Illinois missed the September deadline to repay a $4.2 billion federal unemployment loan. Employers warn inaction by state lawmakers could ‘cripple’ businesses and the COVID-19 economic recovery.
Illinois state leaders missed the Sept. 6 deadline to repay a $4.2 billion federal loan to the state’s unemployment insurance fund, which leaves Illinois taxpayers on the hook to pay $60 million in annual interest on that loan.
The unemployment fund has been depleted during the COVID-19 economic downturn. Between the loan and failure of state leaders to replenish the fund, potentially by using federal COVID-19 bailout funds, the deficit stands at $5.8 billion.
Business leaders warn a failure to repay the debt would result in automatic tax hikes on Illinois’ employers starting at $500 million, further waylaying the state’s stagnant job recovery. There would also be automatic benefit cuts of the same amount. Employers could be subjected to further, discretionary tax hikes by the state legislature if those automatic solvency measures fail to fill the hole.
Author(s): Adam Schuster, Patrick Andriesen, Perry Zhao
The Garden State Initiative released a report on the state of New Jersey finances. You have heard it all before but what keeps being left out of these ivory tower pronouncements is the systemic corruption at all levels and in all corners of officialdom here that makes even the slightest improvement in our general fiscal situation a pipe dream. Here are some excerpts along with a few charts on the pension system, the last of which makes my point. ….. Focus on that last chart. Liabilities actually decreased over the last two years. Significantly decreased against all logic and reason. Did everybody take a pay cut? Did 30% of plan participants disappear? No. The actuaries just got told to lower liability values and like dutiful apparatchiks they complied.
NJ’s revenue is being produced by higher rates on a smaller tax base: New Jersey needs to ensure that the outmigration of high-income residents does not continue. Between 2008 and 2017, New Jersey experienced growth in the number of tax filers of 4.2%; however, growth in those making $500,000 or more annually was only 2.5% during the same time.
NJ’s public spending is growing faster than inflation, our population or job creation: Our state will continue to see specific needs increase, especially in public health, health insurance, and public safety. New Jersey already taxes residents and businesses more than most other states. The problem is not too little revenue; rather, it is that the state’s spending is growing at a faster pace than inflation and the state’s population
The cost of NJ’s public workforce retirement and healthcare is the key driver of escalating spending and taxes: What New Jersey owes employees and retirees is growing significantly faster than the underlying economy that must support this liability. This is not sustainable. Pension liabilities are growing faster than assets
Previously, the largest one-year increase in total number of murders was 1,938 in 1990. The F.B.I. data shows almost 5,000 more murders last year than in 2019, for a total of around 21,500 (still below the particularly violent era of the early 1990s).
The reasons for the rise may never be fully sorted out, but analysts have pointed to many possible contributing factors, including various pandemic stresses; increased distrust between the police and the public after the murder of George Floyd, including a pullback by the police in response to criticism; and increased firearm carrying.
About 77 percent of reported murders in 2020 were committed with a firearm, the highest share ever reported, up from 67 percent a decade ago.
The change in murder was widespread — a national phenomenon and not a regional one. Murder rose over 35 percent in cities with populations over 250,000 that reported full data.
Europe has pushed ahead of the U.S. in vaccinating its citizens and has experienced a summer of relatively subdued Covid-19 caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths, despite the spread of the Delta variant.
Deaths from Covid-19 in the European Union averaged around 525 over the seven days through Tuesday and around 140 in the U.K. In January, daily deaths peaked at 3,500 in the EU and around 1,200 in the U.K., according to national data compiled by the University of Oxford’s Our World in Data project.
Adjusted for population, EU deaths equate to around 1.2 per million a day, and U.K. deaths to 2.1 per million. That compares with 6.1 per million currently in the U.S.
The difference reflects wider vaccine coverage, especially of older and high-risk groups. The 27 countries of the EU have fully vaccinated 61% of the bloc’s 448 million population, compared with 55% in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its EU counterpart. Big EU nations picked up the vaccination pace after a slow start this year. France has fully vaccinated 67% of its population, Germany 63% and Italy 66%. The U.K., which left the EU in 2020, has fully vaccinated 66% of its residents.
Author(s): Jason Douglas in London, Erin Delmore in Berlin and Eric Sylvers in Milan
Illustrated below is the evolution of life expectancy at birth for seven Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries: Canada, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Across the seven countries, male life expectancy at birth ranged from 64.8 years to 68.2 years in 1960, and 69.8 years to 81.1 years in 2017, demonstrating an increase in the inequality of life expectancy of almost eight years between these countries over the period. For females, the increase was approximately four years. The inequality in life expectancy is more apparent and unsettling if we consider, for example, developing countries in Africa, averaging a life expectancy of around 63 years in 2019.
