Detroit Spent Billions Extra on PensionsThe city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. It’s the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, estimated to be $18–20 billion. Current and former employees of the city of Detroit have been particularly distraught over the apparent loss of their pensions. However, according to Dealbook,
“Detroit’s municipal pension fund made payments for decades to retirees, active workers and others above and beyond normal benefits, costing the struggling city billions of dollars and helping push it into bankruptcy, . . . .
“The payments, which were not publicly disclosed, included bonuses to retirees, supplements to workers not yet retired and cash to the families of workers who died before becoming eligible to collect a pension, . . . .
The fact that the city didn’t disclose all of these “extra” payments is evidence that pension fund trustees knew that those “extra” payments were actually crimes. I.e., they knew they were looting the pension funds.
“How much each person received is not known. But available records suggest that the trustees approving the payments did not discriminate; nearly everybody in the [pension] plan received them.”
Thus, “nearly everybody” who’d worked for Detroit was complicit in looting their own pension funds.
“Joseph Harris, who served as Detroit’s independent auditor general from 1995 to 2005, compared the government handouts to ‘dandelions’. ‘You just accept them. They were there, something you’ve seen all your life.’”
I.e., looting theirown pension funds was simply part of the city’s “culture”. A criminal mentality to take whatever you could get was accepted as normal within the city of Detroit.
“When asked on what legal authority the trustees made the payments, Mr. Harris said, ‘My understanding was, it had to be approved by City Council, and council was under the belief that the money was there—that the pension funds were earning the money—with the consideration that in bad times the city would be making up the difference. I hate to say that. Ultimately the fund has to be funded by the taxpayers.”
Yes, the government always sticks it to the idiot “taxpayers”. And they’d do just that in Detroit except the taxpayers (those private workers and businesses who actually earned an income) have largely left Detroit.
The loss of privately-employed taxpayers creates a big problem. The city government is incapable of funding its own pension programs. The government produces nothing. The government can only fund its pension programs by predating on private taxpayers. In fact, all government is inherently parasitical and can’t survive without privately-employed taxpayers to pay for government excesses.
Thus, Detroit’s pension funds will no longer be funded by privately-employed taxpayers. More, the pension funds that former city workers, themselves, helped to loot, will disappear. Government pensioners will scream at the injustice of losing their pensions, but insofar as they didn’t mind looting their own pension funds “back in the day,” they have no moral ground to complain about their losses.
I suppose that a lot of Detroit’s government employees were singing “let the good times roll” back in the day when they were looting their own pension funds. Now, they’re crying the blues because the pensions are gone and the good times have ended.
People who loot their own pension funds are just like people who riot and burn down their own neighborhoods. They’re stupid.
But such stupidity is hardly confined to Detroit. Here’s evidence of more stupidity:
President Obama spoke to the UN last September to demand a UN resolution authorizing military action against Syria. According to AntiWar.com (“Obama: America ‘Exceptional’ Because of all the Wars”),
“While giving lip-service to the idea of diplomacy, President Obama made it clear during the speech that American ‘exceptionalism’ centers around its willingness to fight wars.”
“Obama insisted, ‘I believe America is exceptional, in part because we have shown a willingness, through the sacrifice of blood and treasure, to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interest, but for the interests of all,’”
Americans who support all these damned foreign wars are exceptional alright. They’re exceptionally stupid.
Nations that expend their lives and treasure fighting for “interests of all” other nations (and many special interests) necessarily incur costs contrary to their own best interests. By fighting other people’s wars, we’ve weakened ourselves and diminished our own ability to defend ourselves if we’re called to fight our own wars.
Americans who allow their government to engage in foreign wars that have no national value to are just as stupid as the city employees who loot their own pension funds or demonstrate by burning their own homes to the ground.
Civilians Responsible for Government
In “Syrian Civilians Bore Brunt of Rebels’ Fury, Report Says,” The New York Times reported that that the primary victims of the current civil war in Syria are the Syrian civilians.
That’s no surprise.
According to Wikipdia,
“The civilian casualty ratio in an armed conflict is the ratio of civilian casualties to combatant casualties or total casualties. The measurement can apply either to casualties inflicted by a particular belligerent or to casualties in the conflict as a whole.
“The ratio of ten civilian casualties for every combatant is a frequently-cited, but disputed figure.”
The 10:1 ratio may be disputed, but it’s almost certainly roughly correct.
The lesson in the civilian casualty ratio is that civilians (a/k/a “taxpayers”) will be held liable for their own governments. Insofar as Syrians allow themselves to be ruled by tyrants, they’re liable for that government’s debts and crimes. Therefore, if someone attacks the government of Syria, it may be cruel and harsh, but’s still fair that Syrian civilians be gassed, wounded or killed. The civilians are responsible for their government’s crimes. They are responsible for allowing a criminal elite to take control of their government.
Similarly, if Syrians have a good government but fail to support and defend it against attack, the Syrian civilians will be held liable for their failure. Again, it will be fair for them to be gassed, wounded or killed by the attackers and their new government.
