2015: Illinois to Postpone Pension Payments “We Are out of Money Now”

This article was written by Joshua Krause and originally published at The Daily Sheeple. Editor’s Comment: This has been a long time coming, but the state is no better prepared for having seen in coming. Like derivatives, the housing bubble and over-priced assets, the pension problems are a serious millstone around the neck of the economic system, and more than weighty enough to send the whole thing into a nosedive. For the past 4 months, Illinois has been embroiled in a budget impasse between the state’s Republican governor, and the Democratic legislature. They’ve gone so long without a budget, that they have to pay their lottery winners in IOUs and may have to shorten the length of their school year. They’re essentially rationing and juggling the finances of their public institutions until the government comes up with a budget. This has resulted in a frightening situation for Illinois’ retirees, […] Read More

2015: Social Security Declares 9,000 Americans Dead Each Year Who Aren’t

Can you imagine what would happen if you were at the grocery store checkout and your credit card was flagged for fraud? Not only could you not buy food for you and yours, you’d then have to go down to your bank or call to get things straightened out. Only, what would you do if your bank told you there was nothing anyone could do because the government had officially declared you dead to the system? Apparently this happens to around 9,000 Americans every year, and it completely wrecks their lives (no pun intended). Via 60 Minutes: Most people never find out how it happens but when the federal computer says you’re dead, you might as well be. The terrible news is relayed by the government to banks and credit agencies. Judy Rivers told us she had $80,000 in her accounts, but when she tried to use a bank […] Read More

2015: Social Security shelled out $17 bn in overpayments for disability benefits

Social Security’s own watchdog found waste, fraud and abuse in its disability program, citing cases where benefits had been paid to disqualified, imprisoned and deceased people. Over 15 million disabled Americans rely on the soon-to-be-insolvent program. A 10-year study by the Social Security Administration Inspector General’s office found $17 billion in overpayments of disability benefits. Recipients were found to include people who earned too much to qualify for the program or were no longer disabled, as well as those deceased or in prison. Nearly half of the 9 million who received disability payments had been overpaid. The agency attempted to recoup about $8.1 billion, but it took years for the money to be returned, according to the study. A spokesman for the Social Security Administration said the agency has high accuracy rates for payments and a comprehensive debt collection program for overpayments, according to the Associated Press. “Social Security […] Read More

2015: Coming for Your Funds: Supremes “Justify Seizure of Pension Funds to PROTECT Pensioners”

This article was originally published by Paul Joseph Watson at Infowars.com. Editor’s Note: Incredibly, and in direct defiance of any sane logic, a recent Supreme Court decision has justified “government seizure of private pension funds to protect pensioners,” according to famed economist Martin Armstrong. This unsettling decision puts 401ks and plenty of other funds in the crosshairs. How that can be considered consumer protection, or government shepherding is unclear, if not unfathomable. Nonetheless, the rationale is in place – so beware. It has long since been legalized for Wall Street equity firms to gamble away pensions – including public pensions for states like California – through derivatives, while it has long since been legalized for the Federal Reserve to literally grow paper on trees, hand out free candy to sugar addicts and make money (for those at the top) so cheap its practically free – all driving down the […] Read More

2015: Expanding Social Security Is the Cheapest Way to Bring More Security to America’s Retirees

There are many ways to spread the cost of better benefits. Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a new book, “Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All,” published by The New Press, 2015, all rights reserved. How should the costs of an expanded Social Security be shared without unduly burdening anyone? There are numerous options, all quite affordable, reasonable, good policy, and fair. Social Security’s wage insurance has been financed, from the beginning, primarily from premiums split evenly between employees and employers. Those premiums today are12.4 percent of wages, equally divided between employer and employee, up to a maximum salary amount, $118,500 in 2015. The 12.4 percent rate has not increased since 1990. If the rate were to be gradually increased by 1 percent on employers and employees each, over a two-decade period, as some have recommended […] Read More

2015: Mark Spitznagel Explains How To Make A Fortune (Or Go Broke)

Originally posted at Men’s Health, It’s a new year, and a new opportunity to get rich. Or at least start making better financial choices. But where to begin? You could seek guidance from your uncle, who swears he has investing ideas that could make you a small fortune. You could watch that Mad Money CNBC show, where Jim Cramer smashes red buttons and pretends he has any idea what he’s talking about. You could find a broker who hopefully isn’t a crook or a penny stock investment guru who hopefully isn’t full of shit. Or you could skip the middlemen and just ask a billionaire. Let’s try the billionaire approach. Mark Spitznagel is the founder of Universa Investments, a Miami-based hedge fund that specializes in profiting from stock market crashes. We asked Spitznagel the questions you want to know. We also asked him the questions you didn’t know you […] Read More

2014: New Federal Law Targets Retirement Benefit Cuts: “We Thought Our Pension Was Secure”

Mac Slavo Activist Post The $1.01 trillion spending bill being moving through Congress right now includes some new provisions that may come as a shock to millions of American pension holders. In a bipartisan deal that also included leaders of unions and retirement fund management companies, pension recipients who depend on the money promised to them during their working years may see significant cuts to their monthly disbursements. There have been Senate hearings, exploratory committees and rumors over the years, but nothing had ever really been legislated so most Americans simply ignored it as another one of those “conspiracy theories.” Unit now. The measure, attached to a massive $1.01 trillion spending bill, would alter 40 years of federal law and could affect millions of workers, many of them part of a shrinking corps of middle-income employees in businesses such as trucking, construction and supermarkets. “We have to do something to allow these plans to make […] Read More

2014: Almost Every Slice of American Society Wants To Strengthen Social Security Except Washington Insiders

Most Americans want better benefits, and they agree on how to pay for them. As strengthening Social Security becomes a higher profile issue in a handful of toss-up U.S. Senate races, a new poll of likely 2014 voters in those states and nationwide finds overwhelming support to boost benefits by taxing all Americans equally. “We tested in this research the idea of increasing Social Security benefits and paying for that by having wealthy Americans pay the same [income tax] rate for Social Security as everyone else,” said Celinda Lake, who conducted the mid-August poll. “We’ve polled this in the past and we have seen this is consistently and overwhelmingly popular with voters. Seventy-nine percent of the voters in this poll supported that idea; 59 percent strongly. Only 21 percent opposed the idea.” “To folks inside of Washington, that may come as a surprise,” said Eric Kingson, the co-founder of […] Read More

2013: There Is a Vast Oligarch Conspiracy Afoot to Destroy the Retirement Plans of Millions of Workers

Pretending public pensions are the primary cause of state budget problems allows greedheads and ideologues to distract attention from their beloved corporate welfare. As state legislatures prepare for their upcoming sessions, you will no doubt hear a lot about public pensions. More specifically, you will hear allegations that states are going bankrupt because of their pension obligations to public employees. These claims will inevitably be used to argue that states must renege on their pension promises to retirees. This is what I’ve called the Plot Against Pensions in a report I recently completed for the Institute for America’s Future. Engineered by billionaire former Enron trader John Arnold, championed by seemingly nonpartisan groups like the Pew Charitable Trusts and operating in states throughout America, this plot is not designed to strengthen pensions or to save taxpayer money, as its proponents claim. It is designed to slash public employees’ guaranteed retirement […] Read More