What if the powers that be had determined the pension issues in the US are collectively too big to handle? The list of funding goals for the government is long and large with many players lobbying for their respective interests. Important examples of items on the list are: the infrastructure, military requirements, Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid and health care, mental care. In prioritizing, properly funding the Government pension plan, social security and disability trusts, and PBGC (Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation) are probably far down the list as they do not have powerful lobbies (in comparison) or loud spokesmen (or women). If you do not add water to a flower it will wither, dry up, die and go away. Unfortunately, the opposite occurs with our long and expensive list of needs.
Dear reader, please ponder the following. If you made the decision that the retirement problem (collectively) is too large or too difficult to resolve, what would you do? Among available options are:
- Kick the can. Delay, delay, delay. The pension problems are not current problems, and politically, it is better to have someone else deal with it even if it means the solution will be more difficult.
- Provide little attention. Very little media attention is offered on this subject because it is not a current issue and the government does little to make it so. If Jay Carny made pension problems a topic of conversation, it would be all over the news.
- Disclose without disclosing. In fine print or in innocuous terms provide details of the issues. In doing so, the public has been informed without being informed. An example is the recent cash payment of $400 million to Iran. We were informed that notice to the public had been made in January 2016.
- Blame someone else. If the subject were to arise, it is easy to find a target of blame being either the opposite party or whoever holds the presidency. That party/entity knows the issue will blow over like tumbleweed in the desert.
- Damage control. On occasion (rarely) a report will surface that might cause alarm. Through various methods such disclosures should be silenced quickly and effectively (see http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-06/establishment-tries-suppress-dissident-actuaries-explosive-report-public-pensions ). If something needs attention, put a band aid on it and refer to number 1.
- Exit prior to explosion. Timing is important.
The above are not original suggestions and have been used in the past. Any congressman, senator or President is keenly aware of this expanding balloon. If asked what is being done to address the issues, impressive forms of the two-step will be demonstrated. As the Social Security Disability Trust will need attention next year, it will be interesting to see how this is handled. See number 5 above.