California Is In Great Financial Shape – And Headed For An Epic Crisis

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

California Governor Jerry Brown inherited a $27 billion deficit from Arnold Schwarzenegger eight years ago. This month he’s leaving his successor a $13.8 billion surplus and a $14.5 billion rainy day fund balance. Pretty good right? Approximately 48 other governors would kill for those numbers.

Unfortunately it’s all a mirage. California, as home to Silicon Valley and Hollywood, lives and dies with capital gains taxes. In bull markets, when lots of stocks are rising and tech startups are going public, the state is flush. But in bear markets capital gains turn into capital losses and Sacramento’s revenues plunge. Put another way, the state’s top 1% highest-income taxpayers generate about half of personal income taxes. When their incomes fall, tax revenues crater.

That’s happening right now, as tech stocks plunge, IPOs are pulled and billion-dollar unicorns endure “down rounds” that shave major bucks from their valuations. So if this is a replay of the 2008-2009 bear market, expect California’s deficits to return to the double-digit billions.

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Public Sector Pensions: The Parasite Devours Its Host

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted a better method of analysing the impact of public sector pensions on state and local budgets. The results are ominous for government finances, the bond markets, and pretty much everything else:

Why Your Pension Is Doomed

A new study shows that benefits are rising faster than GDP in most states.

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Really Bad Ideas, Part 4

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse

As Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaked their havoc over the past couple of weeks, several interconnected questions popped up, the answers to which make us look, to put it bluntly, like idiots.

Why, for instance, are there suddenly so many Cat 4 and 5 hurricanes? Is this due to man-made climate change and is this summer therefore our new normal? The answer: Maybe, but that misses the point. There have always been huge storms (like the one that wiped Galveston, TX off the map in 1900, long before global warming was a thing), and barring another ice age there always will be. So the US east coast will remain one of Mother Nature’s favorite targets.

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Raising The Debt Ceiling Means Jacking Up Future Inflation

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

The dramatic failure of the US Senate’s last-ditch Obamacare repeal effort leaves Republicans so far without a major legislative win since Donald Trump took office. No healthcare reform. No tax reform. No monetary reform. No budgetary reform.

The more things change in Washington…the more they stay the same.

Despite an unconventional outsider in the White House, it’s business as usual for entrenched incumbents of both parties. The next major order of business for the bipartisan establishment is to raise the debt ceiling above $20 trillion.

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Public Pensions System: Insolvent to the Core

By Constantin Gurdgiev – Re-Blogged From True Economics

A truly worrying view of the U.S. public sector pensions deficits has been revealed in a new study by Joshua D. Raugh for Hoover Institution. Titled “Hidden Debt, Hidden Deficits” (see http://www.hoover.org/sites/default/files/research/docs/rauh_debtdeficits_36pp_final_digital_v2revised4-11.pdf) the study opens up with a dire warning we all have been aware of for some years now (emphasis is mine):  “Most state and local governments in the United States offer retirement benefits to their employees in the form of guaranteed pensions. To fund these promises, the governments contribute taxpayer money to public systems. Even under states’ own disclosures and optimistic assumptions about future investment returns, assets in the pension systems will be insufficient to pay for the pensions of current public employees and retirees. Taxpayer resources will eventually have to make up the difference.”

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Gold, The Misery Index And Insanity

By Gary Christenson – Re-Blogged From The Deviant Investor

In 1980 Ronald Reagan spoke about the Misery Index.  An economist had added the inflation rate to the unemployment rate, called it the Misery Index, and used it to indicate the social costs and economic difficulty for the middle class.

Today the Misery Index is much smaller than in 1980, thanks to … intelligent fiscal management, economically beneficial monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, and wise political policy from the White House.  If you believe any of those, read no further.

Most people will agree that the Misery Index is much smaller today because the numbers have been gimmicked.  Does anyone believe a few percent for inflation or around 5% unemployment?   Massage (torture) the numbers and the Misery Index declines, incumbent politicians are re-elected, while far too many people remain out of work, earning practically nothing on their savings, and paying too much for food, clothing, drugs, medical care, college, transportation and so on.

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Social Security And The National Debt Are Misleading The American Public

B Daniel Amerman – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

We are told that many economics experts don’t worry about the total national debt because $5 trillion of that debt doesn’t really exist; it is rather just a theoretical bookkeeping transaction for money that the federal government owes to itself. Netting out this bookkeeping entry then allows some authorities assert that while the debt is a bit on the high side relative to the size of the economy, it is far from historically unprecedented, and certainly no cause for despair or rash talk about insolvency.

We are also told that many financial experts don’t worry about the solvency of Social Security and other federal government retirement programs, because they are funded with $5 trillion of the safest assets on earth, those being United States government Treasury obligations (i.e., the national debt), which are being held for our benefit by the federal government.

Unfortunately, both statements cannot be true simultaneously.

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