War may have once been “honorable” insofar as warriors fought other warriors. The Battle of Waterloo was fought in A.D. 1815—a little less than two centuries ago. Napoleon commanded 69,000 French soldiers; the Duke of Wellington commanded a 67,000-man Anglo-allied coalition. Of these 136,000 warriors, about 50,000 were killed or wounded. But virtually no civilians were killed or wounded. In fact, civilians gathered around the perimeter of the battlefield to watch the fight, somewhat like people today gather in coliseums to watch football games or boxing matches.
Back then, warriors fought warriors but didn’t generally attack the civilians. As a result, civilians often felt a special respect for men who were warriors.
Today, our warriors no longer restrict their targets to enemy warriors. Instead, the modern warrior is 10 times as likely to kill a civilian as an enemy warrior.
If war was ever “honorable” (warrior vs warrior) that time has passed.
Today, war is psychotic in that “warriors” primarily kill “non-warriors” (civilians). There’s no honor in today’s wars.
The fact that the people of Syria are liable to be gassed, wounded or killed is based on their responsibility for their own government. That same principle applies to all people, including Americans.
We are responsible for our government. If our government commits crimes or is merely corrupt or even stupid, we may be held liable. In the same sense that people who loot their own pensions funds are liable for the pension losses, and people who demonstrate by burning down their own homes are liable to pay the cost of rebuilding, and people who allow their government to engage in wars that are none of their business are stupid and liable for their stupidity—so are you and I.
Therefore, the people who believe that, since they didn’t personally do anything wrong, they shouldn’t be held liable for by or for their own government are mistaken. It’s not enough to avoid doing something wrong. You have to get involved and make sure the rest of the sneaky S.O.B.s also don’t do anything wrong.
Life is not a situation comedy. If you were watching Dancing With the Stars rather than watching your politicians when your government trashed the Constitution or invaded yet another foreign country, you may be ignorant, but you’re not innocent. More, when the day of reckoning arrives and you’re held liable for your indifference, apathy or fear, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.
Those Americans who trust government to manage our affairs in our own best interests are fools and will be held to pay a fool’s price.
One more stupidity:
In “Bungling bureaucrats dole out billions in tax credits to illegal immigrants,” The Washington Times reports a study by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). According to that study,
“[T]he Internal Revenue Service doled out $4.2 billion in what is known as the “additional child tax credit” in 2010 to those using an individual taxpayer identification number, or ITIN, which is usually a signal of an illegal immigrant.”
In essence, illegal aliens claimed tax credits for nieces, nephews, cousins who still lived in Mexico, or even for children who didn’t even exist. Based on these tax “credits,” illegal aliens who may have earned no taxable income were nevertheless able to gain significant tax refunds from the IRS.
Note that the IRS handed out a free $4.2 billion to illegal aliens in the single year A.D. 2010.
We can therefore suppose that similar sums were also handed out in A.D. 2008, 2009, 2011 and perhaps 2012. It’s conceivable that the IRS has handed over as much as $20 billion to illegal aliens since the onset of the Great Recession of A.D. 2008.
During a recession, illegal aliens would be among the most hard-hit. They’d be less able to find or hold jobs. The stress of the Great Recession undoubtedly slowed the flow of illegals into this country and caused many who were already here to return to Mexico.
However, by means of these billions of dollars in “tax credits,” the IRS helped many illegal aliens to stay in the U.S. rather than return to Mexico.
“The federal government’s decision to pay out billions of dollars in tax credits to illegalimmigrants likely was made by midlevel bureaucrats and has never received full congressional scrutiny.”
We don’t even know who made the decision enrich illegal aliens at taxpayer expense?!
When do we find out which “midlevel bureaucrats” made these decisions? When do heads begin to roll?
And, of course, whatever criminal, treasonous acts were committed by anyone in the IRS (or in government at large), they certainly weren’t committed, instigated or approved by our beloved Congress, White House or courts. It was the “little people”—the faceless, anonymous, incompetent mid-level bureaucrats—who are responsible for paying billions of taxpayer dollars to criminals.
Surely, there was no criminal intent to encourage illegals to enter this country. Surely, there was no criminal intent encourage illegals to stay in this country. And of course, there was no criminal intent to rob the taxpayers to enrich the criminals. Right?
Instead, it was just one of those crazy, inexplicable things that sometimes happen in big, unaccountable government. It was like the description previously offered by:
“Joseph Harris, who served as Detroit’s independent auditor general from 1995 to 2005, [who] compared the [city of Detroit] government handouts to ‘dandelions’. ‘You just accept them. They were there, something you’ve seen all your life.’”
I.e., just as looting their own pension funds was simply part of Detroit’s “culture,” looting the American taxpayers’ funds for the benefit of illegal aliens is part of the “culture” of the IRS. And Congress. And the White House. Both Detroit and Washington enjoy a criminal inclination to take whatever they can get from the taxpayers and use that money to curry favor with non-taxpayers, criminals, special interests and also to feather their own nests.
And why shouldn’t the government rob the American people? After all, the people are such a bunch of weak, apathetic, ignorant dummies that they’ll never really “do anything” to cause the government to held accountable—will they?
