Category Archives: Uncategorized

Retirement Benefits Are to White Collar Crime and Generational Inequity What Handguns Are to Street Crime

Red State, Blue State, Democrats, Republicans, anti-tax advocates, public unions, public sector, private sector, federal, state and local and even in Europe.  Retirement and old age benefits are promises about the far off future, allowing any and all to use them as a tool to rip people off and make a getaway before the heist is discovered.  At the state and local government level, all over the U.S., one finds the generations now retired or about to retire promised themselves far more than they had been willing to pay for, leading to crises of various kinds. But always there is the assumption that the older generations that created the problem and benefitted from it can’t participate in sacrifices needed to prevent disaster.

The first response is always the union-friendly choice to drastically cut the pay and benefits of new hires, in order to offset the soaring cost of benefits for those cashing in and moving out.  Screwing the millennials as part of the “screw the newbie, flee to Florida” cycle that goes on and on.  “If you don’t like it, don’t take the job; take some other job that also pays 25 percent less than the Baby Boomers were paid for the same work,” as Federal Reserve Bank of New York research has shown.

But when that isn’t enough, the next proposal is a “pension freeze.” Middle-aged workers, now mostly the last of the Boomers in those in Generation X, get to keep the pension benefits they have earned so far, but are not allowed to accrue any new benefits at the rate they were promised.  They are allowed to contribute to a 401K instead.  “If you don’t like it, quit and take another job for 15 or 20 percent less than most Boomers and members of the Silent Generation were paid, if someone will hire you.”

That’s fair, isn’t?  No it is not!

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DeBlasio’s New York City Budget: Defunding The MTA Capital Plan, Planning for A Federal (and State) Teacher Pension Bailout

I looked through the Message of the Mayor publication for the City’s of New York’s April budget proposal and financial plan, and came upon a couple disappointing and unfair parts of the proposal.

First, on page 87, I found that the financial plan now includes line items for federal and state funding specifically for New York City teacher pensions. Not for education.  Not for the pensions of other public employees. Not for retirement of the vast majority of city residents who don’t have pensions and have little or nothing in retirement benefits at all, and would end up paying for this in higher federal and state taxes and cuts in services and benefits.  Teacher pensions.  Currently the amount of money in those lines is zero, but the budget lines were added for a reason.  Whatever Bill DeBlasio may say about what he will do for the rest of us if elected President or (if he drops that idea) Governor, just understand how he plans to get the Democratic nomination.  By promising to take even more from everyone else and give it to the teacher’s union, over and above what they have already taken, in exchange for money and support.

Second, on page 59, I find that city capital funding for mass transit, at $485 million in FY 2019, is proposed to be cut to $136 million in 2020, $54 million in 2021, and $40 million per year thereafter.  Presumably the $485 million was the money for the MTA Cuomo badgered DeBlasio to put up and match with state funds, after 25 years of little if any city or state contribution the MTA capital plan — and soaring MTA debts.  And now?  Looks like frenemies DeBlasio and Cuomo have a new plan.  Cut $1 billion in actual budgeted money for the MTA Capital plan between them, add $1 billion in congestion pricing revenue, but then bond against all those future congestion pricing revenues and spend them in just five years, before leaving the MTA with no money to maintain the system thereafter.

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Put A Solar Roof on the Sunnyside Yard, Not Another Subsidized Development

I’m not a big fan of grid-scale solar energy.  The human load on the planet comes down to four things, in order of damage. 1) Non-renewable energy use; 2) The transformation of the surface of the planet for our own use, from urban development to farming to strip mine fishing; 3) The concentrated organic load of our excretions, and those of our domesticated animals; and 4) The aggregation of certain materials into toxic concentrations.  Grid scale solar helps with number one, but makes number two worse.

Last week, however, I read about the MTA planning to expand solar panels to areas I do approve of – rooftops.

These are areas that are already covered by human-created structures, and thus no loss.  The goal is for the MTA to make some money by leasing out the roofs of the structures it owns.   But that got me thinking.

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Changes in NYC & U.S. Median Earnings and Income: The Generational War Has Been Going On For Decades

I was surprised to read an article in which the New York Times, of all publications, broke Omerta with regard to generational trends in society.

For Americans under the age of 40, the 21st century has resembled one long recession.  I realize that may sound like an exaggeration, given that the economy has now been growing for almost a decade. But the truth is that younger Americans have not benefited much…This loss of dynamism hurts millennials and the younger Generation Z, even as baby boomers are often doing O.K. Because the layoff rate has declined since 2000, most older workers have been able to hold on to their jobs. For those who are retired, their income — through a combination of Social Security and 401(k)’s — still outpaces inflation on average.

The Times included a couple of charts, which I’ll show below, along with a bunch more of my own.  But two comments on the article are worth noting up front.

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New York City’s Exploding Home Health Care Employment, Etc

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released re-benchmarked annual average Current Employment Survey data, for 2018 and earlier years, a week ago.  In past years, I’ve used this data source to document the trend in local government employment for New York City as compared with the Rest of New York State, something I will summarize briefly at the end of this post.  There is, however, a far more spectacular trend.  New York City’s private employment in the Home Health Care industry has apparently gone exponential.

NYC Home Health Care1

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America’s Debts: 2018 Could Have Been Worse but 2028 Almost Certainly Will Be

In March 2018 I wrote the following:

To be fair to President Trump, soaring federal debt doesn’t have to mean total U.S. debt soars as well.  After all, nothing pushes up debt as a percent of GDP more than a deep recession, which reduces GDP and causes federal tax revenues to plunge and social service costs to soar…Following the Trump tax cuts, it is possible that households and businesses could use the additional money floating around as the federal government goes broke to reduce their own debts, and to buy up all those extra U.S. Treasury bills and bonds. Remember “we owe it all to ourselves?”   But that’s not the way to bet.

I’m glad I didn’t take that bet.  For now.

Federal Reserve Z1 data was related for 2018 on March 7, and thanks to another future selling, anti-America (as a collective) Republican President, the federal debt indeed has begun to soar again.  Business debt is also soaring, even as investment in the United States remains low, as the executive/financial class pillages American business to buy back stock and inflate executive pay, while pillaging the future of the companies they work foragainst.   Following The Donald’s private-sector example.

But total U.S. credit market debt did not soar.  By not buying houses at inflated prices and saving rather than borrowing, screwed later-born generations are desperately trying to secure their own futures.  Even as those in control of our public and private institutions continue to sell their collective future out from under them, cashing in whatever is left. As a result their savings, placed with these institutions, are likely to go “poof” eventually.  And buying a house is an even worse bet.

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