Tag Archives: Pension

Senate Democrats choose illegal immigrant welfare over veteran pensions

From the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

Senate Republicans were unable to stop military pension cuts when Senate Democrats blocked a vote on an amendment to prevent the cuts by closing a welfare loophole for illegal immigrants Tuesday evening.

The two-year budget deal brokered by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, would cut military pensions by $6 billion over ten years, leaving some Senate Republicans scrambling to stop the cuts.

“Removing this unbalanced treatment of our military retirees ought to be one of the key actions we should take before this legislation moves forward. In fact, greater savings than this can be achieved by passing a legislative fix recommended by the Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury that would stop the IRS from improperly providing tax credits to illegal aliens,” Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions said Monday, announcing his co-sponsorship of Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker’s amendment to restore the military retirement benefits Monday.

Additionally, the Alabama Republican offered his own amendment to restore the cuts by targeting a child tax credit loophole that illegal immigrants have used to unlawfully obtain welfare benefits.

In 2011, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that “individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States” and therefore did not have a valid Social Security number were still able to obtain billions in Additional Child Tax Credits by filing returns with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

Specifically the Internal Revenue Service watchdog found that unauthorized individuals received $4.2 billion refundable credits in Processing Year 2010.

Tuesday evening, Sessions attempted to force Majority Leader Harry Reid allow amendments the budget agreement.

Sessions hoped to attach his amendment to the deal — which would have closed the loophole by requiring a Social Security number to claim the refundable portion of the child tax credit and restore military retirement benefits.

Sessions’ motion failed on a 46 to 54 party-line vote, with North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan crossing the aisle as the lone Democrat to vote with the Republicans.

I am really not sure how it is possible to prefer giving $4.2 billion of refundable tax credits to illegal immigrants to funding the pensions of veterans. How could anyone think that was a good idea?

Poland seizes bond investments in private pension plans

Amy sent me this story from Reuters.

Excerpt:

Poland said on Wednesday it will transfer to the state many of the assets held by private pension funds, slashing public debt but putting in doubt the future of the multi-billion-euro funds, many of them foreign-owned.

The changes went deeper than many in the market expected and could fuel investor concerns that the government is ditching some business-friendly policies to try to improve its flagging popularity with voters.

The Polish pension funds’ organisation said the changes may be unconstitutional because the government is taking private assets away from them without offering any compensation.

Announcing the long-awaited overhaul of state-guaranteed pensions, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said private funds within the state-guaranteed system would have their bond holdings transferred to a state pension vehicle, but keep their equity holdings.

He said that what remained in citizens’ pension pots in the private funds will be gradually transferred into the state vehicle over the last 10 years before savers hit retirement age.

The reform is “a decimation of the …(private pension fund) system to open up fiscal space for an easier life now for the government,” said Peter Attard Montalto of Nomura. “The government has an odd definition of private property given it claims this is not nationalisation.”

I was looking for someone who could take the spin off of this and found this article on Zero Hedge.

Excerpt:

While the world was glued to the developments in the Mediterranean in the past week, Poland took a page straight out of Rahm Emanuel’s playbook and in order to not let a crisis go to waste, announced quietly that it would transfer to the state – i.e., confiscate – the bulk of assets owned by the country’s private pension funds (many of them owned by such foreign firms as PIMCO parent Allianz, AXA, Generali, ING and Aviva), without offering any compensation. In effect, the state just nationalized roughly half of the private sector pension fund assets, although it had a more politically correct name for it: pension overhaul.

[…]By shifting some assets from the private funds into ZUS, the government can book those assets on the state balance sheet to offset public debt, giving it more scope to borrow and spend.

It is nationalization, and we should expect to see a lot more of it as spendthrift governments start to run of road to kick the can down. Maybe even here at home, some day. The United States is already up against the debt limit now, and our credit has been downgraded twice already. How soon until IRAs are nationalized into Social Security to prop it up?

How public sector pensions force children to pay for the prosperity of adults

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

People retiring from the private sector need to save £250,000 to buy pension income equal to the national minimum wage – currently, £12,646 a year – or a total of £518,000 for a pension equal to national average earnings of £25,900.