Instead, the people of Detroit and of the United States will watch and wait until the day when they find out that their own pension funds and their own futures have been looted. Then, they’ll scream and shout and demand that somebody else (probably their children or grandchildren) be made to pay in order to replenish the pension funds and government accounts that are finally shown to “mysteriously” empty.
The Washington Times article on the IRS giving billions to illegal aliens continued:
“The issue has been known for some time. But Mr. North went deep into the data to try to look at why it’s happening, and said it’s a story of a tax credit expanding beyond its initial scope [like everything else in big government] and midlevel IRS managers twisting the law, leaving billions of dollars going to illegal immigrants.”
Sure, the crime of handing taxpayer moneys to illegal aliens has been “known for some time”—perhaps several years. But nothing’s been done about it. No one’s been punished. No one in government has even initiated a serious investigation. Instead, it’s apparently been hoped that the issue would blow over like so many of the other “dandelions” that grow so commonly around government.
And, again, whoever (if anyone) is actually responsible for this financial abomination, it’s surely the faceless, anonymous “midlevel IRS managers”—but definitely not anyone in Congress or the White House. Definitely.
My position on all of this is a little extreme. I believe that whoever’s responsible for handing billions of dollars to illegal aliens should be found and tried for treason. If they’re found guilty, hang ‘em within an hour after the trial concludes. Hang them on a gibbet built in front of the place where they worked (be it an IRS office, Capitol Hill or the White House) and make sure that everyone who works in that office witnesses the hanging. I suspect that a series of public executions for treason might go a long ways towards restoring a respect for the law among our government employees and elected officers.
But that’s just me. Kinder, gentler people insist that a good slap on the wrist should be enough to penalize any governmental crook.
The Washington Times continues, emphasizing for the third time that, whoever was responsible for handing billions to illegal aliens, it definitely wasn’t one of the “big boys”.
“In particular, [the author of the study] said he can find no evidence that the decision to allow illegal immigrants to collect the tax was made by top leaders at the IRS, and he said it wasn’t the intent of Congress.”
Uh-huh. The fact that evidence hasn’t been found doesn’t mean that evidence doesn’t exist. In fact, if we’re dealing with a real crime, the criminals responsible may have hidden or destroyed any such evidence.
If the study is honest and complete, then the “big boys” at the IRS and in Congress are still our buddies and pals, and they’d never do anything to hurt the American people—other than turn this country into a police state, violate the Constitution, ship our industries and jobs overseas, raise taxes to intolerable levels, burden us with a debt too great to ever be repaid and take a little graft on the side to feather their own nests.
Billions (perhaps tens of billions) of taxpayer dollars have been paid out to illegal aliens by the IRS, but no one important at the IRS or in Congress could possibly be responsible. In fact, no one will probably ever be identified let alone held liable for the “dandelions” that just seem to grow and grow in the compost we call government.
If the American people are stupid enough to believe that none of the “big boys” are responsible, then the American people are just as stupid as Detroit city workers who were complicit in looting their own pension funds. Both groups of morons deserve to see their taxes raised, their economy collapsed, and their pension fund (So-So Security) looted just like that of the City of Detroit.
And, in fact—as all of you already know—the taxpayers’ So-So Security fund has already been looted. Just like Detroit, our beloved national gov-co needed the SS money to fund many its various “good deeds,” “compassionate acts” occasional wars—and graft.
The day is coming when US taxpayers discover that their So-So Security pension fund is (OMG!) empty! The poor taxpayers will shocked! Shocked I tell you! They’ll scream like the city workers of Detroit that their pension fund empty [!!!] and somebody else (maybe their kids and grandkids) must be made responsible to refill it.
But mostly, like the city workers of Detroit and the civilians of Syria, the US taxpayer will claim to be innocent of any responsibility for the disappearance of their own SS funds. And the Congress will claim to be innocent of any responsibility for mismanaging the SS funds. The loss of SS funds will be “just one of those things” that no one could foresee—another one of those danged “dandelions” that you “just accept” because “They were something you’ve seen all your life.”
Corruption: it’s part of the culture of big government and therefore deemed to be unremarkable and unobjectionable. We see the corruption. We wink. We grin. We ask “Where’s mine?” We loot our own pension funds and our own futures and think ourselves slick.
Therefore, when the SS fund is seen to be empty, it will be accepted and explained as an “act of God” or maybe of the faceless, anonymous “mid-level So-So Security managers”. The taking of funds from SS will be like the other “dandelions” that the government and the American people have “just accepted” over the years as “something you’ve seen all your life.”
Most Americans have stupidly accepted a culture of lawlessness and corruption in their government. Like the city workers or Detroit and the Syrian civilians, most Americans will be held liable for that stupidity.
Stupid is not, as Forest Gump said, simply “as stupid does”. It’s also “as stupid gets”. Those American who’ve insisted on their right to remain stupid are going to “get” a penalty that may make their ears bleed.
Stupid is not a viable choice. If you want to survive, you’d better get smart and stay smart. Soon.