The Pension Combine? Illinois’ Public Pension Unfunding Has A Long And Bipartisan History

Link:https://www.forbes.com/sites/ebauer/2022/01/30/the-pension-combine-illinois-public-pension-unfunding-has-a-long-and-bipartisan-history/

Excerpt:

Newcomers to the state of Illinois may find it odd to see the word “bipartisan” show up anywhere in reference to Illinois, but they forget that the state’s history includes jailed governors from both political parties.

….

Nothing especially persuasive emerges from these studies, except for one: “Polarization and Policy: The Politics of Public-Sector Pensions,” by Sarah Anzia and Terry Moe, published in 2017 at Legislative Studies Quarterly.

Their main argument: before the Great Recession, in those states with un/underfunded pensions, both parties were the cause of the underfunding. Simply put, the public at large simply had no interest in pension funding, but was very much interested in a high level of government services and a low level of taxation. There was therefore no incentive for politicians of either side to fund pensions.

….

And a review of the history of Illinois’ pension funding is a case study in how this pre-Great Recession bipartisan pension funding indifference played out. The whole history was outlined in great detail in a 2014 report by Eric Madiar, who at the time served as Chief Legal Counsel to Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton; while the objective of much of his document is to argue a political point, his history lesson is extremely helpful, and starts with a 1917 report by the Illinois Pension Laws Commission lamenting that pension plans were not being funded and calling for the legislature to begin to fund pensions when benefits are earned. Throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s, dire reports were issued by similar commissions, to no avail, with the result that the Illinois constitution of 1970 essentially treated the pension protection clause as an alternative to funding pensions.

….

So there you have it: a century-long legacy of unfunded pensions in Illinois.

Author(s): Elizabeth Bauer

Publication Date: 30 Jan 2022

Publication Site: Forbes

November 14-20, 1921

Link: https://roaring20s.substack.com/p/november-14-1921

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Excerpt:

Historical Fact: Some readers may have a pressing question: What happens to debt, including mortgages, under hyperinflation? In finance, there is a popular quote, “there is no free lunch.” By 1924, Weimar Germany will redenominate and reinstate debt into the brand new Rentenmark after bailing out Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. It’s a messy process and beyond the scope of this publication you’re reading.

Author(s): Tate

Publication Date: 14 Nov 2021

Publication Site: Roaring 20s at substack

HOW TO BELIEVE IN ASTROLOGY

Link:https://www.firstthings.com/article/2021/10/how-to-believe-in-astrology

Excerpt:

Until the eighteenth century, the London Bills of Mortality would frequently list a cause of death as “planet.” This meant that a man had died without apparent cause, but the reason was clear. He had fallen under the influence of an evil star. A planet had killed this man, as directly as if a trillion tons of livid space-rock had come screaming out of the sky to conk him on the head. This is what it means to believe in astrology: accepting that at any moment, the mathematically preordained rhythms of the heavens might simply decide to kill you.

Author(s): Sam Kriss

Publication Date: October 2021

Publication Site: First Things

How Jefferson and Franklin Helped End Smallpox in America

Link:https://www.governing.com/context/how-jefferson-and-franklin-helped-end-smallpox-in-america.html

Excerpt:

In the new world, inoculation had a very rough reception. When John Dalgleish and Archibald Campbell began inoculating individuals in Norfolk, Virginia, an angry mob burned down Campbell’s house. Similar incidents occurred in Salem and Marblehead, Mass. In Charleston, S.C., an inoculation control law of 1738 imposed a fine of £500 on anyone providing or receiving inoculation within two miles of the city. A similar law was passed in New York City in 1747. 

The measures in New England were so draconian that Benjamin Waterhouse noted the paradox: “New England, the most democratical region on the face of the earth voluntarily submitted to more restrictions and abridgements of liberty, to secure themselves against that terrific scourge, than any absolute monarch could have enforced.” (This, strangely prescient, anticipates the current debate about liberty versus public health). It was in the middle colonies — Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey — that inoculation was most tolerated in the second half of the 18th century. That’s why Jefferson made the long journey to Philadelphia to be inoculated in 1766. 

Jefferson first became aware of the discovery of a true smallpox vaccine from the newspapers he read in Philadelphia and the new capitol in Washington, D.C. Then, on Dec. 1, 1800, just after Jefferson’s election to the presidency, Benjamin Waterhouse sent him his pamphlet on the vaccine with a lovely cover letter saying that he regarded Jefferson as “one of our most distinguished patriots and philosophers.” Jefferson responded immediately, thanking Waterhouse for the publication and declaring, with his usual grace, that “every friend of humanity must look with pleasure on this discovery, by which one evil the [more] is withdrawn from the condition of man: and contemplating the possibility that future improvements & discoveries, may still more & more lessen the catalogue of evils. in this line of proceeding you deserve well of your [country?] and I pray you to accept my portion of the tribute due you.” 

Author(s): Clay Jenkinson, Editor-at-Large

Publication Date: 29 April 2020

Publication Site: Governing

How Malaria Brought Down Great Empires

Link:https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-malaria-brought-down-great-empires-11634320669

Excerpt:

Malaria could stop an army in its tracks. In 413 BC, at the height of the disastrous Sicilian Expedition, malaria sucked the life out of the Athenian army as it lay siege to Syracuse. Athens never recovered from its losses and fell to the Spartans in 404 BC.

But while malaria helped to destroy the Athenians, it provided the Roman Republic with a natural barrier against invaders. The infested Pontine Marshes south of Rome enabled successive generations of Romans to conquer North Africa, the Middle East and Europe with some assurance they wouldn’t lose their own homeland. Thus, the spread of classical civilization was carried on the wings of the mosquito. In the 5th century, though, the blessing became a curse as the disease robbed the Roman Empire of its manpower.

