Advertise | Bookmark | Contact Us | E-Mail List |  | Update Page | UraniumSeek.com 

Commentary : Gold Review : Markets : News Wire : Quotes : Silver : Stocks - Main Page 

 GoldSeek.com >> News >> Story  Disclaimer 
 
Latest Headlines

GoldSeek Radio: Gerald Celente and Peter Schiff, and Chris Waltzek
By: radio.GoldSeek.com

The Housing Market Is Sliding Down The Wall It Hit In Late August
By: Dave Kranzler

Political Theater Goes into Overdrive as Shutdown Looms
By: Clint Siegner

SWOT Analysis: Will the Fed Hike Rates Again This Week?
By: Frank Holmes

Stock Market’s Stars are Crossed for an Ursa Major Upset
By: David Haggith

Watching For A Breakout In Gold
By: Justin Smyth

Technical Scoop - Weekend Update December 17 2018
By: David Chapman

A Turn In The Tide
By: Plunger

Gold Market Update
By: Clive Maund

Palladium?
By: Larry LaBorde

 
Search

GoldSeek Web

 
Another Way Of Looking At The Pension Crisis, As “A Stealth Mortgage on Your House”


By: John Rubino



 -- Published: Tuesday, 7 August 2018 | Print  | Disqus 

Money manager Rob Arnott and finance professor Lisa Meulbroek have run the numbers on underfunded pension plans and come up with an interesting – and highly concerning – new angle: That they impose a “stealth mortgage” on homeowners. Here’s how the Wall Street Journal reported it today:

The Stealth Pension Mortgage on Your House

Most cities, counties and states have committed taxpayers to significant future unfunded spending. This mostly takes the form of pension and postretirement health-care obligations for public employees, a burden that averages $75,000 per household but exceeds $100,000 per household in some states. Many states protect public pensions in their constitutions, meaning they cannot be renegotiated. Future pension obligations simply must be paid, either through higher taxes or cuts to public services.

Is there a way out for taxpayers in states that are deep in the red? Milton Friedman famously observed that the only thing more mobile than the wealthy is their capital. Some residents may hope that they can avoid the pension crash by decamping to a more fiscally sound state.

But this escape may be illusory. State taxes are collected on four economic activities: consumption (sales tax), labor and investment (income tax) and real-estate ownership (property tax). The affluent can escape sales and income taxes by moving to a new state—but real estate stays behind. Property values must ultimately support the obligations that politicians have promised, even if those obligations aren’t properly funded, because real estate is the only source of state and local revenue that can’t pick up and move elsewhere. Whether or not unfunded obligations are paid with property taxes, it’s the property that backs the obligations in the end.

When property owners choose to sell and become tax refugees, they pass along the burden to the next owner. And buyers of properties in troubled states will demand lower prices if they expect property taxes to increase.

It doesn’t matter if we own or rent; landlords pass higher taxes on to tenants. Nor does it matter if properties are mortgaged to the hilt or owned outright. In time, unfunded pension obligations will be reflected in real-estate prices, if they aren’t already. A state’s unfunded liabilities are effectively a stealth mortgage on private property. Think you can pass your property on to your heirs? Only net of the unfunded pension obligations.

We calculated the ratio of unfunded pension obligations relative to property values in each state. We used 3% bond-market yields as our discount rate to measure unfunded obligations, because while other assets ostensibly earn a risk premium above the bond yield, these assets can also underperform.

Unfunded pension obligations range from a low of $30,000 per household of four in Tennessee to a high of $180,000 per household in Alaska. They amount to less than 11% of the average home values in Florida, Tennessee and Utah and more than 50% in Alaska, Mississippi and Ohio.

There are a few surprises. California, Hawaii and New York have large unfunded obligations, but because property in these states is so expensive, the average household burden is less than 15% of the average home price. Meanwhile, West Virginia and Iowa have relatively low pension debts—but the average household obligation is more than 30% of the average home price because property is far less expensive in these states.

On average nationwide, unfunded state and local pension burdens represent 20% of real-estate values. This ratio can rival or exceed an owner’s home equity, depending on the size of his mortgage. If real-estate prices adjust to reflect unfunded pension obligations, many homeowners’ equity could be at risk. As we’ve seen in Detroit, the public pension stealth mortgage can ultimately devastate the housing market.

This is yet another confirmation that we’re not nearly as rich as we think we are. If your home is your biggest asset but a big part of your equity is secretly claimed by the local government, you don’t really own it. And if you’re counting on a public sector pension and home equity to finance your retirement you might be hit with a double whammy when your pension is cut (despite what the state constitution says, it will be cut one way or another) at the same time your property tax bill soars to protect what’s left of pension benefits.

And the pension crisis is actually much worse than Arnott’s and Meulbroek’s research implies, because they’re using peak-of-the-cycle numbers. When the next recession brings an equities bear market, pension plans will lose money, causing their underfunding to explode. So that 20% stealth mortgage is about to get even bigger.

For more on the coming pension crisis see:

Public Sector Pensions: The Parasite Devours Its Host

The Pension Crisis Gets A Catchy Name: “Silver Tsunami”

More Absolutely Crazy Pension News

Find The Sentence That Dooms Pension Funds (Don’t Worry, It’s Highlighted)

 


| Digg This Article
 -- Published: Tuesday, 7 August 2018 | E-Mail  | Print  | Source: GoldSeek.com

comments powered by Disqus







 



Increase Text SizeDecrease Text SizeE-mail Link of Current PagePrinter Friendly PageReturn to GoldSeek.com

 news.goldseek.com >> Story

E-mail Page  | Print  | Disclaimer 


© 1995 - 2019



GoldSeek.com Supports Kiva.org

© GoldSeek.com, Gold Seek LLC

The content on this site is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws and is the property of GoldSeek.com and/or the providers of the content under license. By "content" we mean any information, mode of expression, or other materials and services found on GoldSeek.com. This includes editorials, news, our writings, graphics, and any and all other features found on the site. Please contact us for any further information.

Live GoldSeek Visitor Map | Disclaimer


Map

The views contained here may not represent the views of GoldSeek.com, Gold Seek LLC, its affiliates or advertisers. GoldSeek.com, Gold Seek LLC makes no representation, warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy or completeness of the information (including news, editorials, prices, statistics, analyses and the like) provided through its service. Any copying, reproduction and/or redistribution of any of the documents, data, content or materials contained on or within this website, without the express written consent of GoldSeek.com, Gold Seek LLC, is strictly prohibited. In no event shall GoldSeek.com, Gold Seek LLC or its affiliates be liable to any person for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided herein.