Pension Shocker: Plans Face $2 Trillion Shortfall, Moody's Says

Tyler Durden's picture

Last month, in "Cities, States Shun Moody's For Blowing The Whistle On Pension Liabilities," we highlighted a rift between Moody’s and some local governments over the return assumptions for public pension plans.

To recap, when it comes to underfunded pension liabilities, one major concern is that in a world characterized by ZIRP and NIRP, it’s not entirely clear that public pension funds are using realistic investment return assumptions. The lower the return assumption, the larger the unfunded liability. After 2008, Moody’s stopped relying on the investment return assumptions of cities and states opting instead to use its own models. Unsurprisingly, this led the ratings agency to adopt a much less favorable view of state and local government finances and as WSJ reported, rather than admit that their return assumptions are indeed unrealistic, local governments have opted to drop Moody’s instead. 

The debate underscores a larger problem in America. Almost half of the states in the union are facing budget deficits.

Underfunded pension liabilities are one factor, but the reasons for the pervasive shortfall vary from plunging oil revenues to plain old fiscal mismanagement. The pension issue gained national attention after an Illinois Supreme Court decision threw the future of pension reform into question and effectively set a precedent for other states, sending state and local officials back to the drawing board in terms of figuring out how to plug budget gaps. One option is what we have called the "pension ponzi" which involves the issuance of pension obligation bonds. Here is all you need to know about that option: 

'Solving' this problem by issuing bonds is an enticing option but at heart, it amounts to what one might call a "pension liability-bond arbitrage." The idea is to borrow the money to plug the pension gap and invest it at a rate of return that's higher than the coupon on the bonds, thus saving money over the long-haul. Of course, much like transferring a balance on a high interest credit card onto a new card with a teaser rate (or refinancing a high interest credit card via a P2P loan) this gimmick only works if you do not max out the original card again, because if you do, all you've done is doubled your debt burden. As it relates to pension liabilities, this means that what you absolutely cannot do is use the cash infusion as an excuse to get lax when it comes to pension funding because after all, that's what caused the problem in the first place.

And here's a look at how pervasive the problem has become:

Make no mistake, America’s pension problem isn’t likely to be resolved anytime soon and in fact, with risk-free rates likely to remain subdued even as equity returns face the possibility that the beginning of a Fed rate hike cycle could trigger a 1937-style equity meltdown (bad news for return assumptions), and with investors set to demand higher yields on muni issuance thanks to deteriorating fiscal circumstances, the financial screws may be set to tighten further on the country’s struggling state and local governments. Bloomberg has more:

The cost to American cities for their cash-strapped pension funds is starting to look a lot worse, and it’s not because the stock-market rally may be losing steam.

 

Houston was warned by Moody’s Investors Service this month that it may be downgraded because of mounting retirement bills, the latest municipality put on notice as the company ignores bookkeeping gimmicks that let cities mask the size of their debt for years. The approach foreshadows accounting rules for even top-rated issuers that are poised to cause pension shortfalls to swell as new financial reports are released.

 

"If you’re AAA or AA rated and you’ve got significant and visible unfunded pension obligations, you’ve only got one direction to go in terms of rating, and that’s potentially down," said Jeff Lipton, head of municipal research in New York at Oppenheimer & Co. "It’s the presentation on the balance sheet that is now going to drive urgency."

 

Cities that shortchanged pensions for years are under growing pressure to boost their contributions, even after windfalls from a stock market that’s tripled since early 2009. Janney Montgomery Scott has said growing retirement costs are "the largest cloud overhanging" the $3.6 trillion municipal-bond market, where investors are demanding higher yields from borrowers under the greatest strain.

 

That was on display this week for Chicago, whose credit rating was cut to junk by Moody’s in May because of a $20 billion pension shortfall. The city was forced to pay yields of almost 8 percent on taxable bonds maturing in 2042, about twice what some homeowners can get on a 30-year mortgage.

 

Estimates of the pension-fund deficits facing states and cities vary, depending on the assumptions used to calculate the cost of bills due over the next several decades. According to Federal Reserve figures, they have $1.4 trillion less than needed to cover promised benefits.

 

Officials have been able to lower the size of the liability by counting on investment earnings of more than 7 percent a year, even after they expect to run out of cash. New rules from the Governmental Accounting Standards Board require a lower rate to be used after retirement plans go broke. Many reported shortfalls will grow as a result.

 

Moody’s, which in 2013 began using a lower rate than governments do to calculate future liabilities, has estimated that the 25 largest U.S. public pensions alone have $2 trillion less than they need. Cincinnati and Minneapolis are among cities Moody’s has since downgraded.

 

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. pension, this week said it earned just 2.4 percent last fiscal year, one-third of the annual return it projects. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second-biggest fund,gained 4.5 percent, compared with its 7.5 percent goal.

