Public employees are living longer than expected, deepening the state pension crisis.
By Steven Malanga | The second-longest bull market in American history hasn’t stopped the deterioration of state and local pension funds, whose unfunded debt has almost quadrupled—by their own accounting—from about $360 billion in 2007 to $1.4 trillion today. Having relied on overly optimistic and inaccurate financial assumptions for decades, public pension administrators are now forced to acknowledge that the systems owe much more than previously thought. Even as local governments [such as Fullerton] struggle to pay for this debt, it keeps growing.
Concerned that mortality tables for private-sector workers don’t accurately reflect what’s going on among retired government employees, the Society of Actuaries conducted a three-year study of public-pension retirement systems, evaluating approximately 580,000 deaths between 2008 and 2013, across 78 public-pension plans. The study found that, on average, female teachers were living 90 years, while male teachers lived 87.7 years. Female government workers in the general public-pension plans lived to 88.5; male government workers, 85.5. By contrast, the Social Security Administration’s life expectancy tables for the U.S. population show that men who reach 65 can expect on average to live 84.3 years, and women 86.7 years. A Society of Actuaries study of private-sector pension plans shows that members live longer than the general public but shorter than many government workers: men in these systems live on average to about 85.6 years old, and women to slightly more than 87.6 years old.
To read the entire article, please click here.
By Jon Coupal | Only in California. Progressive policies in California have forced drivers to pay some of the highest gas prices in the nation. Now, a group of liberal legislators want the California attorney general to investigate why this is true.
Let’s recap what the progressives have inflicted on working Californians who are simply trying to get to work and get their kids to school and soccer practice. According to the California Center for Jobs and the Economy, gas prices dropped slightly in December but declined faster in other states. In the United States other than California, the average gas price was $2.26 per gallon. In California, it was $3.40, a premium above the national average of $1.144, a 50.6 percent difference.
California had the second-highest gasoline price among the states behind only Hawaii. Californians paid $1.48 per gallon more than consumers in Missouri, the state with the lowest price. That’s 77 percent more for the same tank of gasoline.
The Center also noted that “California’s fuel regulations and the isolated market created by those regulations continue to push the state’s cost premium up higher — a cost-of-living factor that in particular falls on lower-wage workers as they are forced to commute longer distances in order to find housing they can afford.” Those regulations include California’s unique cap-and-trade law and low-carbon fuel standards, rendering the production of gasoline an expensive and risky enterprise.
To read the entire column, please click here.
State and local governments face a $5 trillion unfunded pension liability. Daniel DiSalvo of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal says paying for this will force cities like Fullerton to put basic services such as fire, police and street repairs on the chopping block.
In what appeared to be a choreographed process, last night former council member Jan Flory was appointed to fill the vacant seat on the Fullerton City Council in a 3-1 vote.
Chris Nguyen published the details on his OC Political blog this morning.
Watch the video of the four-hour meeting here.
The sole purpose for tonight’s special City Council meeting is to decide whether to appoint one of 25 applicants to fill its vacant seat. If no appointment is made, the default position will be a special election on November 5.
Reporter Spencer Custodio of the Voice of OC provides a good overview.
The special meeting will begin at 6:30 pm. The agenda can be downloaded here.
To watch last night’s forum featuring a gaggle of applicants seeking the vacant seat on the City Council, click here (it’s a Facebook live event).
By Jon Coupal | “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” so the saying goes. Unfortunately, California voters have been fooled (aka lied to) so many times by our political leaders that perhaps they have come to expect it. For a politician to actually keep his or her word is now the exception, not the rule.
And it’s not just voters who get fooled. Interest groups and other officials are often snookered by those with more political power. Several recent displays of this political behavior show beyond any doubt that promises made in Sacramento have an extraordinarily short shelf life.
The first example deals with California’s one-of-a-kind “cap and trade” law, a market-based regulatory system for incentivizing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Under this program, impacted industries must pay for emitting greenhouse gases by purchasing credits at auction. The program was set to expire in 2020, but in 2017 there was a big political push to extend “cap and trade” in a way that would impose another huge cost to refineries and utilities, which would then pass those costs to California drivers, truckers and electricity customers.
To read the entire column, please click here.
January –1*, 11, 25
February – 8, 18*, 22
March – 8, 22
April – 5, 19
May – 3, 17, 27*,31
June – 14, 28
July – 4*, 12, 26
August – 9, 23
September – 2*, 6, 20
October – 4, 18
November – 1, 11*, 15, 28*, 29*
December – 13, 24*, 25*, 26^,27^, 31*