Daily Digest

Daily Digest - March 17

Wednesday, March 17, 2010, 10:44 AM
  • Christie Seeks To Suspend N.J. Tax Rebate, Skip Pension Payment
  • Garden State To Skip $3 Billion Pension Contribution
  • 'I Borrow Money to Buy Food,' Says City Employee
  • Working Families Onto Welfare Rolls in City of Detroit
  • Vallejo Struggles To Keep City Safe During Bankruptcy
  • ECB’s Stark Sees Sovereign Debt Crisis Risk Unless Deficits Cut
  • National Debt Up $2 Trillion on Obama's Watch
  • 'India Will Muddle Along Until The Debt Crisis Hits'
  • Canadian Finance Chief Warns U.S., Others On Deficit
  • U.S. Debt At No Risk Of Downgrade - Geithner
  • German Defense Cuts Loom as Merkel Fights Record Budget Deficit
  • Schwarzenegger Will Veto $1.1 Billion Gasoline-Tax Swap Measure
  • 'Live Within Your Means,’ Citizens Tell City Leaders 
  • Feldstein Sees Greece Euro-Exit Pressures as Deficit Plan Fails
  • CMS Cuts Could Mean Hundreds Of Layoffs
  • Mayors Seek $50 Billion to Upgrade U.S. Water, Sewer Systems
  • National Debt Easily Passes $12.6 Trillion
  • Red Tape Complicates Postal Service's Fiscal Repair Plan
  • Schools on the brink: Districts could run out of money
  • As Economy Booms, China Faces Major Water Shortage
  • IRS, DOJ Use Social Media Sites To Track Deadbeats, Criminal Activity
  • IRS Comes Knocking … For Four Cents

Economy

Christie Seeks to Suspend N.J. Tax Rebate, Skip Pension Payment

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed a $29.3 billion budget that would suspend property-tax rebates, skip the state’s $3 billion pension contribution and fire 1,300 workers next year. The plan would reduce aid to schools by $820 million, towns by $446 million and higher education by $173 million. Christie, a Republican who took office Jan. 19, also called for a constitutional amendment that would limit annual growth in the state’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes to 2.5 percent.

Garden State to skip $3 billion pension contribution (New Jersey)

New Jersey won’t make a required $3.06 billion state pension contribution for the fiscal year starting July 1, Gov. Chris Christie said today.....The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits said last month that the state pension system’s estimated unfunded liabilities climbed to $46 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, up $12 billion from the previous fiscal year.

'I Borrow Money to Buy Food,' Says City Employee as Mayor Dave Bing's Cut Threatens to Push Working Families Onto Welfare Rolls in City of Detroit

City employees today urged Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to consider the plight of working families before making draconian pay cuts that will push them below the federal poverty level guidelines. "I borrow money right now to buy food," says Jackita Muhammad, a teller in the city's finance department. "I try to buy beans and other staples so I don't have to ask family for money, but the truth is that if the mayor cuts my pay, I will have to declare bankruptcy."

Vallejo struggles to keep city safe during bankruptcy

It was just about two years ago that the city of Vallejo declared bankruptcy and started hacking away at its public services. Just last month, in the wake of heavy cuts to Vallejo’s police force, a wave of violent crimes gripped the town, leaving cities all over the Bay Area wondering what toll budget cuts can take....Vallejo is finding that there’s no such thing as a good backup plan when a city hits rock bottom. How do you keep safe, clean, and healthy when you’re bankrupt? Other Bay Area cities may soon be asking these questions too.

ECB’s Stark Sees Sovereign Debt Crisis Risk Unless Deficits Cut

European Central Bank Executive Board member Juergen Stark said the euro region may face a sovereign debt crisis unless governments reduce budget deficits. There is “a clear risk that we will enter a third wave,” which is “a sovereign debt crisis in most advanced economies,” Stark told lawmakers in the European Parliament in Brussels today. Any undue delay in reducing budget gaps will “have serious negative side effects on confidence and economic welfare,” he said. “The situation in Greece shows how important it is to strictly apply credible fiscal rules.”