In short: America is facing a fiscal crisis at the state and local government level and it appears as though at least one ratings agency is no longer willing to suspend disbelief by allowing officials to utilize profoundly unrealistic return assumptions in the calculation of liabilities. This means downgrades and as for what comes next, we'll leave you with a recap of Citi's vicious "feedback loop".

From Citi

How does a downgrade create a feedback loop? 

 

Payment induced liquidity shock

For many issuers’ credit contracts, a drop to a speculative grade rating acts as a payments trigger. For instance, the issuer may have commercial paper programs and line of credit agreements as a part of its short term borrowing program and a rating downgrade could qualify as an event of default for these borrowing arrangements. This enables the banks to declare all outstanding obligations as immediately due and payable.

 

A rating downgrade could also force accelerated repayment schedules and penalty bank bond rates on swap contracts and variable-rate debt agreements.

 

Thus, as a result of the rating action, an issuer could face increased liquidity risk at an unfortunate time

when it is working to navigate its way out of a fiscal crisis.

 

 

Knock-on rating downgrade risk

In some instances, rating agencies may disagree on an issuer’s creditworthiness which could result in a split level rating for a prolonged period. But a drastic rating action by one main rating agency (either Moody’s or S&P) which knocks the issuer’s debt to below investment grade could force the other rating agencies to follow with a similar downgrade. While the other rating agencies might feel that underlying credit fundamentals of the issuer do not merit a sub-investment grade rating, their rating action could be dictated by negative implications due to the liquidity pressures posed by the first downgrade to junk status. Recently, S&P downgraded a credit as a result of Moody’s rating action that stated that its rating action reflected its view that the issuer’s efforts “are challenged by short-term interference” that prevents a solid and credible approach to resolving their fiscal problems.

 

Shrinking buyer base

Many investors have mandates to buy investment grade debt only and a fall to speculative grade status could cause existing investors to liquidate the holdings of the fallen credit and shrink the universe of buyers.

 

Rising issuance costs

In many cases the issuer may have been working diligently to reduce its exposure to bank credit risks in the event of a ratings deterioration (for e.g. shifting its variable-rate GOs and sales tax paper to a fixed rate by tapping its short-term paper program then converting it into long-term debt) but the unfortunate timing of the downgrade will make this task much more challenging as a shrunken buyer base for an entity’s debt, quite naturally, translates into a higher cost of debt.

A higher cost of debt exacerbates liquidity problems and thus the feedback loop could continue to gain traction.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Ploutos74's picture

Sounds bullish. Surely they'll buy more stocks now to increase revenue since bonds are so ...underperforming. AmIrite?

Antifaschistische's picture

2 Trillion based on what?

the value of their existing pension portfolios?  i would like to see the sensitivity analysis to both the bond and the stock market.

a collapse in the bond market could very quickly turn this 2 trillion shortfall into 4 trillion as the day approaches when these pension funds will need to be net sellers.

this is the perfect storm brewing...

pitz's picture

The actuarial assumptions used for calculating pension plan funding are largely nonsense, and are postulated by actuaries and pension executives who use them to increase their personal compensation.  I don't think many of those highly educated professionals really understand how much benefit falling long-term interest rates and the exhorbitant privilege of seignorage has been to the US bond and stock markets.  As that goes into reverse, those shortfalls are likely to accelerate.  If they can't make their pensions solvent in one of the greatest bull markets in history for both stocks and bonds over the past 35 years, what possible hope do they have if the markets mean-revert to more typically historically normal behaviour? 

 

Arnold's picture

I'd like to add the "Death Panel Modual" to the calculations.

Basically, without programming language, it kills everybody that is 59.5 years old and above.

Problem turned into liquidity, and checkmate.

Arnold's picture

I'm out back havin' a smoke if anybody needs me.

MontgomeryScott's picture

Um, O.K., call me ignorant.

What's a 'PENSION'?

OH. This story is about GOVERNMENT WORKERS! 'Public servants'...

"The cost to American cities for their cash-strapped pension funds is starting to look a lot worse,..."

Can I bum a smoke? Oh, wait, I have a couple left...

 

rccalhoun's picture

at the 12%+ ror on the spx----its do-able  (stocks never go down)

Manthong's picture

Well, the good news is that if you are a Flint Michigan retired Auto Worker, your defined benefit pension was fully funded by Obama when he bought you all off  a half dozen years or so ago.

 

and Oh, Mr Scott, Sir..  the muni workers are going to be in for a really big surprise in the next couple of years or so .. the FED pukes, well they will be OK thanks to Janet.

Bond.. my name is James Bond.

States do not print "money" anymore.

