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Report has public pension short fall at $4.6 trillion

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Mr981, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. CAcop

    CAcop

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    California
    http://www.ai-cio.com/channel/ASSET_ALLOCATION/CalPERS_Wins_on_Hard_Assets.html

    Sounds like they are changing stratagies.

    The $251.5 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) gained 9.3% on its real asset portfolio, and plans to invest more next year, according its annual report for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. As of June 30, the fund’s real asset portfolio totaled $4.69 billion.

    Sounds like that porfolio did better than the commodities.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-03/calpers-commodity-holdings-fell-55-in-october-to-1-564-billion.html

    Maybe they shouldn't have listened to some on GT about buying gold.
     
  2. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Tewwowist

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    I'm intentionally being dense on this because it wasn't a valid analogy and I was using "density":supergrin: to illustrate that. Instead of picking the above excerpt apart, lets just let it go and address the meat of the issue:

    No. They don't. I wish they did but they don't. If they did have such a duty they most certainly would have been jailed for creating most of these public pensions in the first place because by creating them they would have been in violation of it.

    Furthermore, if they had a fiduciary duty at the present they would likely be in violation of it for allowing the pension funds to continue, and for most public employee union contracts.

    A fiduciary duty is a legal obligation:

    The people who manage the funds within the pension plans DO have a fiduciary duty.

    Well, it isn't. I agree. However, your point is based on a fallacy. There is no debt if the legislators legislate it away.

    In other words, taxpayer funds in public pensions are only guaranteed so far as the last law written to protect them. It is taxpayer money. The lawmakers can simply pass a law and re-allocate it. The taxpayers have a right to have their interests represented. If they, via their legislators, decide to remove taxpayer money, stop depositing taxpayer money or dissolve the pension (assuming not contractually bound), they have a right to do that and can do it.

    I'm not passing judgement on it one way or another. I'm just saying they can.

    However, current taxpayers/current legislatures cannot be bound by previous legistures. In other words, just because some legislature 30 years ago promised you a pension package, the current legislature can change that obligation and they should be able to. The current taxpayers were not represented by the previous legislature.

    Truth be told, this is generally the biggest problem with public union contracts and public pension systems. Some politician years ago made an agreement to spend some other person's money in the future for their own political benefit today.

    Sure they can walk away from it. Courts may or may not rule against them. If they so choose, they can amend their respective constitution. Nothing with the government is iron-clad, and it shouldn't be. That's my basic point.

    Remember that though we put judges in black robes and call them "your honor", they're still just lawyers and most of them are political hacks or politicians themselves. It is what it is.

    I don't. Government has proven it is untrustworthy. It has proven it does not have a fiduciary duty or even a "fiduciary mindset". I truly feel sorry for honest hardworking NECESSARY government employees who are put in this compromising postion. The good news for you folks is that in reality, not paying you would be political suicide in MOST cases. However, as the fiscal crises grow public opinion seems to be changing a bit as well and should the taxpayers send politicians to the state house with a mandate to relieve them of pension obligations, rest assured it will happen. I think it is highly unlikely though because the government pretty much has a monopoly on force and will bring as much pressure to bear on the taxpayers to force them to pay in order to protect their political status.

    I do too, if possible. But I don't believe I should have to bail it out at any cost, as a taxpayer. You have to be conscious of the possibility that it may not be feasible at some point. No matter the reason or the malfeasance involved, there is a limit, unless the federal government starts bailing them out with printed money. Even still, there is a limit, you just might realize that limit slowly.

    I would vote for that in a heartbeat and put public employees on a 401k type plan with very conservative taxpayer contributions/matches, like the productive sector has.

    I suspect that can't happen because it is mathematically impossible and would trigger collapse in any number of areas. So to that extent, we're all in it together.
     

  3. SunsetMan

    SunsetMan Deplorable Lifetime Member

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    Do you have proof the CALPERS money was not put into the plan? My roommate says all the money was only used for CALPERS.

    I had a discussion with him that his pension could become insolvent if California became bankrupt, that promises were made that CA maybe could not keep. He was fairly convinced that was impossible.
     