These are among many eye-stretching facts in a new analysis of how unfunded promises to pay index-linked pensions to public sector workers are way beyond what most private sector savers can hope to achieve – and how these debts will burden children who have not yet left school.

The Intergenerational Foundation (IF) think tank used freedom of information requests to find out that 78,000 former public sector workers enjoy pensions of more than £25,900; and more than 12,000 get more than £50,000 a year. Three quarters of the latter are doctors and this index-linked income is irrespective of any private work or savings.

While many public sector workers pay into pension schemes, benefits usually outstrip employee contributions and the difference – or deficit – must be funded by future generations. Taxpayers’ total liability for public sector pensions, according to the report: ‘Are Government Pensions Unfair on the Younger Generation?’ is equivalent to £45,000 for every household in Britain and totals £1.2 trillion or £1,200,000,000,000.

An IF spokesman said: “This demonstrates the true scale of pension apartheid in the UK with news that 88pc  of public sector workers are currently entitled to pensions related to their final salaries, which are typically the most generous type of pension, compared to just 10pc of workers in the private sector.”

Don’t be fooled – this sort of thing happens in the United States as well, where teachers and government workers live high on the hog today and pass the bill to their children, who will be forced to pay for it all tomorrow. Is that fair?

Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity plan balances the budget without raising taxes

Americans for Tax Reform explains what’s in it.

Excerpt:

The main details are:

Revenue neutrality.  The budget calls for the House Ways and Means Committee to produce a tax reform package with a tax revenue target of between 18 and 19 percent of GDP.  This is in line with historical revenue figures.  By contrast, big government budgets like “Gang of Six,” “Simpson-Bowles,” and the Obama budget call for a long-range revenue target of over 20 percent of GDP.  The Ryan budget is a no tax hikes budget.

Six personal rates down to two.  The Ryan budget replaces the current six-rate personal income tax structure (10, 15, 25, 28, 33, and 35 percent) with a two-rate system of 10 and 25 percent.  This will result in a lower tax rate on the majority of small business profits, from 33 or 35 percent down to 25 percent.

Repeals Obamacare tax hikes.  The Ryan budget eliminates the entire Obamacare law.  This includes repealing the 20 new or higher taxes which have taken or are about to take effect from that law.

Eliminate the AMT.  The Ryan budget eliminates the AMT, instead favoring a simpler system with lower rates and a broad tax base.

Lower rates on businesses.  As said above, the Ryan budget lowers the tax rate on the majority of small business profits to 25 percent.  It also lowers the federal income tax rate on larger corporate employers from 35 percent (the highest in the developed world) to 25 percent (closer to the developed nation average).  While this makes American companies more competitive, it would still leave us with a higher corporate income tax rate than the developed nation average, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  In order to make us truly internationally-competitive, the federal rate must fall to 20 percent or less.

No more picking winners and losers in the tax code.  In order to target revenues at 18-19 percent of GDP with tax rates no higher than 25 percent, the Ways and Means Committee will have to curtail or eliminate most tax exclusions, adjustments, deductions, and credits.  That means that all consumed income will be taxed once and only once.  No longer will the tax code favor one type of economic behavior over another.

Moves tax code from “worldwide taxation” to “territoriality.”  The Ways and Means Committee is directed to shift our tax code from one which seeks to tax income earned all over the world to one which only seeks to tax income earned in America.  This is known as “territoriality,” and it’s already been adopted by and large by our trading competitors.  By retaining a worldwide tax regime, we’re exposing our own countries to double taxation–once when they pay the foreign nation’s income tax, and again when they try to bring the money home.

This is what the budget does: (Debt as % of GDP)

Paul Ryan's 2013: The Path to Prosperity
Paul Ryan's 2013: The Path to Prosperity

Doug Ross has three nice charts explaining the details.

Is Barack Obama going to do anything about the debt?

According to CBS News, Obama has exploded our national debt, so there is no reason to trust anything he says about reducing the debt.

Excerpt:

The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.

The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

The latest posting from the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department shows the National Debt now stands at $15.566 trillion. It was $10.626 trillion on President Bush’s last day in office, which coincided with President Obama’s first day.