.. and for God sakes.. quit smoking.. only idiots do that.

Drinking.. drugs.. sex obsession... they are all better.

 

Shocker's picture

Just another thing to add to this economic mess

Layoff List: http://www.dailyjobcuts.com

-

RafterManFMJ's picture

...all these pension fund manager assumptions reminds me of the classic joke:

 

A physicist, a chemist and an economist are stranded on an island, with nothing to eat. A can of soup washes ashore. The physicist says, "Lets smash the can open with a rock." The chemist says, "Let’s build a fire and heat the can first." The economist says, "Lets assume that we have a can-opener..."

Save_America1st's picture

I'm in Florida and I hear stories all the fucking time here about state or city gubment employees like cops, firemen, or some kinds of douche bag beaurocrats who "retire" after 20 years at age 40+ but then immediately take new bullshit gubment jobs so that they can suck their pension funds while continuing to draw a big gubment salary. 

It's called "double-dipping" and so many leeches have done it that once they're old enough to "retire" again for the 2nd time they now suck 2 pensions out of the system.

Yeah, it all seems great for them at first, but that bullshit it now proving to be causing the collapse of the entire bullshit system. 

It's all fun and game until you run out of everyone elses "money" isn't it, bitchez?

Math is the universal science.  It's as constant as death and gravity.  You can only try to fight it for so long and then it all catches up to you.  Just look at how fucked up every single country and government scumbags are right now all at the same time? 

It ain't a fucking coincidence...it's the absolute law of math catching up to them.  Can't kick the can much further down the road, bitchez.

But the ultimate fucked up part about facing up to all of this is that the vast majority of the people in this world whether they know it or not or even understand it or not are the ones who have to pay for it.  Many will have to pay for it with their lives which is why the scumbags who cause all of this and who run things always cause world wars so that they reset their fucked up system and wipe out millions of people.

And generation after generation are born into the "Matrix" oweing thousands and thousands of debt instantiously and are indoctrinated into the debt slave system.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Century after century over and over again...same shit, different day. 

Gotta wake the fuck up and wipe out the banksters, lawyers, and scumbag politicians.  Cancer of society.  Sick and twisted scumbags. 

fiftybagger's picture

The delicious irony of it all is that the only people making 8% annual returns are the ones lending money to the pension funds.  Maybe they should just invest in their own........hold on, I think I'm onto something.

sessinpo's picture

Do you really believe any guarantee by the government? They can't guarantee ANY of it.

More_sellers_than_buyers's picture

I hate stories like this.  Smart people have been ringing this bell for over a decade.  Why oh why do we always have to wait for it to fucking blow up before anything is done? I'll tell you why. Because money and power are grabbed by the fistfull in times of crisis.  Everyone runs around with their hair on fire and a few people rape everyone.  People suck

Sages wife's picture

The end result will be hyperinflation. This will materialize as the second edge of the moneyprinters sword. Greenspan admitted it years ago when he said, "We can guarantee cash benefits as far out, and in whatever size you like, but we cannot guarantee their purchasing power."

Antifaschistische's picture

I know you're saying 'catching up with them"...and I know what you mean.  But really, it's catching up with US because our property taxes here in Houston have gone FULL RETARD!

The school systems are broke because of the fat compensation packages...then when they need to build another school...they go to the voters with another bond measure and a sad story about children!   It makes me siCk!   Why do they have to borrow money with the money they are collecting in taxes!!  

Oh yah, they spend that money on compensation pre/post retirmenet packages...

Oh...and one more comment.  When I was in elementary school.  you had teachers...a single principal and a janitor.  that was it!

NOW...holy shit...the elementary schools here in 77024 have this large building...you ask, what is that large building?  Oh that's the Admin building...full of counselors and principals and all sorts of assistants running around.   It's jsut all a scam.

deadelephant's picture

Don't forget the extra teachers and classrooms devoted to nothing other than teaching english as a second language classes in a small group setting.  

Oh, and the emphasis on keeping kids in class whether they have any desire to be there or not (so the school can collect their "per kid" allowance from the state).  May get the school a couple extra bucks, but it turns the entire school into a juvenile detention center and keeps any actual learning from taking place.  (Unless you count learning about sex, drugs, and how to game the welfare system.)

But at least we still have free lunch to keep all the poor little buggers fed.

Save_America1st's picture

"Why do they have to borrow money with the money they are collecting in taxes!!"

 

Exactly...and then ask this question to everyone you run into:

Why do we have to pay taxes when they can print Trillions of dollars to infinity out of thin air??????

Watch everyone you say that to go into complete instant retard mode because they can't even comprehend the concept and they don't have the balls to question the entire system anyway. 

