Pensions: A New Crisis is About to Hit the Headlines
by Fred Cederholm
Mon, 24 Jan 2011
I’ve been thinking about pensions. Actually I’ve been thinking about the State of our Union, unemployment/ underemployment, working people, Illinois obligations, dona/ gifts, defined benefits, defined contributions, deferred compensation, and bankruptcy. We are about to venture into major untested areas in 2011. There are a great many problems facing US/ us, but the issue of pensions has not yet even been put on the table of concerns for our consideration. That is going to change in the very near future. Which state or city will be the first to seek redress or forgiveness from obligations? What will be the areas of forgiveness sought? When the first hits, many others will follow!
You see on Tuesday evening President Obama will deliver his third State of the Union message before the US Congress. We were told in advance that a central topic was to focus on unemployment/ underemployment. The officially released figures chronicle a 9.3% rate. This is nowhere close to the reality. Uncle $ugar eliminates people from the rolls after a “moving” defined period of time. Then, the assumption is made that such people are no longer looking for work. Just last month 600,000 people were dropped from the calculation for this reason… as were those who took a part time job to replace the full-time one with whatever benefits that they held. Re-considering these factors raises the rate to well over 22% of our population being unemployed — a rate not unlike the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Obama will not address this number manipulation.
We are “about” in the middle of a major economic downturn. We have clearly not yet hit bottom, but Obama will not include this in his address either. Our government has refused to admit how there can be no recovery without job growth and a return to a “fully” employed populace. The President may come close, but the political “dancing” will preclude such an admission. The myth of “the recovery” has to be continued. Right now spin, hype, smoke, and mirrors are all they have going for them. As long as the public buys it, they in the government have bought more time before any great social upheaval.