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Calpers Prepares To LBO California, Or At Least Create The Scariest TBTF Monster Ever Conceived

Tyler Durden's picture


File this one under the category of "creating TBTF Frankensteins" - Reuters has reported that as part of arranging rescue pre-petition financing for the broke state of California, Arnie is now in discussions for a $2 billion loan from Calpers which will help close the state's $19 billion budget deficit by about 8%. Of course, the balance would come from the FHA, or Goldman, both of which will see this as a lucrative mezz-IRR type toehold investment (with no downside, remember - there is no risk if you work for the government or are Goldman) in the world's 7th biggest economy. Of course, we jest about the latter. For now. What is truly ironic is that Calpers itself is in no danger of every being able to fund its own future pension obligations, which means this is merely a way to intertwine Calpers and the state of California, creating the most ridiculous TBTF public-private behemoth ever seen, which would mean that the collapse of either would be promptly preempted with more Federal taxpayer dollars. Well played, Ahhhnold, well played.

From Reuters:

California's $211 billion pension fund for public employees has been speaking with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration about providing it a $2 billion loan to help close the state government's $19 billion budget gap, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

The spokesman for the California Public Employees' Retirement System, best known as Calpers, said the talks about the loan plan, proposed by Schwarzenegger, are informal and that it is uncertain the fund can lend the money.

"We do have significant concerns about legal issues and actuarial soundness issues," the spokesman added.

California's state government is in its 77th day without a budget for its fiscal year that began on July 1 and analysts expect the impasse over a spending plan between Democrats and Republicans in the state capital of Sacramento may last several more weeks.

What is unclear is whether as part of the "efficiency streamlining" operation, Calpers will also follow California's example and issue IOUs to its millions of pensioners.


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Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:33 | 585721 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

its a competition with IL


who can suck the most

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:37 | 585741 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

lets just ignore this and listen to sue the herra tell us the economy is improving - what do you think abby

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 21:15 | 586895 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

You know, I keep wondering what could possibly be Gonzalo's hyperinflation catalyst. There's something out there, but I just can't put my finger on it...

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:33 | 585723 Fritz
Fritz's picture

If the squid is involved, you can bet somebody (taxpayers?) will be getting screwed bigtime.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:23 | 586361 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Lloyd & Jamie  =  Fraud

Where there is squid, there is fraud. Who could junk you for that?

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:34 | 585724 carbonmutant
carbonmutant's picture

"We do have significant concerns about legal issues and actuarial soundness issues"

Calpers is  concerned about actuarial soundness. That's news


Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:20 | 586351 Fox Moulder
Fox Moulder's picture

They should consult Bernanke, Geithner, Bush, Obama etc about how to ignore the legal issues.

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 01:11 | 587212 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

I read an article at The Weekly Standard, stating that Calpers is veering into more risky, higher-yielding investments to make up lost ground -- doing a swan dive from the edge of the frying pan into the flames!

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:33 | 585725 D-Falt
D-Falt's picture

<i>"We do have significant concerns about legal issues and actuarial soundness issues," the spokesman added.</i>


While more long-winded and dilatory a response, it was far more socially acceptable than "WTFF"

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:40 | 585734 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

In similar Frankenstein news, the Social Security Trust Fund has already been lending money to the US treasury, by buying assloads of US Treasuries.  Let's be honest; your social security withholding is nothing more than a tax to pay interest on the debt. 

Social Security TRUST Fund.  LOL...TRUST!

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:08 | 585832 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Like a hopelessly interconnected Rube Goldberg contraption that springs from the mind of the insane, this house of cards is becoming increasingly unstable, dangerously so I might say.

If there ever were serious questions of systemic failure in the very near future, we seem to have put that to rest as of now.

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 01:13 | 587214 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Reminds me of those buildings roped together in Idiocracy! :~D

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 05:26 | 587368 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture

so CD, when does the US gov learn from this great idea and maybe borrow from some federal retirement plan, like say, SS. oops...

but really, when do they actually go through with the rumored forcing of 401ks and IRAs to be invested in treasuries, etc. ? - same thing as CA borrowing from CalPers, etc.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:07 | 586314 NumberNone
NumberNone's picture

Bit ironic that Calpers actually is a lockbox of taxpayer dollars set aside for state employees.  Funny how they seem to have no problem setting aside real dollars when its for themselves.

About time the government employees start facing the same realities as the public.  Welcome to the world of your retirement money being a pile of IOU's.  Retirement's the American way.   

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:37 | 585738 zaknick
zaknick's picture

Gonna keep posting this all day because it should help clear up a lot of ambiguity and shows us how badly we've been had.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:38 | 585742 Commander Cody
Commander Cody's picture

For a Republican, Arnold sure makes a good Democrat.  Oh...

