FM newswire for April 26, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. Don’t joke in Little Stasi-on-Avon“, Mark Steyn, Macleans, 22 April 2010 — “Britons have shown a surprising enthusiasm for informing on their fellow citizens.”
  2. Colleague Says Anthrax Numbers Add Up to Unsolved Case“, ProPublica, posted at The Raw Story, 23 April 2010
  3. Millennials Are The Brokest Generation Ever“, Michael Snyder, Business Insider, 24 April 2010
  4. German hostility to Greek bailout increases“, EuroIntelligence, 26 April 2010 — The prospects for a Greek bailout are not as certain as Wall Street believes.

I look at California and see Greece

“Government pensions in cross hairs”, Los Angeles Times, 23 April 2010 — “State and local leaders see the growing cost as a threat to California’s fiscal well-being.”  Excerpt (red emphasis added):

On Thursday, pension consultant Girard Miller told California’s Little Hoover Commission that state and local governments have $325 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, which he said amounts to $22,000 for every working adult in the Golden State.

… Under current law and union contracts, for instance, retirement packages allow some classes of government workers — mostly police officers, firefighters and prison guards — to retire as young as age 50 with a pension equal to nearly their entire salary.

… The shortfall at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System has ballooned so big — the system estimates it at $42.6 billion — that officials there say future investment profits could not come close to covering it. CalSTRS would have to see returns exceeding 20% a year for 5 years in a row to make up the gap, according to an internal report. Otherwise, school districts and taxpayers would have to foot the bill.

… Local governments are not permitted to default on pension payments short of declaring bankruptcy. And the state government, which cannot legally go bankrupt, has to pay the obligations even if it means eliminating other services — such as healthcare and social programs — or raising taxes.

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