National Debt Up $2 Trillion on Obama's Watch

The latest posting from the Treasury Department shows the National Debt has increased over $2 trillion since President Obama took office. The debt now stands at $12.6 trillion. On the day Mr. Obama took office it was $10.6 trillion. President George W. Bush still holds the record for the most debt run up on his watch: $4.9 trillion. But it took him over four years to rack up the first two trillion dollars in debt. It has taken Mr. Obama 421 days.

'India Will Muddle Along Until The Debt Crisis Hits' (Jim Rogers)

After all the budget euphoria, it is time for a reality check. Investor and venture capitalist Jim Rogers remains deeply skeptical of India's future. In an interview with S. Srinivasan, he argues that the country is sitting on a fiscal time bomb.

Canadian finance chief warns US, others on deficit

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says other developed nations, including the United States, should come up with clearer plans on how they are going to get their weighty budget deficits under control. Flaherty also urged the Group of 20 leading and industrialized countries to step up work on financial reforms head of the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington D.C.

U.S. debt at no risk of downgrade-Geithner

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insisted on Tuesday there is "no way" major credit rating agencies will cut the gilt-edged rating they assign to U.S. debt offerings. His comments followed a report on Monday in which Moody's Investors Service said risks had grown to the credit ratings of the United States and other large Triple-A sovereign debt issuers.

German Defense Cuts Loom as Merkel Fights Record Budget Deficit

Lawmakers cut net new borrowing by 5.6 billion euros on March 5, saying the potential for savings on labor-market programs such as jobless benefits has increased after Europe’s biggest economy exited its deepest recession since World War II in the second quarter of 2009. The overall budget deficit will swell to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product this year, almost twice the European Union ceiling of 3 percent, the Finance Ministry said Feb. 22 before lawmakers cut Merkel’s budget request. With spending now slimmed to 319.5 billion euros, the IWH economic institute yesterday predicted a deficit of 4.9 percent of GDP this year.

Schwarzenegger Will Veto $1.1 Billion Gasoline-Tax Swap Measure

The measure sent to his desk was a revision of Schwarzenegger’s original plan to lower consumer prices while simultaneously helping close a budget gap estimated at $20 billion for this year and next.



“It has been nine weeks since I called a special session of the Legislature and, while the Legislature has sent bills to my desk that address $200 million of the shortfall, that amount represents merely 1 percent of the projected deficit,” the governor wrote in a March 15 letter.

'Live within your means,’ citizens tell city leaders (Toledo)

At two of six public meetings on the city’s budget, ''live within your means'' – the exact words spoken by citizens – was among the advice given to Toledo officials trying to deal with a $48 million deficit. The advice is sound but it wasn’t something he needed to be told, Mayor Mike Bell said. Appearing at public meetings March 9 in council District 5 and March 11 in District 1, the mayor said his administration will operate with a conservative estimate of taking in only $136 million in income taxes this year. That’s $11 million less than former mayor Carty Finkbeiner projected when he submitted a proposed budget last November, before leaving office.

Feldstein Sees Greece Euro-Exit Pressures as Deficit Plan Fails

Harvard University Professor Martin Feldstein, who warned almost two decades ago that the euro would prove an “economic liability,” said Greece’s austerity plan will fail and the country may quit the single currency to fix its fiscal crisis.



“The idea that Greece can go from a 12 percent deficit now to a 3 percent deficit two years from now seems fantasy,” Feldstein, an adviser to U.S. presidents since Ronald Reagan, said in a March 13 interview in Geneva. “The alternatives are to default in some way or to leave, or both.”

CMS Cuts Could Mean Hundreds Of Layoffs

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Peter Gorman said he's moving forward with a plan to lay off 841 employees, including more than 580 teachers.