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:38 | 585743 mikla
mikla's picture

First blush:  OMG.

Upon taking a deep breath, though, I realized that Calpers is *already* toast, and Californika is *also* dead.  So, I guess I don't care how they want to play with the books.

Cash-flow problems, default, constitutional crisis.  No biggie.

Here -- have an umbrella.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:58 | 585811 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

Too much debt. Slowing economy. Illinois has $5 billion in unpaid bills. No budget for Fed, IL, CA, etc. 

It's a shell game, hide the pea. No way out. Buying time. Waiting for the first domino. The logical endgame of the fractional reserve, fiat ponzi scheme. 

Days, weeks, months, years? 

I hope for sooner rather than later. Let's get it over with...

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:00 | 585955 minus dog
minus dog's picture

The lack of budgets points to sooner, possibly.  All it takes is one good "the emperor has no clothes" moment.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:09 | 586322 CitizenPete
CitizenPete's picture

hear hear -- sooner would be much better so my kids might have a future instead of surviving in an economic wasteland.  (BTW, do you think 3000 rounds is enough out in the country?)

Someone sent this to me today:

"The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater." - Frank Zappa


Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:02 | 585821 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

"Here -- have an umbrella."


what about that thing in the background? never mind?  lol

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:13 | 585850 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

No problem. It's just the angle of the dangle that makes that thermal vent look like it's actually a super volcano. Rest well my friend, this will either blow over or blow us up. If the latter, you won't feel a thing. So what's the problem?

Signed: MASH's "Painless"

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:30 | 585895 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

"If the latter, you won't feel a thing"


For those who believe in more than one life, well, I drowned in one of mine.  Not gonna be painless - I remember what it feels like.  Got meds?  /sarc off 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:36 | 585916 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Ssh, you can't tell the sleeping sheep the shearing's going to be painful. What the hell's wrong with you? You're gonna panic the entire herd. Stick to the scrip dude and I'll cut you in for another half percent. And this is the last time you shake me down. Try it again and you'll sleep with the fish. :>)

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:11 | 585981 Village Idiot
Village Idiot's picture

Like he said, It's going to be painless, don't worry. 


Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:40 | 585748 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

You would think that people would realize there is a constant theme in the madness: "the insurer defaults too."

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 04:57 | 587329 i.knoknot
i.knoknot's picture


heard an ad on one of the sheeple radio stations for 'bond insurance' today for mere mortals. wow.

seems to be an all-or-nothing game for that underwriter... if bonds hold, underwriter does fine. if bonds fail, underwriter fails (after years of great salary), and does fine.


Fri, 09/17/2010 - 10:32 | 587762 MachoMan
MachoMan's picture

That's not nuts...  it's what's called of rational actors.  I put all my chips on a bet that if it wins, I live large and if I lose, then everyone else in the world is fucked too, so the consequences are relatively small/trivial given I'll have bigger fish to fry at that point...  incredibly simple logic that gets effectuated daily.

The cool thing is that the matter will be resolved soon enough and it does not require us to lift a finger...  not that we have the balls/discipline/initiative to do so anyway.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:42 | 585751 NOTW777
NOTW777's picture

no worries; GS has hired a black rapper banker; cnbc right on top of it

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:55 | 585946 SteveNYC
SteveNYC's picture

That put the funniest image in my head. Perhaps part of their "diversity" program?

"Golden Ballsacks, now hiring hip hop artists from da hood...."

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:42 | 585752 Shameful
Shameful's picture

Just more of the same. Moral hazard to infinity, debt to infinity.

No thinking person can think this is going to work, everyone is just hoping they can kick the can further down the road. Better to die in comfort and ruin your children and grandchildren then take some of the pain you caused right?

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:46 | 585762 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

I'll be Bankrupt...

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:51 | 585789 Ragnarok
Ragnarok's picture

It would be sweet if that was followed by Arnold crashing a car into the California congress.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:53 | 585792 Blano
Blano's picture

Ah'll be bahnkrupt....

As Rocky would say, there....fixed it fer ya.

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 00:42 | 587191 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture


Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:47 | 585767 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture


Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:54 | 585791 Kali
Kali's picture

Ah, so the raid is continuing.   Anybody really think your pension, 401k, IRA is safe?  Many states in same situation.  The State is broke, but their pension funds have a load of "cash" in them. No way taxpayers are gonna be taxed to oblivion when the pension funds have more money in them than the State debt.  Let's Tango! 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:11 | 585841 centerline
centerline's picture

I guess once the legal framework is firmly in place, and the loop is complete, time to implosion will be signficantly shortened!  The money will be vaporized before the ink is dry on the documents.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:05 | 585970 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture


These govt pension/benefit payouts (at all levels) will be taxed VERY heavily in the not-too-distant-future. That is the only way the majority will tolerate them.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:18 | 586000 DosZap
DosZap's picture


No way, as posted yesterday,day before, John Kerry and Panel,met Sept 14-15th, to discuss alternatives to 401k funds and how their invested.

