Federal Bailout No More! State and Local Governments Must Deal With TheirOwn Pension Predicaments

In December 2008, state governments had nearly $1.94 trillion set aside in pension funds for approximately 20 million active state and local government employees and seven million retirees and dependents who currently receive benefits. 

Using market-based discount rates that reflect the risk profile of pension liabilities, finance professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauhof Northwestern University calculated that states have pension liabilities of $5.17 trillion, which means that state pension plans are unfunded by $3.23 trillion.  Local government pension plans are unfunded by $574 billion. 

Privacy Problems

Privacy may mean different things to different people, but at a certain level everybody wants their privacy protected.  The advent and growth of the Internet has greatly amplified privacy issues. 

As with every other subject that comes to the forefront of the American psyche, Congress is gearing up to offer legislation to “protect privacy.”  As usual, this means Congress could do more harm than good.

Port Earmark Divides South Carolina Senators

Citing the need to modernize the Port of Charleston, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) submitted a $400,000 earmark to the Senate version of the fiscal year 2011 Energy and Water Appropriations Act to study the port’s potential deepening.  However, the Senate Appropriations Committee rejected the project. 

Time to Revisit the Benefits of $1 Coins

On April 21, 2010, the U.S. Treasury released its new version of the $100 bill.  Featuring an updated portrait of Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, the bill boasts advanced measures to obstruct counterfeiters.  However, while the federal government has recently focused on this large tender, more attention needs to be paid to the other end of the currency spectrum: the $1 coin.

Don’t Count on an Efficient Census Bureau

The Census and the Super Bowl are American traditions whose paths had never crossed until February 7.  That is when the Census Bureau spent $2.5 million for an ad during the big game to urge people to fill out and send in their questionnaires.  This expenditure was just the latest in a number of high profile missteps by the agency.

The Year of Living Dangerously

The nation will hear President Obama’s first State of the Union Address on Wednesday as he tries to salvage a devastating plunge in popularity for his agenda.  But, as bad as it has been for the President, whose support has dropped from 69 percent a year ago to 48 percent, the largest first-year drop by any President that has been tracked by polls, it has been much worse for taxpayers.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – The Voldemort(s) of the Financial Crisis

On January 13, 2010, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) launched a year-long probe on the financial crisis with two days of hearings, starting with testimony from the CEOs of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley.  It is not clear whether the hearings and the subsequent report will be an authentic “teachable moment” or just another in a long line of show trials masquerading as serious congressional inquiries, but the early signs don’t look promising. 

Weatherization: More Clouds on the Horizon

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the so-called stimulus package, continues to be a source of contention and controversy as the end of 2009 approaches.  When Congress first considered the $787 billion legislation, CAGW expressed grave concerns about the entire plan, especially those programs which received massive increases in their budgets.

Time for a Constitutional Line Item Veto

As the year draws to a close and the nation’s deficit soars to $1.4 trillion, Congress’s spendthrift behavior persists.  On December 16, 2009 President Obama signed a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill; $446.8 billion of that amount covered six of the seven remaining appropriations bill. 


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CAGW Names Sen. Kamala Harris August 2018 Porker of the Month

Sen. Harris is CAGW's Porker of the Month for for proposing an expensive and impractical taxpayer-funded rent subsidy.