The biggest problem facing Illinois is the public pension fund problem. I don’t care what the “official” number is for the degree to which it is underfunded. I can guarantee that even without marking-to-real-market the illiquid investments like private equity funds, derivatives, commercial real estate trusts and other assets that do not have truly visible markets, collectively the public pension system in Illinois is at least 60-70% underfunded. Then apply a realistic assumed actuarial rate of return on assets, which would be lower than the current assumption (likely 7.5% ad infinitum) and the underfunding goes to 80%. The problem is unsolvable without a complete and drastic restructuring.
I was in a Lyft ride today and the driver happened to be from the northwest suburban area of Chicago. There’s a lot bad things happening in that State that are not reported in the mainstream media. All road public road work has been halted except toll roads. The gun violence has worked its way from the South Side up through downtown into the Gold Coast neighborhood and is winding its way north. This is making it a dangerous place to live and is driving the price of things like home insurance up, although some companies still offer good deals – you can find what I think are the cheapest plans for IL here.
He said that his old house at peak prices in northwest burbs was worth over $500k. The current resident has it offered for $250k. Housing and real estate prices are plunging. He has a good friend who consults with Sears and the expectation is that SHLD could file bankruptcy any day (Short Seller Journal subscribers were shown this idea on April 2, 2017 at $11.49 – it’s been as low as $6.20 since then).
It’s not just Illinois. The entire system is crumbling beneath the surface. As long as the mainstream media isn’t reporting the truth, the “truth” can’t be that bad, can it? The truth is worse than any of us can possibly know.
There’s a 1%/99% in this country that’s different than the assumed meaning for that term. For 99% of the population, economic reality and systemic truth has been covered up and kicked down the road for so long that this segment of the populace is willing to believe there may well be a such thing as a “free lunch.” To 99%’ers, it’s inconceivable that the grim-reaper could or ever would show up to collect. Of the 1%, a small percentage not part of the insider elite can see most of the truth and can imagine that the whole truth is far worse than what can be perceived from publicly available information. The balance of the 1% are the insiders.
I stated in 2003, after watching the tech bubble collapse and the housing bubble inflate, that the inside elitists were going to keep the system propped up with printed money and easy credit until they had swept every last crumb of middle class wealth off the table and into their own pockets. I also said that nation’s retirement assets would be last crumbs remaining. Enabling pension underfunding is another form of debt used to confiscate wealth. That’s why the catastrophic underfunding of pensions was allowed to persist.
For purposes of my analysis, anyone who does not have enough money in the form of cash in hand to buy a Federal politician or buy the direct phone number to the Oval Office is “middle class.” There’s plenty of douche-bags running around with assets worth 8-figures but they don’t have enough spare change to buy their way in to the elitists’ card game.
We are at the point where the last crumbs are being swept off the table. It looks like Illinois will be the first to fall but there will be several others that follow. Part of the motivation by the Fed/Government to hold up the stock market like it has been doing is to keep the big State pension funds propped up for proper looting – like a prize-fighter being held up under the shoulders after passing out in order to deliver more punches to the face.
I suspect the time at which the system will be allowed to collapse is not too far off. The only question for me is whether or not the “Mad Max” scenario engulfs the country before the outbreak of World War 3…