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Washington Times Breaks Bilderberg Blackout – State and Local Pensions Underfunded by Half – High Court Okays Double Jeopardy – Bradley Manning Trial

May 31, 2012

New Kansas Law Bans Use of Foreign Law

President Romney, Secretary of State Lieberman and War Against Iran

Petitioners Challenge “Outrageous Secrecy” of Bradley Manning Trial

Live Video from Bilderberg 2012

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Cut DC is planning to go to Chantilly, VA and offer a warm welcome to our global overlords, the Bilderbergs.  Plans are to bring freeway blog signs and adorn the area with these politically powerful messages.  I’ll provide updates and will try to get video footage of the event.  I hope some of you will consider going to the Chantilly area and help us flush out these roaches into the light of day.

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State and Local Pension Plans Underfunded by Half

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State and Local Pension Plans Underfunded by Half

The latest report from the nonpartisan Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College was brutal in its assessment of the status of state and local pension plans and their ability to keep their promises to their beneficiaries and retirees.

Since 1999, the last time the 126 plans that CRR tracks showed that they were fully funded — that is, contributions from states, cities and municipalities were matching the plans’ increases in liabilities — those plans now show that, on average, they are underfunded by 25 percent. But when those plans are adjusted for the real world, where interest rates are at historic lows, those plans are underfunded by 50 percent. Put another way, those states, cities and municipalities — and their taxpayers — would have to double their contributions to those plans just to have any chance of them avoiding default on their promises to those depending on them for their retirement.

Here’s how CRR explains it:

The ratio of assets to liabilities for our sample of 126 plans slipped to 75 percent in 2011. These funded ratios, however, are based on liabilities [that are discounted] by the expected long term yield on plan assets [of] roughly 8 percent…

[However[ using the riskless rate, as advocated by most economists for reporting purposes…shows an aggregate funded ratio in 2011 of 50 percent.

Who is earning eight percent these days? Despite promises, derived from guesses by pension actuaries, that pension plan assets will grow by eight percent every year for the next 30 years, real results in the real world over the past 10 to 15 years has not even come close. In fact, taking the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (SPX) of stocks as a benchmark, that index today is where it was in January 1999. And the “riskless” rate of return the CRR used? The rate of return on long Treasury bonds issued by the United States government is 3.0 percent. And if outside exigencies such as ageing boomers taking early retirement and the threat of price inflation eating into whatever returns those plans might be able to generate are taken into account, the return to solvency of these plans is close to nil.

CRR says that there is a total of $2.6 trillion of assets on those plans they are tracking but current liabilities under today’s assumption that they can grow by eight percent annually are $3.6 trillion. If the investment assumption is moved down to four percent (still high when compared to current returns), then the liabilities of those plans jumps to a staggering $6.4 trillion.

Reality about rates of return are beginning to set in even among the staunchest deniers. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told legislators in Albany in February:

The actuary is supposedly going to lower the assumed reinvestment rate from an absolutely hysterical, laughable 8 percent to a totally indefensible 7 or 7.5 percent. If I can give you one piece of financial advice: if somebody offers you a guaranteed 7 percent on your money for the rest of your life, you take it and just make sure the guy’s name is not Madoff.

But even the one percent reduction in the investment return assumption from eight percent to seven percent proposed by New York City’s chief actuary, Robert North, would increase that city’s required contribution to its five pension plans by $1.9 billion, on top of the $7.3 billion the city already pays every year. And that current obligation is already soaking up more than a tenth of the city’s budget.

As expected, New York City’s unions are up in arms about North’s recommendation. Harry Nespoli, a union member and chairman of the umbrella group representing the city’s public-employee unions, said that lowering the assumption from eight percent to seven percent isn’t necessary: “They don’t have to turn around and lower it a whole point.” When he was asked why, he responded: “All we can do is what the actuary is doing. He’s guessing. We’re guessing.”

