Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pension? What Pension?

There will be no pension for you
Under the new accounting rules there will be no more analyzing this problem through rose colored glasses. The pension plans of both Chicago, Cook County and their sister agencies are in dire straights and is getting worse every day. 

Thanks to the defeat of the city’s retirement-fund overhaul by the Illinois Supreme Court and new accounting rules, Chicago’s so-called net pension liability to its Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund soared to $18.6 billion by the end of 2015 from $7.1 billion a year earlier, according to its annual report. The fund serves some 70,000 workers and retirees.
The new figure, a result of actuaries’ revised estimates for the value in today’s dollars of benefits due as long as decades from now, doesn’t change how much Chicago needs to contribute each year to make sure the promised checks arrive. But it highlights the long-term pressure on the city from shortchanging its retirement funds year after year -- decisions that are now adding hundreds of millions of dollars to its annual bills and have left it with a lower credit rating than any big U.S. city but once-bankrupt Detroit.
“The longer they wait to get this fixed, the more expensive it’s going to get for the city’s taxpayers,” Richard Ciccarone, the Chicago-based president of Merritt Research Services LLC, which analyzes municipal finances.
The estimate presented Thursday to the board of the municipal fund, one of Chicago’s four pensions, will add to what had been an unfunded liability estimated at $20 billion.
A key driver was the court ruling striking down Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan that cut benefits and boosted city and employee contributions. Without it in place, the fund is now set to run out of money within 10 years.
That triggered another change. New accounting rules, adopted to keep governments from using overly optimistic investment-return forecasts to mask the scale of their liabilities, require them to use more modest assumptions once pension plans go broke. As a result, the reported liabilities jump.
The Chicago fund is notable because very few governments have been affected by the change, according to Ciccarone. “The investment returns are not going to fix the problems themselves,” he said.
City officials from Emanuel to Chief Financial Officer Carole Brown have said the city is working on a solution to shore up the retirement system. Chicago has already passed a record property-tax increase that will bolster the police and fire funds.
Under the traditional way of estimating the municipal fund’s obligations, which is how annual contributions are set, the shortfall rose to $9.9 billion as of Dec. 31, based on market value of its assets, according to the actuaries report. That’s up from $7.1 billion a year earlier.
The pension is only 32 percent funded -- meaning it has 32 cents for every dollar it owes -- compared to 42 percent last year, according to the actuaries. And it has to sell 12 percent to 15 percent of its assets every year to pay out benefits.
City officials are having “very good discussions” with the unions about the issue, according to Emanuel, who has made clear that he disagrees with the court’s ruling to throw out his plan.
“We’re working through the issue to get to what I call a responsible way to fund their pensions within the confines, the straitjacket that the court has determined,” Emanuel told reporters at City Hall on Wednesday.
A proposal is pending in the state legislature to bolster funding for the benefit fund. The plan would ensure it’s 90 percent funded by the end of fiscal year 2055. Jim Mohler, executive director of the fund, told board members on Thursday that it’s a “fluid situation.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

Chip on the Shoulder

Walking around with the chip

I held the door open for a black man at the Pancake House yesterday. Common courtesy, that's all it was. He didn't acknowledge my act or even make eye contact. This is not the first time it's happened and it's happening more and more. 

WTF is wrong with these people? I didn't do anything to them. Neither did my father or grandfather and I'm not going to apologize for having to run on on little sleep to my second "white-privilege" job.

I got to ask after all the government assistance and affirmative action,  when are they going to be ready to take over the reins of responsibility and get over it?

Origin of the expression:

This expression originated in the U.S. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use was in 1830 in the Long Island Telegraphnewspaper: When two churlish boys were determined to fight, a chip would be placed on the shoulder of one, and the other demanded to knock it off at his peril. In this case a chip is a small piece of wood. A young boy who was angry about something and determined to fight would place a small chip of wood on his shoulder and challenge another person to knock it off his shoulder. When the chip was knocked off, it meant the opponent was ready and the fight would begin. It was his way of showing everyone how tough he was. Later, in 1855, the actual expression a chip on one’s shoulder appeared in print in the Weekly Oregonian newspaper: Leland, in his last issue, struts out with a chip on his shoulder, and dares Bush to knock it off. Nowadays, the chip is figurative: there’s no physical chip of wood on someone’s shoulder, he/she just acts like there is!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Nice going Rahm

Police: 8 dead, 41 wounded over Mother's Day weekend as Rahm's law enforcement policies begin to kick in 

And we talk about ISIS in Syria?

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Below is an article from 2000 that explores the concept of recolonization of the American southwest. I think it gives everyone something to think about. 

I'm not looking to bash anyone single ethnic group but I am requesting a discussion of a topic that will surely be on everyone's mind, soon. 

Multiculturalism, Immigration, and Aztlan

By Maria Chang 
Volume 10, Number 3 (Spring 2000)
Issue theme: "Revised projections: Census Bureau report projects a more crowded and balkanized U.S." 

One of the standard arguments invoked by those in favor of massive immigration into the United States is that our country is founded on immigrants who have always been successfully assimilated into America's mainstream culture and society. As one commentator put it, "Assimilation evokes the misty past of Ellis Island, through which millions entered, eventually seeing their descendants become as American as George Washington."1
Nothing more vividly testifies against that romantic faith in America's ability to continuously assimilate new members than the events of October 16, !994 in Los Angeles. On that day, 70,000 people marched beneath "a sea of Mexican flags" protesting Proposition 187, a referendum measure that would deny many state benefits to illegal immigrants and their children. Two weeks later, more protestors marched down the street, this time carrying an American flag upside down.2 Both protests point to a disturbing and rising phenomenon of Chicano separatism in the United States - the product of a complex of forces, among which are multiculturalism and a generous immigration policy combined with a lax border control.
The Problem
Chicanos refer to "people of Mexican descent in the United States" or "Mexican Americans in general."3 Today, there are reasons to believe that Chicanos as a group are unlike previous immigrants in that they