Bottom line: WE can do it better............and they will be seized, IF your stupid enough to leave it in there, and IRA's willl be the same.

Like SS TF, and MC, they have manged that so well.....guess where it's going now?.Treasuries, and the same place our 401's, and IRA's will go.

Anything they can do to suck you dry,and keep the boat afloat is FREE GAME.


Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:45 | 586028 Kali
Kali's picture

Yup.  And thanks to many of you here, and others, I cashed out mine back in fall 2007.  I am done screaming at idiots close to retirement, or not, to get their money out NOW.  Will be too late, too soon.  Just read an article where NJ gov employees are lining up around the block to try and get out before Christi (sp?) vaporizes their accounts and bennies.  It's already happening.  Sort of a "bank run" already.  Wait til it hits the banks.  I think time for implosion grows VERY short.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:07 | 585831 ratava
ratava's picture

ben is going for global weimar. go big or go home.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:12 | 585844 centerline
centerline's picture


Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:12 | 585837 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Place this against a backdrop of secession.

CA is maxing out a Fed credit card just before going bk and taking the US west coast into a Pacific-centric federation with Japan and Australia.

The world's 7th largest economy cannot remain part of the United States of America. Either CA will end up bankrolling the rest of the Union, or else will bk and sink the entire ship in one mighty cataclysm.

It's over. Give it another decade, maybe less. But it's over and everyone knows it.

[edit] Hey, I bet Ahnold would run for President then. Of California. He'll be on the committee of Big Men writing the new Constitution ...

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:20 | 586002 DosZap
DosZap's picture

I can see it now,

"Ve Da Peeples".

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:16 | 585838 Mercury
Mercury's picture
Calpers Prepares To LBO California

This is just the preview before the entire U.S. public sector LBOs the entire U.S. private sector.

In Washington they call that Change.

Private property will be confiscated outright before a single public pension fails to pay up to the penny.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:22 | 586009 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Reminds me of an old Beatles tune,

" You say you want a Revolution, well ya know"

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 01:18 | 587222 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Happiness is a warm gun...

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:12 | 585845 three chord sloth
three chord sloth's picture

Hmmm... to me it looks like California is monetizing the cash flow between itself and its own subdivisions. Borrow a chunk of money from one of your own internal creations and secure that loan with the money you already owe them in the future.

The Golden State out-Goldmans Goldman Sachs!

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 18:28 | 586547 Rainman
Rainman's picture

Bingo. NY state pulled the same scheme just a few months ago. NY borrowed billions from the pension fund to pay the pension fund its catch up funding past due to the pension fund. Like an old Abbott&Costello shuffle.

The two biggest GDP generating States are resorting to balance transfers between their maxed out credit cards. Illinois blowing off the bills. Sounds bullish to me.  

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:14 | 585852 chet
chet's picture

This whole exponential debt cock-up is a terrible thing of beauty in some ways.

The "can you believe they were this stupid" stories will be excellent 20 years from now.  Hopefully, we're moving out of our tar-paper shacks by then and starting to rebuild.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:57 | 585950 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Have to agree.

Except I think the question might be "Is there any way to do capitalism in a way that isn't stupid?"

Not sure what the answer will be, when the question comes up in a serious way. I think that in a post-peak-oil regime the answer would be "no, there isn't" and that will then be the end of that little experiment.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:27 | 585887 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

California to DC: UUUHHHHHRRRRRRRRRR>>>slobber, drool

DC to California:  Oh, my>>>>titter, giggle

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:27 | 585888 anarkst
anarkst's picture

The UPS guy is at the door.  The Fascism you ordered is here.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:35 | 585911 bullandbearwise
bullandbearwise's picture

Borrowing against your 401K is now policy.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:38 | 585919 gookempucky
gookempucky's picture

Since this has been a day of seriousness

Overheard at Pelosi's office.

Pelosi and Geithner had been in a private meeting in her office fighting over who should get the next QE of 7 trillion-california or the boys at the fed? one thing led to another when finally Pelosi says ok ur a big boy lets make a bet!

Timmy says U got it whats the bet--Pelosi says if you can go down on me for ONE minute you can have the 7 trillion if not Cali gets it-Timmy,s wheels start a turning thinking that she has got ot be one nasty stink sleeze-OK its on.

