Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 5/17 - Common Retirement-Ruining Myths, Blueprint for a Better Human Body

Sunday, May 17, 2015, 11:37 AM

Economy

How Wall Street Is Fighting to Rip Off Your Retirement Money (Jason B.)

The Department of Labor is scheduled to advance the “fiduciary rule,” which would legally require advisers who offer individual investment advice for a fee to act in their clients’ best interest. Right now, they are subject to a lower “suitability” standard, where the broker must reasonably believe the recommendation is suitable for their client. This standard is vague and easily gamed by the industry. The new proposal would be the first update to the rule in 40 years and would finally cover employment-based retirement accounts like 401(k)s, which didn’t exist in 1975.

7 common myths that can ruin your retirement (Jason B.)

Lots of pre-retirees plan on trading in the family home for a condo or apartment and living off of the additional equity. That’ a great plan, but in many cases, the savings don’t pan out. Retirees tend to sell their older homes for newer apartments with more modern amenities—such units tend to cost more, which eats away at the potential savings.

Use privacy software if you want to be safe from Facebook, warns watchdog (jdargis)

The authority has recommended that Facebook alter the way the plugins work, that websites put in extra protections for their visitors when plugins are present, and that the general public use privacy software that will circumvent the problem completely. The latter recommendation suggests the BPC has little trust in Facebook changing its operations any time soon.

America's premier rail superhighway is slowly falling apart (Jason B.)

The wreck closed part of the corridor all week. On a normal weekday, 2,000 trains run by Amtrak and eight other passenger rail systems carry 750,000 riders on railway between Washington and Boston, making it a vital link for both intercity travelers and suburban commuters.

Federal investigators will take months to determine the cause of the crash. Speed, not equipment failure, has emerged as a key factor.

Amtrak, After Derailment, Told to Expand Automatic Brake Use (jdargis)

This system is already in place on the southbound tracks on the site where the tracks occurred, a rail yard northeast of Center City Philadelphia called Frankford Junction. A federal official familiar with the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was in place on one track and not the other because southbound trains were required to make a more dramatic deceleration on the curve there than north bound trains were.

Millennials Are Ditching College and Heading Back to the Workplace (jdargis)

More potential college students are favoring the short-term benefits of a job, rather than the long-term returns of college, said Jason DeWitt, the center’s manager of research services. “If someone has bills to pay, they may not have a choice in the matter,” he said.

Blueprint for a Better Human Body (jdargis)

What was once an industry bent on replicating the human body exactly, the world of prosthetics has started thinking more creatively about what the human body can be. As technology advances, as engineers start to borrow ideas and designs not just from human biology but from elsewhere, and as prosthetics become less stigmatized, there are all sorts of options opening up. The human body, and what people consider the “normal” human body, can be a whole lot more than what’s biologically possible.

Brown’s Arid California, Thanks Partly to His Father (jdargis)

The stark challenge that confronts this state is putting a spotlight on a father and son who, as much as any two people, define modern-day California. They are strikingly different symbols of different eras, with divergent styles and distinct views of government, growth and the nature of California itself.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 5/15/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

2 Comments

Time2help's picture
Time2help
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 9 2011
Posts: 2832
Washington State Drought
thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1615
New Camden, NJ police force struggling

File this one under "There's no free lunch," or "There's not even a 33% off lunch sale."

By way of review, back in 2012-13 the completely insolvent city of Camden, NJ couldn't afford it's largest expense: the police department.  The kind of savings the City needed could never be hoped for by nibbling at the union contract.  So Camden basically disbanded it's police department (and rid itself of the union contract) and then invited it's officers to join the new COUNTY police force (with a shiny, new contract that saved over 33%) that would patrol Camden city and any other county towns that wanted to join in (none, it turns out).  The new county force slashed salaries and benefits at least 33%, brought in new leadership, and set about creating a new, modern police department for one of the highest crime cities in the country.  If Camden could achieve the hoped-for savings, cities all over the country would be dying to try the same drastic maneuver.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/nyregion/07camden.html

and 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/nyregion/overrun-by-crime-camden-trades-in-its-police-force.html?_r=1

Things aren't working out so well.  At first, serious violent crime did start to decline and community appreciation of the police did start to drift upward.  But now, both stats are going in the opposite directions and Camden officers are fleeing the department so fast it looks like a bank run.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20150517_Camden_County_Police_Department_struggling_to_keep_officers.html

The Camden County Police Department, even as it has received praise for reducing violent crime in the city of Camden, has struggled to retain officers since it was formed two years ago.

Nearly 120 officers - including large swaths of recruiting classes - have resigned or retired, making the department's turnover one of the highest in the state.

The attrition threatens to be an obstacle for the county-run force in its quest to build a strong relationship between officers and residents. President Obama is expected to discuss that relationship Monday when he visits Camden.

Police officials outside the city say that high turnover can make a department prone to mistakes, and that it limits the ability of officers to connect with residents...

The number of officers - not including recruits in the current class at the police academy - stands at 359. If no other officers resign or retire before the class graduates, the overall number of officers will increase to nearly 400. The department's ultimate goal is 411.

An analysis of the resignations shows that the average tenure of the officers who left was less than a year.

Of the 117 the county cited as departing, 27 retired and 90 resigned.

In Paterson, N.J., with a department of similar size to Camden, 15 officers resigned in the last two years. The Jersey City, N.J., department, double the size of Camden, says it had two. Atlantic City's department says it had none.

Officers who resign can take up to a year to replace...

One former officer, who spent about a year in Camden before transferring to another department in New Jersey, said officers were written up for minor offenses such as forgetting to wear a hat or to salute a lieutenant while on foot patrol.

The officers' complaints mirror those of some residents, who have voiced concerns about being ticketed for petty offenses such as riding a bicycle without a bell and loitering on street corners.

According to an individual familiar with the discipline process, each write-up goes into an officer's personnel file, and can eventually lead to more serious discipline.

The former officer who left after about a year described working 16-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to almost midnight, and then being told to return in the early morning the next day.

"I was exhausted," said the former officer, who asked not to be named because he said he didn't want Camden officials coming after him at his new job. "Sometimes, honestly, I kind of wanted to sleep in the police parking lot."

Other former Camden officers have transferred to departments in the vicinity of Camden, such as Gloucester City and Haddonfield. Those officers either did not return calls or declined to comment.

One potential disincentive may be pay, the former officer indicated, saying that he started at an amount several thousand less than what he was initially promised.

The starting salary on the Camden force, $31,407, is far lower than in some nearby towns, such as Pennsauken, where it is $47,000.

If you read the whole article, you'll see the author elicits a variety of views about the causes of the flood of officers leaving the department, most of which are just PR.  The officers themselves cite a strict, punitive supervisory style, exhaustion, and low pay.  Personally, I'd say the exhaustion issue is not just the long hours but the constant stress during those long hours and the exposure to serious trauma on a daily basis.  Reading between the lines, it also appears the officers are being pressured by their top brass and political leaders to raise revenue for the city by writing a lot of tickets for minor offenses like riding a bicycle without a bell or horn, and loitering on corners.  (That reminds me of Ferguson and Baltimore.) 

Frankly, it appears to be a lose-lose situation.  It is not reasonable to expect anyone to work their fingers to the bone in Camden for $31,407 where they are required to have the compassion of a social worker, the heart of a warrior, the endurance of a marathon runner, and the wisdom of Solomon.  No reasonable leader would ask that of people and not realize their employees were going to become ragged, mean and prone to serious mistakes (which will cost lives - police and civilians - and millions of $ in civil suits).

I wish I could think of a solution.  The future there is quite gloomy.

 

 

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