Mayors Seek $50 Billion to Upgrade U.S. Water, Sewer Systems

The average U.S. household’s water and sewer rates may double or even quadruple by 2028 without additional federal grants and loans, the mayors said in a statement today, without providing specifics. Americans are likely to face more service disruptions as rising population, urbanization and aging equipment all help to intensify the burden on municipalities, according to the report.

National debt easily passes $12.6 trillion

A look at the debt history will show $12,575,678,862,901.61 on 3/12 and $12,636,662,956,140.07 on 3/15.

Red tape complicates Postal Service's fiscal repair plan

This year is shaping up as a $7 billion loss. So the Postal Service is seeking help from Congress for the fourth time since 2003 – this time for permission to close uneconomic post offices, drop Saturday delivery and abandon prepayment of pension costs.



Since 2006, the Postal Service has been required to prepay its pension and retiree health care costs – an average of $5.6 billion a year. Congress last year let the service postpone some of that requirement. Potter wants to go back to pay-as-you-go benefits, as with Social Security and Medicare.

Schools on the brink: Districts could run out of money (Mississippi)

A recent state survey indicates trouble for a number of school districts as tax collections and state aid shrink. "You will see some school districts literally run out of money," House Education Committee Chairman Cecil Brown said Monday. Brown, D-Jackson, suggested that as many as 10 districts could fall into the red in the coming months without the state's help.

As economy booms, China faces major water shortage

The source of the water predicament is China's own economic success. A bigger economy means more factories and power plants, all prodigious users of water for processing and cooling. Big cities are getting bigger, using more drinking, shower and sewage water. People are eating better, and growing more food requires more water.

IRS, DOJ use social media sites to track deadbeats, criminal activity

The 38-page IRS training document posted on the EFF Web site provides detailed tips to agents on how to conduct searches, locate relevant taxpayer information, narrow down and refine results, and save multiple Web pages using Adobe's Web capture feature. Among the social media applications mentioned are Google Groups, FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and Second Life.

IRS Comes Knocking … for Four Cents

CBS) With tax season reaching its peak, the IRS is looking for every cent it's owed … literally. A Sacramento car wash owner found that out when two representatives from the Internal Revenue Service showed up to collect four cents - four cents - in unpaid taxes. "[They] came into the car wash, handed my manager a bill, and it was from the IRS," Aaron Zeff, the owner of Harv's Metro Car Wash, told CBS station KOVR. "The amount was four cents, four pennies." In truth, after three years of penalties and fees, the four cents actually ballooned to more than $200, but the bill still prompted some laughter.

18 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

"ALBANY -- State income-tax refunds will be delayed by several weeks as the state struggles to manage its cash flow amid growing budget deficits, officials said Tuesday.

The move will save the state about $500 million by delaying income-tax refunds until April 1. The state stopped paying the refunds on Monday.

It means that taxpayers who filed for refunds in late February and early March will have to wait a few extra weeks to get paid, officials said. Usually it takes three to four weeks to process a state tax return; people who filed within that period will have to wait about six weeks."

"City Council did not vote last night on Mr. Bell's proposal to declare "exigent circumstances" to force concessions from city unions without their agreeing to renegotiate terms of their contracts; add an 8 percent sports-and-event tax, increase to $15 the monthly fee for collecting trash, and eliminate the income tax credit for Toledoans who work outside the city."

""Although this is the ninth year we've faced significant budget shortfall, this year is by far the worst," Reed told a City Council auditorium filled to near capacity, noting that the city's expenses are expected to outpace revenues for years to come. The current deficit exceeds the city's budget for parks, libraries and community centers combined."

"City leaders had indicated Monday that they were down to nearly crumbs when it came to their finances, and they were at the point where some huge layoffs had to be done. Their last ditch effort was to get the fire and police pension boards to allow the city to pay the 2010 pensions in 2011.

Asked whether bankruptcy was ever an option for the city, Parks declined to comment."

"March 17 (Bloomberg) -- The European Union cast doubt on some EU governments’ budget-deficit targets, saying countries including Spain, Ireland and France may be basing their budget plans on optimistic growth forecasts.

Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Finland also are using “favorable” economic forecasts to draw up deficit-cutting projections, the European Commission said today in Brussels as it asked several countries for more specifics on how they will bring the shortfalls back within the EU limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product.

The euro area’s budget gap will more than triple in the two years through 2010, according to EU forecasts, after governments pumped billions of euros into their economies to fight the worst recession in six decades. As concerns over Greece’s ability to pay its debts spill over into other markets, the risk premium on Spanish and Portuguese bonds has also surged. "

"The number of city workers in Seattle has remained essentially the same since 2002, but payroll expenses have gone up 40 percent and the amount spent to provide health and dental benefits has nearly doubled.

That's a situation that will vex Mayor Mike McGinn as he tries to find ways to keep the city budget from bleeding red.

Last week McGinn said the operating budget faced a $60 million deficit through 2011. He ordered a comprehensive review to be done by the end of April. The biggest expense by far is salaries and benefits for the approximately 11,000 municipal workers"

"Legislators "found" a lot of money by deciding not to pay a big bill. Instead of $620 million that should have been paid into the Virginia Retirement System, the pension plan for state employees and teachers, they put in an IOU.

Is that the equivalent of the borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund that is so problematic on the national level? The General Assembly didn't take money out of the VRS fund, but by failing to put much of this year's payment in, it's using VRS as a slush fund to make the budget work.

Lawmakers promised that it would be repaid over 10 years with interest. That's the plan, but one legislature can't commit a future legislature"

"Journal State House Bureau

The promises that Rhode Island and its cities and towns have made to their current and future retirees without putting money aside carry a dollar figure that is big enough to buy 345,588 Ford Mustang GTs, 47,000 houses priced at the state median or several hundred of the finest mansions along the state’s coast.

Put another way, the state’s unfunded retirement obligations add up to about $9,400 per Rhode Island resident.

All told, those promises come with a price tag of $9.4 billion — a number revealed for the first time in a report to be released Wednesday by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council."

"According to City Council President Richard Clark, if everything Mayor John Peyton is proposing to help trim the 2010-11 budget is implemented, there will still be a $20 million shortfall.

Much of that shortfall can be attributed to the City’s obligations to its three pension plans — the police, firefighters and general employees.

On Tuesday, Clark and Council Vice President Jack Webb met with members of the Jacksonville Community Council Inc. Finances Steering Committee to talk about the pension plans and what can be done, if anything, to prevent the City from essentially going bankrupt in the next two to three years.

J.F. Bryan IV chaired the committee that also consisted of Jim Rinaman, Jack Diamond, John Anderson, Steve Rankin and Pat Hannan.

“There is no way around it. It’s huge,” said Bryan, adding it would be a mistake to simply rely on what appears to be a slowly recovering stock market to make up the difference in what is owed from the City to the three pension plans. “Ultimately, we have got to get to shared risk so all of the eggs are not in one basket.”

Overall, there is more than $1.3 billion in combined unfunded liability among the three plans. "

"The California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) is the largest public pension system in the country with current assets of about $205 billion. They fund pensions and health plans for retired California state and municipal employees. However, they (and many other public pensions) now face serious financial problems.

Consider these facts. 1) In 2007, CalPERS had assets of $260 billion. That dropped to $160 billion last March and has recovered to $205 billion, still down 22%. But their game plan assumes a return of about 7% a year to keep their funding levels stable. Obviously they are nowhere near that. 2) By law, California public pensions must be funded at 100%. CalPERS has the power to force municipalities to pay more to make up any funding shortfall at CalPERS. You can see the problem. Taxes may rise because CalPERS is mandating others to make up for their losses. Look, most California municipalities now are facing huge budget problems themselves. They don’t have extra money. The only way they can generate more revenue is by raising taxes and fees. Thus, we could well see private taxpayers who may have lost jobs or private pensions being forced to pay higher taxes so retired public workers can get pensions which most anyone would say are quite generous. Clearly, this is political dynamite."