When Rhode Island’s state treasurer persuaded the state’s pension board to lower its assumption — its guess — from 8.25 percent to 7.5 percent, the head of a local union accused her of cooking the books. Said Paul Valletta, president of the Cranston Firefighter Union:

With people’s lives being ruined, the way they will be ruined with this legislation, there is no way to say this diplomatically so I will say it the way it is true. The general treasurer cooked the books on this issue and she has thrown it in your laps…

A similar fate was experienced when the mayor of San Jose, California, Chuck Reed, warned that the current estimate of 7.5 percent on its pension plan obligations was too high: three public-employee unions filed a complaint against him with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trustees for Calpers, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, currently estimate a rate of return of 7.75 percent on its pension assets. When the plan actuary, Alan Milligan, recommended last year that it be reduced to 7.5 percent, the trustees rejected it. This year, he resubmitted the recommendation, to bring it down to 7.25 percent. The trustees agreed to reduce the assumption by one-quarter of one percent, to 7.5 percent. When Milligan was asked what were the chances of the plan obtaining a 7.5 percent return on its assets, he said it was about 50-50. Dan Dunmeyer, who represents the insurance industry on the board of trustees, was shocked:

To me, as a fiduciary, you want to have more than a 50 percent chance of success. [With bad numbers] the impact on the counties won’t be [just] bigger numbers. It will be bankruptcy.

The pushback by citizens against higher taxes to close the gap will be met by similar resistance from pension plan beneficiaries whose benefits are being threatened. At present it’s a silent war that’s about to become much louder.

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Washington Times Breaks U.S. Media Blackout On Bilderberg

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Washington Post fails to mention the fact that dozens of hugely influential power brokers are meeting in their own back yard

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
Thursday, May 31, 2012

The U.S. media blackout on Bilderberg has been broken, with the Washington Times being the first mainstream U.S. news outlet to cover the gathering of over 100 power brokers in Chantilly, Virginia which kicks off today – but the Washington Post remains mute.

The Times reports that a half-mile security perimeter has been set up around the Westfields Marriott hotel and that a photographer for the newspaper was told by police, “any attempt to get close to the building would result in arrest.”

It’s all part of the unprecedented security crackdown now in force to protect global financiers, banking heads, media and technology moguls as well as elected officials from the very public whose lives are affected by their decisions.

“This year, it’s the biggest ever. The security is leveraged up big time. It’s unprecedented,” Alex Jones told the newspaper.

Despite the fact that dozens of the most powerful and influential people on the planet are meeting today in their own back yard, the Washington Post, which itself is routinely represented at Bilderberg via its publisher Donald Graham, has failed to even mention the event thus far.

Expect the Post to only report on the conference once it’s wrapped up. Bilderberg relies on big media to ignore their meetings so as not to draw more press attention while the summit is in progress.

In a separate story, numerous prominent Canadian newspapers, including the Calgary Herald, are reporting on criticism leveled against Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s following her announcement that she will attend the meeting at a cost of $19,000 to taxpayers.

As we reported yesterday, Redford, a prominent global warming alarmist, will scheme with Bilderbergers on the best way to implement Agenda 21 using the threat of ecological crises.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, who was previously characterized as a national embarrassment by Redford for daring to question the official mantra behind climate change, savaged Redford for not paying for the trip herself.

“That’s $19,000 on the taxpayer dime for a committee that meets in secret, has no policies, no resolutions, nobody is allowed — it’s invite only,” Smith said. “What is Alberta getting out of this?

“I think in fact she’s actually thinking more about her career after politics and she’s using it as a networking event. Well, fair enough, then she can pay for it herself. We don’t think Albertans should be on the hook for this tab.”

Redford has promised to report back on what she discussed at Bilderberg, but don’t expect her to go into much detail because attendees are sworn to secrecy – another example of Bilderberg’s contempt for the democratic process.

Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper also carries a story today which largely regurgitates Infowars’ original piece about the stifling security measures now being put in place.

Digital Journal also has a piece looking at the likely topics of discussion at this year’s confab.

Stay tuned to Infowars.com today for all the breaking news on Bilderberg as attendees begin to arrive.

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