  4. CAcop

    CAcop

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    To understand CalPERS you have to understand how they pay out. There are three streams.

    1. Intrest off their holdings. This runs 70-90% depending on the economy. I haven't checked the current rate in awhile but it is out there if you want to find it.

    2. Employee contributions. For public safety it is default 9% of each working employee's pay. Non public safety is 7%.

    3. Employer contributions. This varies. During much of the 90s and 2000s most cities paid 0-5% assuming they did not pay their employees' share. I looked up my city and they got 2% back one quarter. Also factored into this is disability retirements CalPERS has to pay for people vs. the city paying for it. I won't even go there because I could write 10 pages on that alone.

    Essentially for CalPERS to go bankrupt cities would have to stop paying into it yet demand their retirees get paid by CalPERS. Not going to happen. CalPERS would tell them to pay them or they are on their own.

    CalPERS is essentially like the Mob. Once you are in there is only one way out, meanwhile you pay the vig.

    Also CalPERS is a public/private organization. Somewhat similar to BART.
     
  5. SunsetMan

    SunsetMan Deplorable Lifetime Member

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    This is where I see the big problem if say a 7% rate of return is what was planned for. I don't think my roomy expects the tax payers to make up any difference in rate of return, but I'm assuming CalPERS has been supplemented out of the general fund. I have nothing to back that up though. Research on that has turned up nothing.

    I think government pensions should operate like private 401k's where you get back what you have put in plus actual interest on holdings.
     
  6. jpa

    jpa CLM

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    I see where the disconnect is. Your jaded and cynical view of government is shading your view of government pensions. Since you don't expect the government to act with a fiduciary responsibility, you assume that they are all completely reckless and irresponsible with tax revenue. Even in light of information to the contrary and evidence showing that a pension system is completely sustainable you argue that "I don't get a pension so neither should you." Then you defend their years of failing to meet their obligations set by law when the system was established by saying they aren't obligated to honor commitments made by prior legislatures. If they have the opportunity to amend the law and fail to do so, doesn't that constitute a tacit acceptance of the obligation to follow that law?

    The problem is the cities and counties (employers) who didn't pay their contributions to the system that they were required to pay on behalf of their employees.

    As an example, I work for the state of Nevada. With every pay check, I contribute 12.25% of my salary to PERS. In turn, my employer also is required to contribute the same for a total contribution of 24.5% of my salary. That money is meant to be invested and through the power of compounding the returns, will eventually be enough to pay me a pension as well as pay other expenses related to managing the pension system. When the state budgets for each position, they plan for this expense based on the salary set for the position.

    The problem comes in when employers fail to plan for their expected contribution and spend that money elsewhere. The whole pension system suffers because that money doesn't have a chance to "grow" as an investment because it doesn't get invested when it should.

    I think government pensions would be just fine if the elected officials would stop stealing from them.
     
  7. G36's Rule

    G36's Rule Senior Member

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    Oh no, that can't be...

    We've been told time and time again on this site that these pension funds, CALPERS in particular, are fully funded and will never use taxpayers dollars!

    :rofl:
     
  8. series1811

    series1811 Enforcerator. CLM

    No problem here that minting five of those trillion dollar coins won't solve.
     
  9. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Tewwowist

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    No. Math shaded my view of government pensions. There is no disconnect there. The point of the article is that they are trillions of dollars in the hole.

    First of all, you need to understand that government does not have a fiduciary duty. I already explained that.

    Secondly, they are all completely reckless and irresponsible with tax revenue. Would you really like me to gather evidence to support that assertion? Will take about 2 minutes.

    No government employee or politician gives a dollar of tax revenue the same regard that the citizen who originally earned it did. Never will.

    It is only sustainable if the government bails it out (generally speaking). They will do so by extracting yet more money from the taxpayers who did not agree to this.

    What I see here is arrogance. I'm one of the people paying for these pensions but I just need to STFU and pay, right?

    I defended nothing. I explained to you and 2bgop explained to you that one legislature cannot be bound by another. This is a basic constitutional principle and it should be.