....................10A) Outside consultant issues rosy forecast for CalPERS

"Wilshire Associates said the big pension fund can expect to earn an average annual return of 7.84 percent over the next decade. That's slightly higher than the 7.75 percent forecast CalPERS uses now."

Bank of Japan expands lending to fight deflation

China now largest oil and gas investor in Iraq

China in 'Greatest Bubble in History,' Rickards Says  also  China Must Pare Stimulus to Counter Bubbles, World Bank Says

School closure plan dovetails with Detroit's downsizing effort (45 schools)

Police Commissioner Ray thinks budget cuts could turn back time to 1990 in NYPD (up to 8,047 fewer officers than in the year 2000)

NY tax amnesty comes up way short

Superior Courts To Close 17 Courtrooms, Lay Off 329 Employees (Los Angeles County)

Hawaii excise tax may rise to 5% if move in Legislature succeeds

Secession Proposal Fails, Officials Question Spending (FREDERICK COUNTY, MD)

======================================

Look at the title they are giving to the MSNBC / Dylan Ratigan and Eliot Spitzer videos when posted on youtube:

The Video That Can Put Tim Geithner Behind Bars - Part 1 of 2

The Video That Can Put Tim Geithner Behind Bars - Part 2 of 2

====================================================

Obama: Premiums Will Decrease 3000% So You Should Get A Raise When H'care Is Passed (Video) SurprisedSealed

Canadian Credit Bubble In Pictures (Mish...look at the graphs that he posts)

GrouchoMarxist's picture
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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

Some fresh air from the Bronx...

Gerald Celente (video) anticipating an 'interesting' 2010 ...and the causes of the current crises -

Princeton, Harvard, Yale - Bullets, Bombs & Banks.

Gerald Celente on Lehman's & Wall Street's con. (video)

GrouchIvyLeagueMarxist

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

Anyone catch The Daily Show last night?  It's priceless!  John Stewert pretends he is a corporation, Jonco, ROFL!!

http://www.thedailyshow.com/

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

A quarter of all British adults (excluding those drawing their pensions) are out of work.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/7465199/Quarter-of-adults-out-of...

Crickee. Not good.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

Wow, 25% in UK!  Can we say The Second Great Depression yet?

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

rocketgirl1 wrote:

Wow, 25% in UK!  Can we say The Second Great Depression yet?

Not quite yet but it no doubt is coming to a theatre near us soon!

Coop

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

... because 2012 also is the beginning of a three-year period in which more than $700 billion in risky, high-yield corporate debt begins to come due, an extraordinary surge that some analysts fear could overload the debt markets.

With huge bills about to hit corporations and the federal government around the same time, the worry is that some companies will have trouble getting new loans, spurring defaults and a wave of bankruptcies.

The United States government alone will need to borrow nearly $2 trillion in 2012, to bridge the projected budget deficit for that year and to refinance existing debt.

The apocalyptic talk is not limited to perpetual bears and the rest of the doom-and-gloom crowd.

Even Moody’s, which is known for its sober public statements, is sounding the alarm.

“An avalanche is brewing in 2012 and beyond if companies don’t get out in front of this,” said Kevin Cassidy, a senior credit officer at Moody’s.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/business/16debt.html?src=me&ref=general

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

On Vallejo's crime rate going up after letting go some of the police force.

I am seeing this as a strike action/work slowdown.  We are going to be faced with either bribing the police through either higher wages, or under the table, or having the police give the citizens and non-criminals more trouble.

We are seeing the classic problem of the police and criminal classes aligned against the citizens to keep their respective cultures intact.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17 Water issues

We have a local hydro-engineer neighbor, who is also a Crash Course graduate, who has pointed out that the cast Iron pipes installed in the late 19th century had a 125-150 year life expectancy. The vitreous pipes installed around mid 20th century had a 50-75 year life expectancy. The plastic pipes installed in the late 20th century had about a 25 year life expectancy.