Altogether, I believe greater democratization of longevity is achievable with the adoption of health technologies, while ensuring they are accessible and affordable. I am hopeful but I see several challenges ahead. Such a reality will be reliant on governments, health care professionals, and patients’ acceptance and reliance on what the future of health holds. It will also require global partnerships to build out ecosystems that will facilitate inclusive innovation.
The graphic “Settlement Bet” shows options that policyholders have to choose from in the Settlement. The graphic “Settlement Happens??” shows the consequences of the “Settlement Bets” if the Settlement happens or not.
Policyholders not wanting to terminate their CalPERS policies will select not to participate (“opt out”) in the Settlement (as participation will end policyholders’ policies if the Settlement is approved).
Policyholders whose preference in light of announced rate increases would be to terminate because of the new CalPERS rate increases can be divided into two groups in light of the Settlement options: (1) those that wish simply to terminate and stop paying premiums; and (2) those who wish to terminate but are prepared to gamble with CalPERS to get a refund.
In making these choices, all policyholders are being forced to gamble a lot of money. Why the Settlement is structured as a gamble is unclear, but it is. That seems incredibly unfair to policyholders who can ill afford more financial losses after their losses already caused by CalPERS LTC.
A new report shows Illinois holds 30% of the nation’s pension obligation bond debt.
A pension obligation bond is a form of debt that some states use to make payments to state-run pension funds. A pension obligation bond gets paid out by a third party and the state then pays back that loan with interest. Financial experts often advise against the use of pension obligation bonds, said Adam Schuster of the Illinois Policy Institute.
The interest on the pension obligation bonds continues to climb and is leaving Illinois in a worse spot than it was previously in. The state has borrowed a total of $17.2 billion since 2003, but repayment cost is now $31 billion. Pension obligation bonds can save taxpayers money if the interest rates on the bonds is lower than the rate of return on the pension investments. If the rate of return drops below the interest rate on the bonds, then taxpayers are on the hook for the difference. This is a strategy that Schuster said is the same as gambling with the state’s money.
Will COVID-19 cases and deaths surge again this winter? The combined just-released results of 9 models applied to four different scenarios at COVID-19 Modeling Hub project that diagnosed cases could—using the projections of the more hopeful models—drop to around 9,000 cases per day by March. The scenarios range from the most hopeful, with childhood COVID-19 vaccinations and no new viral variant, to one with no child vaccinations and a new variant.
University of North Carolina epidemiologist Justin Lessler, who helps run the hub, tells NPR that the most likely scenario is that children do get vaccinated and no super-spreading variant emerges.
The good news is that about 55 percent of all Americans (181 million) are now fully vaccinated (64 percent of those age 12 and up). Given that unreported COVID-19 cases are generally thought to be considerably higher than the 42 million diagnosed cases, that suggests perhaps around 100 million Americans have developed natural immunity to the virus.
BLUF is a military communications acronym—it stands for “bottom line up front”—that’s designed to enforce speed and clarity in reports and emails.
The basic idea is simple: put the most important details first. Don’t tease or delay your main point because people are busy and their time is valuable. And make it clear—life-or-death decisions could be made using your information.
Moshe Milevsky claims that someone could be up to 20 years younger biologically than their chronological age, and that biological age is a much be a better way of determining a person’s longevity. If this is true, is there a way that organizations that specialize in longevity and/or mortality and that use mathematical calculations in order to determine risk could use biological age instead of chronological age to predict future health and longevity?
There are two methods used to calculate biological age, coined by Milevsky as the “living” methodology or the “dying” methodology a.k.a. the mortality-adjusted approach.
Both methods begin with the collection of data. A researcher would first gather data from a large group of people at a wide range of ages, collecting biological samples and measurements in order to record various physiological and molecular variables (such as heart rate, blood pressure, mutations of DNA, or the presence of certain proteins in the blood). Researchers may also collect data on variables that they believe will be correlated with enhancement or deterioration of a person’s physiological condition, such as their wealth, occupation or even their appearance or number of Facebook friends!
So, period life expectancy dropped about 12 – 13% in 1918 in the U.S., mainly due to the Spanish flu, because there was an outsized effect from young adults being the main group killed by the disease (also, period life expectancy was relatively short — under 60 years!). That was a drop of about 7 years.
But life expectancy dropped only about 1 year in 2020 due to COVID impacts, and that was a decrease of less than 3% compared to 2019.
So if you want to compare the effect of the Spanish flu vs. COVID-19 on the U.S. population, all of these rates —- percentage change in period life expectancy, age-adjusted death rates, or even crude death rate — are all more reasonable choices than simply number of people who died.