For more articles like this please visit http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
I’m for anything and everything when it comes to getting people off welfare. Most people who eventually lost their benefits after welfare reform was passed in the late 1990s say their lives improved because they started working and were supporting themselves.
Education’s often seen as the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Do well in school and you’ll find a good job. Fail and you’re destined to a life of being poor.
So it’s understandable that a Tennessee lawmaker would back legislation linking school performance to welfare benefits — until you stop to think about the cold, hard realities of parenting a family under such circumstances.
Knoxville Republican Stacey Campfield proposed Senate Bill 132 in January. It would require up to a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) — or welfare — payments to parents or caretakers with children who “fail to maintain satisfactory progress in school.”
Despite facing a firestorm of controversy after first suggesting the bill, Campfield has persevered. Rep. Vance Dennis, a Republican from Savannah, Tenn., sponsored the bill in the House. This past week, the bill cleared both committees and appears to be on its way toward passage and law.
Social Security is debt slavery for the young. Plain and simple , just one of the many failings of government, who simply is incapable of doing business and can only steal and borrow money in order to spend it.The reward for working hard is to have half your income taken through force and a significant portion of this money is given to those that will not work! If that ain’t killing entrepreneurial spirit then what it is . The funny thing is, you can invest your money in the same place as social security and get more back privately. In fact if you could opt out and invest it in the same place not only could you receive the money for the rest of your life, but your inheritors would actually get the remainder when you die (not just have it go back to the general fund). The stupidest group on the planet are the ones who think that government was meant to provide for everything, and is the answer to everything.In a Ponzi scheme pays off the first few investors. social security does not even do that.A Ponzi scheme is voluntary but Social Security is violent
By: J. D. Heyes
We depend on them to protect our country, our lives, our freedom, our way of life. So why does our government continue to shortchange our veterans by chronically underfunding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), especially at a time when our vets need the VA the most?
As lawmakers and the president continue to pour billions into social programs that help earn them votes, once again the nation’s veterans are getting the shaft. Take the case of Rebecca Tew, a 43-year-old psychologist who fought for seven years to get benefits due her husband, Duane Kozlowski, after he left the Army with brain damage and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) so bad he couldn’t hold a job.
Eventually she got them, but not before she borrowed $20,000 from family, ran up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills for Duane, stopped paying on student loans and ruined her credit in the process. As of this writing, she was working on finding a landlord willing to rent to her, her husband and their five children.
“It’s basically been like a tornado,” she told BusinessWeek, regarding her dealings with the VA. “It’s wiped out our future. It’s wiped out our relationship with our extended family. It’s wiped everything out and we’re starting out again below ground.”
By Jennie L. Phipps • Bankrate.com
That FICA guy won’t be your buddy
In the first season of “Friends,” Rachel Green looks at her first paycheck as a waitress and asks, “Who’s this FICA guy, and why is he getting all my money?”
That’s one hard lesson about Social Security. Another is that when it’s time to claim, you can’t depend on the Social Security Administration to be your personal adviser.
In an effort to save time and cut costs, Social Security employees generally don’t give case-specific advice. So that means you are on your own to make the most important financial decision of a lifetime. You have to read the rules and do the research yourself.
William Meyer, whose website, Social Security Solutions, gives Social Security advice for a fee, says you also can’t depend on Social Security to follow instructions you give them electronically. If you have a request that is not the most common choice, you’ll need to go to the Social Security office and make the request in person, he says.
Read on to brush up on Social Security benefits that are not commonly known.
Once upon a time, anyone that was relatively competent and willing to work hard could go out and easily get a job that would enable that person to financially support a family. Unfortunately, that is simply no longer true anymore. Well paying “middle income jobs” are being rapidly replaced with “low income jobs” and part-time jobs. As the economy crumbles, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the typical American worker to survive from month to month. The number of companies that provide benefits such as health insurance has fallen steadily over the past ten years, and paychecks have not been keeping up with the rising prices of food and gas. Average American families are seeing their budgets squeezed like never before, and many of them are going into huge amounts of debt in order to make up the difference. Sadly, this is a problem that has developed over an extended period of time and that is not going to be reversed overnight. Over the past four decades, the ratio of wages and salaries to GDP in America has fallen dramatically. The typical American worker is not as valued as much as he or she used to be, and if current trends continue even more of us will be working part-time jobs or “low income jobs” in the years ahead.
In America today there is a great deal of focus on the unemployed, but there are also millions upon millions of Americans that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find.
It can be absolutely soul crushing to go all the way through school getting good grades, spend a ton of money on an education, and then work for 8 bucks an hour doing meaningless work for some predator corporation that simply does not care about how talented you are.
Today, an astounding 48 percent of all Americans are considered to be either “low income” or are living in poverty.
According to the New York Times, approximately 100 million Americans are either living in poverty or in “the fretful zone just above it”.
A lot of those people actually do have jobs. Unfortunately, a part-time job that pays 8 or 9 dollars an hour just will not get you anywhere close to getting over the poverty line.
This is not the way that the U.S. economy used to work. Back in the old days, good paying jobs that would allow you to live “the American Dream” were plentiful.
But now millions upon millions of Americans are scrambling for anything that they can get. According to a recent survey conducted by Gallup, the percentage of Americans that are working part-time jobs but that would like full-time jobs is now higher than it has been at any other time in the last two years.
In this economy, a good paying full-time job is incredibly precious. If you still have one, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate.
Check out the following chart. It is a chart that shows the level of wages and salaries as a percentage of GDP in the United States since the late 1940s. As you can see, the slice of the pie being taken home by American workers has been dropping like a rock since about 1970….
Is that a clear trend or what?
And it is going to continue year after year as long as we continue to pursue the same foolish economic policies.
As our politicians continue to allow millions of American jobs to be shipped overseas, competition for the jobs that remain inside this country is becoming extremely intense.
As you read this, there are hordes of hard working American workers sitting at home staring at their televisions as they wonder why nobody will hire them.
Right now, if you gathered together all of the unemployed people in the United States, they would constitute the 68th largest country in the world.
That is absolutely insane.
But even if you do have a job that does not mean that you are in good shape. The percentage of “low income jobs” just continues to climb. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
Many Americans work as hard as they can and still find that they must turn to the government for financial assistance. According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
And that number is just going to keep climbing unless we change what we are doing as a nation.