by Ethan Huff, Natural News:
Despite a bull market that’s been running strong for more than 10 years now, public pensions are in very serious trouble, as many states struggle to bring in anything even remotely close to the amount of cash needed to cover their ever-growing pension liabilities.
While public pensions in many areas of the country have been bringing in impressive double-digit returns in recent years, factors like an increasing number of retirees combined with fewer overall employees has hit these public coffers hard – and many of them are on the verge of total implosion.
This is a microcosm of a problem that is occurring across the nation,” reports Zero Hedge, warning that public pensions are operating “in ponzi like fashion” – meaning they rely on the stock market for high returns, much like a Las Vegas casino.
“The main issue is that the amount owed to retirees is accelerating faster than assets on hand to pay those future obligations,” the report continues. “Liabilities of major U.S. pensions are up 64% since 2007, while assets are only up 30%.”
For more related news about the impending burst of the public pensions bubble, be sure to check out Pensions.news.
One day the whole financial bubble is going to burst – and it’s not going to be pretty!
Starting in the 1950s and beyond, pensions generally rose faster than liabilities – at least for the first five decades. And in the 1980s and 1990s, stock market returns were so high that many governments decided that it was a safe bet to continue increasing employee pensions.
But not long after this time, the “dot com bubble” burst, followed by the 2008 financial crisis – both of which delivered a major blow to public pensions, creating a dire situation that has yet to resolve itself.
Central banks then stepped in to presumably fix the problem, but only ended up making it even worse. And now we have a situation in which both future and current pensions have nowhere from which to draw funding.
“The first thing you have to do is make up what you lost. And it takes years,” says Sandy Matheson, executive director of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. “And then you have to make up what you didn’t earn on what you didn’t have. It’s a pretty steep climb.”
Private central banks like the Federal Reserve are to blame for this mess
Maine is currently $2.9 billion short of what it needs to pay all future benefits, despite garnering double-digit returns for six out of the past nine years. The state made some cuts in response, but these won’t be enough to offset its liabilities.
“Maine did wind up cutting cost-of-living increases for both retired and active state workers, who are owed a median pension of $27,000 after 25 or more years service and don’t receive Social Security,” reports Zero Hedge.
“However, the cut only reduced the fund’s unfunded liabilities by $1.6 billion – a $2.9 billion liability remains.”
This is what happens when privately owned-and-operated central banks like the Federal Reserve base all of their monetary policy on stock market performance – which in the end impedes the ability of state and local governments to fulfill their financial obligations to government workers.