The National Debt also now exceeds 100% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, the total value of goods and services.

Mr. Obama has been quick to blame his predecessor for the soaring Debt, saying Mr. Bush paid for two wars and a Medicare prescription drug program with borrowed funds.

The federal budget sent to Congress last month by Mr. Obama, projects the National Debt will continue to rise as far as the eye can see. The budget shows the Debt hitting $16.3 trillion in 2012, $17.5 trillion in 2013 and $25.9 trillion in 2022.

[…]His latest budget projects a $1.3 trillion deficit this year declining to $901 billion in 2012, and then annual deficits in the range of $500 billion to $700 billion in the 10 years to come.

If Mr. Obama wins re-election, and his budget projections prove accurate, the National Debt will top $20 trillion in 2016, the final year of his second term. That would mean the Debt increased by 87 percent, or $9.34 trillion, during his two terms.

Some of Bush’s debt total can be explained by considering that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid raised the debt by $5 trillion dollars over 4 years when they took control of the House and Senate in January of 2007. But they’re Democrats, and that’s what Democrats do.

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Europe’s socialist debt crisis: who suffers most? Can bailouts fix it?

This is the most popular article on Investors Business Daily right now.

Excerpt:

Rational or not, Greece’s street riots and emigration rates signify one thing: Socialism offers very little to the young. So why is the EU’s $172 billion bailout geared toward saving so much of the failed socialist system?

As Europe prepares to deliver a historic $172 billion bailout to Greece in a deal announced Monday, it’s pretty much a given that the austerity conditions required, in the absence of a true free market, will hit youth hardest. Athens will be trashed by another youth rampage, as many youths blame the pain on something other than Greece’s deeply rooted socialism.

A bigger effect will come from Greeks who do recognize reality. They won’t riot. They’ll leave, voting with their feet just as Eastern Europe’s youth once did.

The young in both cases are victims of socialism, which claims to make people equal but, in reality, penalizes the young. For Greece, a country already gutted by a below-replacement birth rate and an aging population, that’s a disaster.

It’s not just Greece, but also every EU state with institutionalized socialism — where high government spending seeks to create a warm blanket insulating everyone from risk, but instead has led to bankruptcy.

[…]One out of five jobs in Greece is held by a bureaucrat, which is why unemployment among the under-24s runs at 42%. A 2010 poll shows that seven out of 10 Greek college graduates seek to leave.

Some 9% of Greek college graduates and at least 51% of Greece’s Ph.D.s are already gone, according to University of Macedonia demographer Lois Lambrianidis.

What jobs there are come from the bottom of a two-tier labor system that shields older workers in Greece’s rigid labor market. Young Greeks earn a 500-and-change euro monthly minimum wage as older workers doing the same work make 700.

In contrast, immigrant-magnet Australia holds packed job fairs at its Athens embassy. In 2011, it took in 249,000 immigrants. In 2012, a 20% rise is expected.

[…]Meanwhile, Spain’s EFE News reports that the Spanish Embassy in Santiago, Chile, has seen a 10% rise in registered nationals to 48,000, while Chile reports a 25% rise in work permits issued to Spanish citizens.

It’s not just jobs that are penalizing Europe’s young. Housing is stacked against youth, too. Eurostat reports that in 2008, 46% of young European adults ages 18-34 lived with their parents — 51 million people.

The two-tier job market, which leans heavily toward unstable contract employment, affects housing choices for the young. Other socialist measures designed to protect current owners against the market also shut out the young.

Perhaps most hostile of all to youth are the EU’s outdated state pension systems — which force the young to pay the pensions of the old as the population shrinks.

In Italy, 14% of all economic output goes to pensions. It’s no coincidence that states attracting Europe’s young, like Chile and Australia, have privatized their social security systems that give youth a real shot at building personal wealth and a credible pension through their own efforts, instead of political favoritism.

This is the direction that the United States is also headed in. What I find mystifying is why young people in the United States are voting for these policies. Young people here have a higher rate of unemployment, and they ought to know that all of these entitlement programs won’t be there for them when they retire. What possible reason could they have for voting for more and more government control?