Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Pension Game

It is a curious story that came out today.....and you have to wonder about the timing. Few people are reading the news over this weekend.....and this should slide by very quickly. But the emphasis of this....is five-star.

There is a $530 billion bill existing.....for U.S. state and local government pensions. Almost all will admit that they have not set money to the side for this bill....and simply take money out of the general revenue pot to continue on.

There are actually 39 county governments in the US.....which have a $130 billion dollar bill existing for their pension requirements. At the bottom of the entire scale.....is lowly Arizona....with a state requirement of $71 million in existence. New York City? Fifty-nine billion.

So if you were wondering if anything could even top the Wall Street fall of 2009......well....yes....this pension pyramid. You can forecast out.....a decade into the future.....and states like New York and California.....will not be able to cover their pension requirements.

At some point....counties and states will eventually dump their responsibility back onto the federal government because it will become an impossible bill to cover.

About a year ago, I came across this neat California university retirement deal. The chief of security was pulling in around $200k a year for the university. She retired. The new chief was a temp. The old chief got a pension in the $130k a year range. Around eight months pass...the temp leaves.....and they rehire the old Chief back......at her old pay, while she keeps getting paid the $130k a year on the pension, and building it up each year. A responsible company would never have done that....while a university organization does it without a worry.

There are cops regularly retiring in California now....with a pension of $75k a year easily. No one in the state government ever dares to question this. Even if you tried to fix it....people would just get upset and challenge you in court.

So we are merely waiting for an end to this game.....when we all get this huge tax bill.....to cover pensions for everyone.....on top of health care.

You Just Need One Guy

As the plane started to land in Detroit....a pop could be heard, and then a little bit of smoke.

Then, Jasper Schuringa, sitting about four rows back sized the situation real quick. Jasper....a Dutch guy, and a film director...was making a trip to visit friends in the US.

Panic was this immedate action for most folks...except for Jasper. There in seat 20J...of the Airbus 330...knew precisely what was required of his being. He jumped....over four seats....to reach a lowlife dimwit...whose preoccupation in life was to make people as miserable as possible.

Jasper found this character sitting there....with a blanket over his lap, with smoke pouring out from under it and flames around his legs.

Jasper found an attached device to this dimwit....with flames around it....and literally ripped off the guy's leg. No hestitation was on Jasper's mind.

Jasper put what fire he could and yelled for water....which the crew threw themselves into action....bringing out a fire extinguishers...thus putting out the flame.

Then Jasper...still with absolute strength in his mind and soul....took a headlock on this character and literally hauled him out of the seat and then dragged the dumbass up to first class seating.

Jasper's words? "I don’t feel like a hero. It was something that came completely natural ... It was something where I had to do something or it was too late."

I've often written of moments when you only need one person to stand and stop something. This was one of those moments. Jasper's actions were automatic....without hesitation.

I'll even go one step further. Had this been a planeload of Germans....they would have all sat and watched...and simply waited for something to happen. One strong Dutch man was all this plane needed....to put down a terrorist.

So as you sit on a flight...and one single event starts to unfold...you can stop the idiot...if you simply stand up and take action.