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  • Financial Report Reflects Ideology More Than Facts

    The release of the final report(s) of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) brings to mind the story of several blind men trying to describe an elephant. One felt the legs and decided an elephant was like a forest, while another felt the trunk and decided that elephants are like … More

    Bailouts or Bankruptcy for State and Local Government Pension Problems?

    The year 2011 will be the year of decision for underfunded state and local governments with pension and debt problems. The end of federal money from the stimulus package that many cities and states have used to prop up their finances, combined with the outsized cost of meeting their pension … More

    Chicago, Other Cities Face Huge Tab for Their Government Pensions

    It turns out that many city public pension plans are just as underfunded as various state plans are. For instance, Chicago has only about $22 billion in pension assets to pay for $66 billion in pension promises to its city workers, while New York City has $93 billion available to … More

    Pelosi Proposes Seniors Subsidy to 'Replace' the 2011 Social Security COLA

    Today’s announcement that Social Security recipients will not receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) again in 2011 brought an immediate reaction from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA). She proposed that the lame duck Congress vote on giving seniors another $250 one-time payment supposedly to replace the COLA. This seemingly altruistic gesture … More

    No Federal Bailouts for State and Local Government Pension Problems

    There is bad news and worse news for state governments faced with underfunded pension promises. First, a new academic study shows that not only is the total gap between the pensions that state governments have promised to pay their employees and the available resources much larger than previous estimates, but … More

    Taxpayers Benefit from SEC Action Against Lying about State Pension Underfunding

    The fact is that New Jersey lied and got caught, but taxpayers everywhere may benefit. Yesterday, the State of New Jersey settled with the SEC on charges that the state committed securities fraud by failing to disclose the true state of its state employees pension funds. This admission is an … More

    The Automatic IRA: A Conservative Way to Build Retirement Security

    With the introduction of new legislation to implement the Automatic IRA—a simple, low-cost retirement savings vehicle for employees of small businesses—the effort to enable many more Americans to use a payroll deduction to build retirement security moves to a more active phase. A new bill by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D–NM) … More

    Once Again, the Social Security Trust Fund Has No Money in It

    Almost as soon as the 2010 Social Security trustees report comes out today, various groups will claim that the program is fiscally healthy because its trust fund won’t run out until sometime in the 2030s. Sadly, the reality is very different. The trust fund contains promises to pay—not real money. … More

    The Hill Misses the Story on Auto IRAs

    An article on the Automatic IRA in the July 13 edition of the Capitol Hill newspaper The Hill (“Democrats and AARP want to make IRA enrollment automatic”) left out several crucial parts of the story. First and foremost, the Automatic IRA has enjoyed wide bipartisan and cross-ideological support since it … More

    Federal Wind Insurance Is Still a Huge Mistake

    Like the monster in a third-rate horror movie that seems to be destroyed but comes back again and again, some bad ideas in Washington keep popping up. Adding wind insurance coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a program that already needs to be bailed out every few years, … More