Is it any wonder that water and sewer pipes are bursting across the USA at an average rate of one every two minutes (NYT, 3/15)? No water companies that I know of have done any planning or funding for this multiple end of life scenario across the entire nation, and most still-asleep citizens expect to get water for nearly free. Yet another pressure that is bubbling up to a critical level!

Another hockey stick curve may be in order!

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

John Stewart as Jonco, Inc. was definitely priceless. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!

I wonder if any corporations will sign up for military service. If they are exempt from service, along with the off-spring of the "governing" plutocracy, why should our lower income kids be expected to -- other than that they can't find any jobs anywhere else!

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

Definitely priceless. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!

I wonder if any corporations will sign up for military service. If they are exempt from service, along with the off-spring of the "governing" plutocracy, why should our lower income kids be expected to?

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

Carbon Sale Raises $40 Million

Northeast Initiative, First in Nation, Seeks to Curb Emissions

 

By Robin Shulman

Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NEW YORK, Sept. 29 -- The country's first cap-and-trade auction for greenhouse gas reduction raised nearly $40 million for Northeastern states to spend on renewable energy technologies and energy-efficiency programs, officials of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which ran the auction, said Monday.

==================================================

(Now news from today)

Christie Seeks CO2 Revenue to Close N.J. Budget Gap

March 17 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to use funds from carbon-dioxide-permit auctions in the U.S. Northeast’s cap-and-trade program to help close the state’s $10.7 billion deficit.

Taking $65.2 million from the auctions to help cover the budget gap was one of the necessary “hard choices,” Christie, a Republican, said in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York today.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a 10-state carbon trading program for power plants, sells pollution rights at quarterly auctions. New Jersey has received $64.5 million of the $582 million raised by the regional carbon trading program in the seven auctions held since September 2008.

Last year, New York Governor David Paterson, a Democrat, and state lawmakers used $90 million raised from the sale of carbon-dioxide permits to help shrink a $3.16 billion deficit.

The diversion of funds doesn’t represent “an abandonment of our interest in alternative energy,” Christie said. Money from the auctions has gone to energy efficiency and renewable- power projects.

New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled Legislature will probably approve the decision because there are few alternatives, he said.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

Remember when oil dependence was touted as a great thing:

http://www.archive.org/details/Destinat1956

A classic yarn from the American Petroleum Institute.  Tells us a lot about why we are where we are today.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

Quote:

Don’t you think a high deficit was justified last year when the government had to spend and help the economy revive?
No. They are just trying to push the problems out into the future rather than solving the underlying problems. Do you really think the solution for a problem of too much debt and too much consumption is more debt and more consumption?

Are we not living in extraordinary times when we have to follow such flexible policies?
We are indeed. They are making the problems worse in extraordinary times which require tough measures to correct decades of abuse.

The finance minister rolled back some of the economic-stimulus measures he had announced last year. Would you have preferred to see a complete rollback rather than a partial one?
Yes. And more

Damn........ India seems to be following suit....

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17

I just saw a Marc Faber video where he claimed that India Banks look like a good investment. Also, he praised their central bank as doing a good job in this crisis.  This painted a good picture. But with this article, Rogers points out the economic/debt to GDP ratio as an issue. Not sure if there is a problem there relative to other countries, as I havent' done the comparison. However, as I read the article, I wondered if Rogers was talking about the USA debt and budgeting issues at times. Does India's central bank policy make a difference?

