Pension Obligation Bonds

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/pension-obligation-bonds#details

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2015: Why are Pension Obligation Bonds OF THE DEVIL? A Lesson from the Dollar Auction  

http://stump.marypat.org/article/191/why-are-pension-obligation-bonds-of-the-devil-a-lesson-from-the-dollar-auction

The dollar auction is a truly evil game. I used to forbid people from playing it at Mathcamp. That’s not a joke.

I had a really ugly graph on that post, and yes, I’ve gotten better with the graphs over the years. The ugliness of that graph was a partial inspiration to seek solutions. (Other ugly graphs as well).

You can barely see it, but there was a POB between 2003 and 2005. It barely made a dent in the unfunded pension liability.

And what then? In the ten years since 2005, Illinois underfunded the TRS pension fund by at least a billion dollars a year.

With regards to contributions, there was a choice on the part of the “government”.

With regards to all the other reasons for shortfalls — investment experience, experience in salary changes and longevity — the government had less direct control. But they definitely had a choice with regards to how much of the budget to apply to the pensions.

And every damn year, the Illinois government made a conscious decision to shortchange the pension. That was not an accident.

POBs are most often used by governments that were shortchanging the pensions, or goosing the benefits in insane and seemingly sane ways, to paper over said shortchanging. This farce lasts only so long.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 20 Jun 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Childhood Mortality Trends, 1999-2021 (provisional), Ages 1-17

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/childhood-mortality-trends-1999-2021

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There was the good news from before the pandemic: the accidental death rate had come way, way down. That was mostly due to improved traffic safety. (Not reduced drug ODs, alas)

In the pandemic, both increased motor vehicle deaths and drug overdoses has pushed up the accidental death rate for teens to increase to levels seen a decade ago.

But there was a bad pre-pandemic trend: suicide rates had increased from 2007 to 2018 — increasing a total of 120% over that period. That was hideous.

It seemed to have reversed in 2019, and come down during the pandemic. The suicide trends in the pandemic really made no sense to anybody, but perhaps the increased drug ODs were actually suicides.

Homicides didn’t have a steady trend before the pandemic, but has definitely had a bad trend during the pandemic. Homicide death rates for teens increased over 50% from 2019 to 2021.

One observation: suicide and homicide death rates used to be about the same for teens in the early 2000s, and then with the bad suicide trend, suicide ranked higher. Even with the increase in homicide rates, suicide still ranks higher.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 15 June 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Fewer than 4000 people just approved boosting Providence Rhode Island liabilities by $515 million

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/fewer-than-4000-people-just-approved?s=w

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Yes, for over five years now, they’ve been contribution more than 50% of payroll to the pension plan as the full contribution to the pensions.

In the past, they mostly contributed the full requirement, though in some years they didn’t. The requirement used to be less than 50%, but when you short the fund, and when you underperform on investments (which we will see in a bit), that’s expected, right?

So let’s see how the funded ratio has been doing — for all these full payments, the funded ratio must be healthy, correct? [if you didn’t read my excerpts above]

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 10 June 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

U.S. Mortality Trends Through the Pandemic

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/us-mortality-trends-through-the-pandemic?s=w

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I discuss this in the portion of the talk about death rates by age group.

For 2021, the worst relative increase in mortality, compared to 2019, was for ages 30-44.

[I have called it the Millennial Massacre, but it obviously overlaps with Gen X…. and Middle Age Massacre doesn’t exactly work, either. Dang the allure of alliteration].

We will see in a moment that most of that mortality increase didn’t come from COVID.

If you look at overall mortality, obviously total mortality for this age group is much lower than for those much older.

A 5% increase in mortality for those aged 85+ will translate to a much larger number of deaths, but a 50% increase in mortality for those aged 40-44 is extremely worrisome to actuaries and insurers even if the absolute number of deaths is lower in impact. We’re setting reserves and expectations based on certain assumptions, and we’re generally not assuming fluctuations of 50% — that’s just nuts compared to our historical experience…..

…..until now.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 20 May 2022

Publication Site: STUMP on substack

All Men Must Die, But They Don’t Have to Die in Office

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/all-men-must-die-but-they-dont-have?s=w

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What’s interesting about the Senate age distribution is that though we have some difference in the lumpiness, when I look at the average age of the senators by party, they’re basically the same: 64 years old (and some change). On the younger end of the Boomers.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 29 April 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Preliminary results for 2021 All-Cause U.S. Mortality: 21% More Deaths than 2019, 2% More Deaths than 2020

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/preliminary-results-for-2021-all?s=w

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As you can see from the annotation on the graph, so far there have been 2% more deaths reported in 2021 compared to 2020. You can see that there had been a spike of deaths at the beginning of 2021, then a quiet spring/early summer. I did not extend my graph into 2022, but the heightened mortality of later/summer fall into winter has continued into winter at the beginning of 2022.