    Other than your personal greed, can you explain why one citizen should be bound by the commitments of a legislature decades before he was even alive?

    Let me explain something else to you. When you do business with the government, you might be awarded a 10 year contract. However, that contract always carries in a a clause that says it can be cancelled if the legislature does not appropriate the money for it, each year. This is how it works.

    I get it. You want your pension. You don't care if it isn't sustainable and the taxpayers will have to pay more. You trusted the government and believed the lies.
     
  10. Pensions sustain itself by making the principle earn interests, which is used to pay for the pension. And there is a formula (basically based on age of entering pension, and expected years to retirement) that determine each member's required contribution (let's call that the "principle.")

    So, ideally, the pension fund should receive $X in principle each year (for each member that's 20 to 30 years before needing it). But if politicians go to the pension fund and removes (say) 25- to 30-percent of the principle, writes an IOU, but when the IOU is due, the politician at the time says... "sorry, it was my predecessor, and in any case, we have no money to repay you..." what do you think will happen?

    The "borrowed" principle loses several years/decades of interest (due to being unable to be invested and interests re-invested).
     
  11. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Tewwowist

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    While I don't think that is responsible behavior, if it is taxpayer money they are removing, it is within their legal purview and it should be.
     
  12. In some ways, a 401K is better than a pension because when you die unexpectly, the entire 401K goes to your estate. With a pension, if I die (say) one year after retirement, guess where all my unused contribution goes? (hint: not to my estate).

    A 401K type plan is fine if all new employees are told this is what's going to happen. And of course, current salaries would have to be increased to match private industry's.

    For someone who started 30-40 years ago, the pension was part of the employment package they agreed to. They also agreed to take a lower salary than employees in private industries, with the understanding that the pension is part of the "overall" compensation package.

    Where I'm at, we contribute 7.5-percent of gross salary into my own pension, year after year, until retirement. So it's not true that we get a free pension.
     
  13. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Tewwowist

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    Yes. But taxpayers today should not be obligated to follow the commitments made by representatives 40 years ago when they were not represented.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013

  14. As a matter of fact, in NJ, the courts deemed it legal.

    The point is, you can't remove a large chunk of $$$ that was earmarked for one thing (and where interest earnings are important), hand out IOUs as a future promise to repay, then 10 or 15 years later when the IOU comes due, the current politician says "sorry... no money."

    And then wonder why there isn't enough money in that earmarked fund.
     
  15. devildog2067

    devildog2067

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    "Of course"? That's BS. Lots of problems with that assumption.

    1) This would only be true if the government were unable to attract qualified candidates at the current salary levels. For many positions, the waiting lists are years long. Salaries need to be reduced, not increased, in many cases.

    2) How can you say that salaries should "match" private industry? Many government jobs have no private industry counterpart. If a job can be performed by someone in private industry, it probably shouldn't be a government job.
     
  16. devildog2067

    devildog2067

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    And if pigs had wings they would fly.
     
  17. devildog2067

    devildog2067

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    Lots of people started at Enron 40 years ago, and did 30 years of faithful work and retired with a full pension. Defined-benefit pensions were common in private industry at the time; in fact that's why government had to start offering them--to be competitive. (Your idea that the pension is something that the government had to start offering pensions to increase the "overall" compensation package is false.)

    Then Enron went under. Those people lost their pensions. They don't get them any longer, except for a token amount from the PBGC. Through no fault of their own, they got screwed.

    Why is it that those people lost their pensions, but you think that government employees should get to keep theirs?
     
  18. Oh believe me, I've often wished gov't agencies would just say, "we're not enforcing such and such laws/regulations unless the current (politicians) specifically enact laws requiring us to do so. Laws/regulations passed by past administrations have no binding effect on us today."
     
  19. devildog2067

    devildog2067

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    In every way, a defined-contribution plan is better than a pension. For everyone involved.

    You expect to get a defined amount, regardless of what happened to your 7.5-percent contribution. That's illogical and irrational.
     
  20. If you're going to compare Enron (or other private companies) to governments, let's not forget that
    Enron did very well for itself when it was soaring. Many of their employees got great bonus packages annually.