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17 Water issues

This is an issue I work on too.  Waterpipes fail due to many factors. Joint failure, frost heaving, failure of adjacent storm or sanitary sewer that wash out the bedding, corrosive soils.  Lets just talk about useful life.  The first water pipes were sand cast iron.  They were very thick due to the sand casting method.  They were installed up until the early 1900's.  Their expected useful life is about 125 years.  If they were installed 1880 to 1920, failure from 2000 to 2040.  Next came centrifugal cast iron.  Centrifugal casting made for thinner walls.  Thinner walls make for shorter life.  Installed from 1930's to 1960.  Failure, 80-100 years. 2010 through 2060.  Then came ductile iron. Less brittle but still thin. Most suburban water main was installed in two big bursts, as a WPA project in the '30's, and as a part of the rapid suburbinization after WWII in the '50's.  Both were federally funded.  Federal funding for municipal infrastructure has decreased drastically since then, almost non-existant.  Urban watermain was built during the urbanization of America, 1860-1930.

The problem is that in the suburban development, because of single family detached housing and the road frontage of the average suburban lot, 1000 ft of water pipe can only service 10-20 families.  In a dense urban setting with multipe family dwellings, it could service 10 times that.  When all this infrastructure comes up for replacement, we will see if suburban style living is viable in the long term.

I fear that the cost will be too high to keep it all operating, and triage will have to take place.  Developments that are half abandoned or far from the transmission main will have to be shut down and the residents relocated, like what is being proposed for New Orleans now.

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Re: Daily Digest - March 17 Water issues

jadams wrote:

We have a local hydro-engineer neighbor, who is also a Crash Course graduate, who has pointed out that the cast Iron pipes installed in the late 19th century had a 125-150 year life expectancy. The vitreous pipes installed around mid 20th century had a 50-75 year life expectancy. The plastic pipes installed in the late 20th century had about a 25 year life expectancy.

Is it any wonder that water and sewer pipes are bursting across the USA at an average rate of one every two minutes (NYT, 3/15)? No water companies that I know of have done any planning or funding for this multiple end of life scenario across the entire nation, and most still-asleep citizens expect to get water for nearly free. Yet another pressure that is bubbling up to a critical level!

Another hockey stick curve may be in order!

I haven't read the NYT article yet, I'm not sure if that rate of water main breaks is really that significant or an increasing trend; I'll want to research more before making conclusions myself.  Certainly water system maintenance is a continuous effort and becoming more and more costly.

My experience is the biggest driver right now for water main replacement is to increase capacity.  Older mains are usually undersized to handle the flows demanded by an increasing number of household connections and increasing water use household in some communities, plus greater emphasis on meeting fire flow supression standards.  Old cast iron mains not cement lined are often tuberculated inside, greatly reducing hydraulic capacity further.

One of the biggest drivers for sewer main replacement is to reduce infiltration and inflow.  That's the water that leaks into the sewer system from rainstorms and groundwater, and can overwhelm treatment plants in severe storms or result in overflows with reduced or no treatment.  Often making sewer improvements is more cost effective than increasing treatment plant capacity.

As a consultant, I've developed masterplans for many communities which are more proactive than others.  Masterplans identify existing deficiencies, and future supply, treatment, storage, and distribution main needs for the next 20 - 50 years.  Not many other types of organizations make plans out that far I suspect.   The projects are identified and costs estimated; the challenge is finding enough funding to get them done.  Just my firm submitted $100M in applications last year just in NH for the ARRA stimulus funding, but enough money was only available for a fraction of those.  And when the funding assistance does come in, it means the national debt was increased at the federal level. 

Typical  funding programs available today include Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Rural Development (USDA), state and tribal assistance grants (STAG, aka pork spending earmarks) and state revolving loan funds (SRF).

Tom

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Posts: 418
Re: Daily Digest - March 17

While we may not be able to predict the exact time or place of a water or utility disruption I would say the trend is that we will be forced to divert increasing quantities of surplus energy to more frequent disruptions. And of course the human labor will be generally  provided by a decreasing number of public employees.  That should sit well with the unemployed who are at home experiencing the disruption of services.

Meanwhile I heard today that the parking lot at the highway winter closure point here in the Sierras was packed last weekend with snowmobilers out reveling in the fresh snow and good weather. No problems and no worries here, just lots of cheap energy and free time!!   What a paradox.

We truly are living at one of histories unique points in time!

Coop

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