For the record, the 1% increase in deaths from 2018 to 2019 was pretty common before, driven by regular growth of the aging population of the U.S.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 3 April 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Death the Dickensian Way

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/death-the-dickensian-way?s=w

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As you can see, Bleak House is the dying-est novels for named characters.

Obviously, if you really go by what was going on in the novel in general, A Tale of Two Cities, which has a huge part of its action take place in the middle of The Terror, really was set in the most murderous time.

Looking at this body count, I’d say Bleak House is the one that comes closest to accurate Victorian UK mortality. It was brutal, y’all.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 16 Mar 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Mortality Monday: DEATH TO GEESE

Link: https://stump.marypat.org/article/766/mortality-monday-death-to-geese

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ANIMAL ENCOUNTER DIAGNOSES

Going back to the mortality database from the U.S. in 2014, I needed to figure out what the relevant ICD-10 codes were.

….

That’s a total of 384 deaths, and it looks like the primary cause is being attacked by some non-dog mammal. I would assume the second cause is primarily people being thrown from or falling off horses. Alas, most of the vehicular accident codes do not distinguish between hitting a person and hitting an animal.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 3 July 2017

Publication Site: STUMP

Mortality Angle of the Russian/Ukrainian Conflict: Bad Even Before Pandemic

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-angle-of-the-russianukrainian?s=w

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It may not be fair to throw Finland in there, but if the excuse is hard-drinking and being northerly, Finland has that in excess, and they are beating all those other countries in life expectancy. So that’s not the difference.

Note that all the ex-Soviet states except Russia and Ukraine also had the post-USSR fall from 1989-1994… but started their mortality improvement in 1994, as opposed to a decade later.

Poland started doing well the moment communism went away. Isn’t that interesting?

But I want to note that Ukraine and Russia are lagging the comparable countries hugely. To be sure, Russia is huge, and includes Siberia, which is not the most congenial of locations. But Ukraine doesn’t have the excuse of Siberia.

Both places, in short, suck when it comes to mortality.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 27 Feb 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Motor Vehicle Accident Deaths, Part 2: Age-Related Trends with Provisional Results in 2021

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/motor-vehicle-accident-deaths-part?s=w

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The rates are per 100,000 people for the year, but the point is who has the highest, and we see that the answer is:

For 2019: age 85+

For 2020: age 20-24

I threw in the age 15-19 group as ringers, by the way. When we get to all the age groups, they’re not even #4 in the ranking.

Just in that little table, you can see that the rates went up for the youngsters and dropped for the seniors. Think about why that might be.

As noted in my polling question, I’m not adjusting for the number of miles driven, and I’m not going to dig for that data now. But would you like to make some assumptions about the driving habits of these different groups? Especially during the pandemic?

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 2 March 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Mortality Angle of the Russian/Ukrainian Conflict: Bad Even Before Pandemic

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/mortality-angle-of-the-russianukrainian?utm_source=url

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These are awful trends. There’s nothing to caveat. Yes, Ukraine’s life expectancy is a little bit higher, but these numbers are awful, and yes, there was a cratering of male life expectancy after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I will note that there was a general slide from the early 1960s until the early 1980s… a run-up for some reason (falsifying data?), and then absolute cratering. That’s just hideous.

Dropping about 5 years over a 5-year period is a horrible decrease.

There has been a recovery since 2004, but that life expectancy is still very low compared to other European countries, even other Eastern European countries, as we’ll see below.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 27 Feb 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack

Geography of Mortality: State Ranking by Increase in Total Mortality and COVID Mortality, 2020-2021, Provisional

Link: https://marypatcampbell.substack.com/p/geography-of-mortality-state-ranking

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With this tile grid map, we can see that the two-year mortality experience has been horrible, even on an age-adjusted basis. I will be using age-adjusted death rates [using the standard 2000-reference-age-adjustment] for all the comparisons. The methodology is at the end of the post.

I warn against taking any meaning from North Carolina, as it has a data-reporting problem. Hawaii, however, really does have a low increase in mortality, and I believe it is credible that the mortality increase of the northeast is also low. I am not sure how credibly to take the increase in mortality of Wyoming, given its relatively small population.

However, we can see some patterns. In general, one has a “hot spot”, and then the increase falls off as you retreat from that peak. The large pattern is the high increase along the southern border — Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mississippi — and then the next layer above is less bad, and so forth. There is the Wyoming peak, falls off around there. There is the midwest cluster – Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio. And then New York/New Jersey.

As well we know, the excess mortality is driven primarily by COVID, which I will get to in the next major section, but let me share some ranking tables.

Author(s): Mary Pat Campbell

Publication Date: 23 Feb 2022

Publication Site: STUMP at substack