One theme that came up over and over again was that this is a problem reaching far higher into the economic spectrum than we first thought. Many of the more than 100 people we interviewed over the year had incomes of $100,000 or more. These were comfortable families, from outside. Yet, when they opened up their books to us, it became clear how much they needed to stretch to afford health care.
In southwestern Illinois alone, 340 retirees enrolled in five of the state’s largest pension systems have collected at least $1 million in pension benefits during the course of their retirements. Among them, 34 have hit the $2 million mark. And two of those retirees hit the $3 million mark by the end of fiscal year 2018, according to state pension data.
Plans are underfunded by a total of $48.9 billion, the firm estimated. Three plans alone account for 65 percent of all unfunded liabilities, led by the Teamsters’ Central States fund, which is falling short by $22.9 billion. Meanwhile, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federally sponsored insurance backstop for defunct plans, projects that its multiemployer insurance program will run out of money by the end of the 2025 fiscal year, absent reforms.
The California Public Employees Retirement System, covering half of non-federal government employees in California, expects the reform to save $29 billion to $38 billion over 30 years, a small reduction in a $139 billion debt or “unfunded liability” as of June 30, 2017.
Under the law, known as Act 5, the affected new public workers no longer will receive full guaranteed pensions backed by taxpayers and immune to the ups and downs of national and world economies. The law creates two new retirement plans that carry less risk for taxpayers and therefore lower retirement benefits for workers who enroll in them.
If their objective was to stimulate borrowing, the central banks were successful. Before the crisis global debt, excluding financial institutions, was about $US113 trillion ($161 trillion). It is now more than $US186 trillion ($264 trillion). The global total debt-to-GDP ratio has blown out from around 270 per cent of global GDP to about 320 per cent of global GDP.
From 1976 to 1980, just under 1 in 7 American adults, or 15.1 percent, were obese. Now, despite people’s concerted efforts, obesity is at its highest level ever, with about 40 percent of U.S. adults and 18.5 percent of children, considered obese. This is itself an increase of about 30 percent, just since 2000 when roughly 30 percent of American adults were obese.
Michele Dynia, a spokeswoman for the airport, said the airport is uncertain if any sickened passengers drank from the closed fountains, but the fountains have been taken offline out of an abundance of caution. All remain turned off until tests can be completed after the holiday.
When asked if any other people at the airport reported being sick after drinking from the fountains, Dynia said no other passengers were sick.
Beyond birds, other animals such as the vaquita (a dolphin-like porpoise) and the northern white rhino are also near the end.
“Vaquitas are the most endangered of the world’s marine mammals,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. “Less than 30 vaquitas remain in the wild, and entanglement in gill nets is driving the species toward extinction.”
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