Throughout the medieval era, malaria checked the territorial ambitions of kings and emperors. The greatest beneficiary was Africa, where endemic malaria was deadly to would-be colonizers. The conquistadors suffered no such handicap in the New World.

Author(s): Amanda Foreman

Publication Date: 15 Oct 2021

Publication Site: WSJ

October 17-23, 1921

Link:https://roaring20s.substack.com/p/october-17-1921

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Excerpt:

The prominent German industrialist Hugo Stinnes suggests a fringe dictatorship might seize power because the poorly drawn up armistice extracts too great a toll on the Teutonic nation. He reckons that one of the infant right wing parties could take power some day. Whatever the case, trouble is brewing.

Author(s): Tate

Publication Date: 17 Oct 2021

Publication Site: Roaring 20s

The Black Mortality Gap, and a Century-Old Document

Link:https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/08/30/the-black-mortality-gap-and-a-century-old-document

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Excerpt:

Black Americans die at higher rates than White Americans at nearly every age.

In 2019, the most recent year with available mortality data, there were over 62,000 such earlier deaths — or one out of every five African American deaths.

The age group most affected by the inequality was infants. Black babies were more than twice as likely as White babies to die before their first birthday.

The overall mortality disparity has existed for centuriesRacism drives some of the key social determinants of health, like lower levels of income and generational wealth; less access to healthy foodwater and public spaces; environmental damageoverpolicing and disproportionate incarceration; and the stresses of prolonged discrimination.

But the health care system also plays a part in this disparity.

Author(s): Anna Flagg

Publication Date: 30 Aug 2021

Publication Site: The Marshall Project

The Downton Abbey effect: British aristocratic matches with American business heiresses in the late 19th century

Link: https://voxeu.org/article/downton-abbey-effect-british-aristocrats-american-brides

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The premise of my recent paper (Taylor 2021) is that the rapid decline in British agricultural prices in the last quarter of the 19th century, which shrank not only the income of aristocratic landed estates but also the income of ‘commoner’ (i.e. non-aristocratic) families who owned land, led to a significant proportion of male aristocrats marrying American heiresses with rich dowries as substitutes for the traditional source – namely, brides from British families with landed estates but no titles. 

British agricultural prices began their drop in the mid-1870s for several reasons, from the development of US railroads and prairies to the advent of steamships, all of which led to the UK market being flooded with cheap prairie wheat. Meanwhile, in the US, high society shunned the families of the newly rich businessmen making their fortunes during the Gilded Age. East Coast high society was the jealously guarded preserve of families who could trace their ancestry back to the earliest Dutch or English settlers, and who socially ostracised the nouveau riche business magnates and their families. So, what were these newly rich families to do? They married into the British aristocracy as a means of establishing a social pedigree, whatever the cost.

…..

Figure 1 shows the percentage of marriages between British aristocrats and non-aristocrats (‘out-marriages’) for British males born in 20-year cohorts between 1700 and 1899, as well as the 20-year average real price of wheat in London 33 years later (33 being the average age at which British aristocrats married during the 18th and 19th centuries). The positive correlation between the decline in the price of wheat and the percentage of brides from landed families marrying into the aristocracy is striking, as is the rise in the percentage of ‘out-marriages’ to foreigners as wheat prices fell.

Link to paper: https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16209

Author(s): Mark Taylor

Publication Date: 5 September 2021

Publication Site: Vox EU

August 29-September 4, 1921

Link: https://roaring20s.substack.com/p/august-29-1921

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Excerpt:

Pundits, observers, and investors believe the 1920s will be a slow growth decade. High taxes, heavy regulations, wage pressures are the main culprits. (Author note: the consensus in 1921 was incredibly bearish and incorrectly predicted a slow growth decade; the polar opposite consensus circulates today) This editorial cartoon sums up the mood in 1921:

Author(s): Tate

Publication Date: 29 August 2021

Publication Site: Roaring 20s at substack

Edmond Halley’s Life Table and Its Uses

Link: https://fac.comtech.depaul.edu/jciecka/Halley.pdf

Formal citation: James E. Ciecka. 2008. Edmond Halley’s Life Table and Its Uses. Journal of Legal
Economics
15(1): pp. 65-74.

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Halley obtained demographic data for Breslau, a city in Silesia which is now the Polish city Wroclaw. Breslau kept detailed records of births, deaths, and the ages of people when they died. In comparison, when John Graunt (1620-1674) published his famous demographic work (1662), ages of deceased people were not recorded in London and would not be recorded until the 18th century.


Caspar Neumann, an important German minister in Breslau, sent some demographic records to Gottfried Leibniz who in turn sent them to the Royal Society in London. Halley analyzed Newmann’s data which covered the years 1687-1691 and published the analysis in the Philosophical Transactions. Although Halley had broad interests, demography and actuarial science were quite far afield from his main areas of study. Hald (2003) has speculated that Halley himself analyzed these data because, as the editor of the Philosophical Transactions, he
was concerned about the Transactions publishing an adequate number of quality papers. 2 Apparently, by doing the work himself, he ensured that one more high quality paper would be published.

Author(s): James E. Ciecka

Publication Date: 2008 [accessed June 2021]

Publication Site: DePaul University

St. Francis Dam Disaster – Frank Black and the Catholics

Description:

It’s not just a song, it’s a history lesson!

St. Francis Dam Disaster by Frank Black and the Catholics off of the album Dog in the Sand (2001 Cooking Vinyl)

Many of the pictures were culled from https://scvhistory.com/scvhistory/stfrancis.htm

They have a lot of info on the St. Francis Dam disaster and it’s worth checking out if you want to see more.

Image:

Author(s): Skippy .Bob

Publication Date: 1 December 2013

Publication Site: YouTube