Down goes Timmy munching away like no tomorrow-30 seconds go by as Pelosi looks at her special ed mickey mouse watch that runs backwards(she just doesnt accept reality) and says to herself OH MY GOD HE MIGHT MAKE IT-what to do what to do-BLING I had that vegan lunch with lima beans,beats and a chunk of goats cheese-she starts working up the most dispicable fart she has ever mustered-15 seconds to go and lets it rip wwwwhhhaaaaaapphhhttttttd -Timmy continues after a cough-minute is up and Timmy arise's victorious-Pelosi screams NEVER NO-ONE HAS EVER BEEN ABLE TO LAST THAT LONG-Timmy smiled back through his brown stained teeth and said if it wasnt for that blast of fresh air I would have never made it. 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:31 | 586387 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

Pelosi would have gone for a penis measuring contest...
And she would have won. We all know...

Timmay is such a cheese-dick and too bashful to measure in front of Face-lift Pelosi without shrinkage into the negative...

Timmay: "Hurry up! Come out Mr Turtle..."

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 14:45 | 585925 MountainMan
MountainMan's picture

POMO about to push DOW above 10600...nice work

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:02 | 585961 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

Yeah, nice.

Now -- can they do that same hat trick every day until mid-November?

Or seriously -- forever? I mean like until the heat death of the Universe forever?

Because I don't see any action on the ground to come up with an alternative as we slide into chronic, wide-spread debt deflation and simultaneous commodity inflation to the moon. At some point it is simply not going to matter if the S&P is 1050 or 150 or 10050. It will have clearly become a number with no connection to any reality under the Sun anywhere on Earth.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:10 | 585976 Bam_Man
Bam_Man's picture

The Nasdaq 100 has had one down day this month. How did that happen?

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:37 | 586042 MountainMan
MountainMan's picture

God help us when the wheels come off this ride.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:44 | 586053 theworldisnotenough
theworldisnotenough's picture

California is going to utterly collapse.  I wonder what happens? If Republicans control either the House or Senate the assistance is not coming. There is no political upside to helping a deep blue state.

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 01:23 | 587228 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Scenario:  You've just been doused with gasoline, and CA is on fire (again!), asking you to "lend a hand!"  Watcha gonna do?

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 15:56 | 586086 enobittep
enobittep's picture

The insanity never ceases to amaze!

So CALPERS is going to lend money to the state of CA - a state that is bankrupt.  Will their investment policies allow them to make such an investment?  If I were a CA state employee, I would be screaming bloody murder on this dumb fuck recommendation.

Here is a better idea - Arnie should demand $150B of the ~$300B of illegal immigrant payments into the SSTF that we all read about on ZH the other day.  This would be just compensation for the financial stresses loaded upon CA (i.e. medical costs, educational costs, etc...) for the past 50 years as the immigrant heard trampled over the boarder while our federal croney government looked on and did nothing to stop.  CA needs to wake up and throw their socialist state government out on their asses and bring in mom and pops that make simple sound decisions for the better of CA.  Problem solved.  Dreams.......


Fri, 09/17/2010 - 01:24 | 587231 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

CA Legislature is full of Decepticrats, get real!

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 16:00 | 586102 Gromit
Gromit's picture

Good news for Cali taxpayers, bad news for the soon-to retire civil masters.



Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:10 | 586324 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

"Calif government is in its 77th day without a budget for its fiscal year that began on July 1 and analysts expect the impasse... in the state capital of Sacramento may last several more weeks."

Let Me Translate That For You
I have called Cali the TBTF Citibank of States for sometime now...

The budget impasse will end same as it always does... When:

  1. 'Roid Rage Arnnie and the Useful Idiots (Legislature) lie large enough on tax revenues and borrow enough to declare a budget.
  2. 30 days after that revenues will be well below "estimates" (Idiot speak for we still have a deficit...)
  3. Arnie and Idiots keep their mouths shut encouraging gullible public to spend for Xmas (milking any possible sales tax revenue before the "unexpected" layoffs occur).
  4. By Feb. 1 State announces a "new" huge budget deficit that no one "could have seen coming."

I see the same stupid made for teevee movie staring Arnie and a cast of looters and idiots every year... 

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:30 | 586383 cougar_w
cougar_w's picture

I wouldn't call them idiots at this point.

They're pretty good at this racket. So let's call them con artists.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 17:36 | 586392 Problem Is
Problem Is's picture

I did say "useful"...
Besides... I have run into these slick suited eunuchs on L Street...

They are idiots...

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 20:00 | 586750 Sokhmate
Sokhmate's picture

Why doesn't calpers help close the entire CA budget gap?

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 04:59 | 587332 j0sh1130
j0sh1130's picture

i live here, i deal with them, and youre right on it all.

Fri, 09/17/2010 - 05:17 | 587354 Grand Supercycle
Grand Supercycle's picture

The mixed conflicting market signals return. It reminds me of periods in 2007/2008 during the market uncertainty and dislocation in addition to market intervention or rumours of market intervention (like the QE chatter now).

Thu, 10/07/2010 - 05:51 | 631600 Herry12
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