Blankenstein's picture

Why Illinois will be one of the first to go belly-up:

 

"Naperville's top cop will continue to collect both a police pension and his chief's salary.

State officials confirmed Thursday they have dropped their legal battle with Chief Bob Marshall"

 

The dismissal of the state's appeal allows Marshall to collect his salary and police pension, which stood at $154,775 and $104,109 respectively last year. The current year figures were not immediately available.

"Shortly after, the Illinois Department of Insurance filed a position statement arguing that Marshall should not continue to receive his police pension along with the salary. However, the Naperville Police Pension Fund Board voted 4-1 in January 2013 that Marshall could collect both."

http://my.chicagotribune.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-81900513/

CPL's picture

Mathmatically the system they use to manage it is called the Kelly Criterion makes it a guarentee that it will crash.  The 'bankers' use the same math professional gamblers use to manage all that money in markets, commodity floors, escrow hedges...all of it.  Mathmatically it is a 100% certainity it all disappears and the house claims every penny.  It always goes back to 0 no matter who says otherwise, because it's built to do it. 

NoPension's picture

Can't we just agree a Gubby worker skimmed enough during employment, and call it even?

Son of Loki's picture

I am not worried. My plan administrator told me ‘Don’t worry, everything is securely invested in MFGlobal and solid Chinese solar companies like Suntech and Liansheng Resources Group. Not to worry, solar is the wave of the future and China is the place to be.”

 

So I’m not worried.

 

Calmyourself's picture

Which old timer can remember the name of the solar idiot, always yelling at us to buy Chinese solar, he went away like the $5 silver guy??

Son of Loki's picture

Exactly! Anyone who relies on some 'plan administrator' to care for his pension is asking fror trouble. Just as unreasonable as relying on SS for a comfortable retirement.

Badsamm's picture

They will never know what hit them. And so fucking what. We tried.

Berspankme's picture

Precisely- we should have seen a tremendous improvement over the past 6 years, not a decline. 

Cold-Pragmatism's picture

Actually you and the 55, scratch 55 its not 61 in the time I wrote this (you're still all wrong), that have given thumbs are quite wrong, allow me to explain.

The actuarials that claim to miss calculate the pensions and the future liabilities and requirements have done quite a good job. The problem has been the government and how they are protected by the laws which collude with the financial secto. All pension deposits that have been given by the US taxpayer have been miss allocated and all administrations have been filling the government pension account with IOUs. As for the private sector where your 401k contributions go the problem hasn't been with actuarials either. The fault is that all pensions go into funds that are allowed by the government to be put in the market, a pesudo form of artifical liquidity expansion. Don't blame actuarials for your money being misallocated, or even executives. For if your 401k's were placed in interest bearing accounts only there would be a lower value in the velocity of money and a tightening in liquidity because this money would be locked up in the financial system as reserves for the banks and could be used only more for loans, and you know how bad the bubbles in housing have been!

The whole problem is that US economy is poorly designed; its fundamental structural defect is that it is reliant on constant CLEAN growth. By CLEAN I mean where the top income band does not grow relative to the lower income bands, otherwise you have DIRTY growth. The relative size of the top 1-10% has out paced the growth of the lower 50%, and thus the "locusts at the top" are raiding the rapidly diminishing green fields at the lower income bands. Because of this situation and because there is a bias towards protecting the rich with respect to the poor, your pension funds are being slowly raided by the elites, by very cunning financial ploys. Thus your diminishing pension funds.

If you wish to target anybody, target the corrupt circle involving the legal system, government and financial sector. This is what is destroying your pension funds, it isn't incompetent actuarials (they do the proper math, they just can't allow for corruption), or greedy executives (because that is such a small, part that it doesn't relatively rate). You can start blaming the government, both Republicans and Democrats, and of course, you blame the people who vote for these crooks into office...that is many of YOU. 

If you want to stop all this, stop voting for Democrats and Republicans. Neither of these parties give a damn about the ordinary "Joe/Jane", so why keep voting for them? You really think by continually changing from a Donkey to an Elephant and back again, is going to change anything? Nope, you are continuously going to keep on getting a Jackass or a Dumbo in Congress or the P.O.

So are there better ways of doing things? Of course! But you will not see them, for it takes power away from the government. Let me outline one way. Initiate a plan where everybody, by law, has their own pensioner account, where banks must support without any fees. As you are working you are required by law to contribute to your Pensioner Account. This money is kept there in the account allow to accumulate until the day arrives when you must retire. Now what is important is the follow. For as long as you are NOT a pensioner, that is drawing from the account, this account has NO taxes on it, and why should it, it is money that is to be used for the future not present. This account must stay in control in your hands and never must be in the control of anyone elses hands. Now here comes the beautiful part of this system. Every region where you live, say city, state or even county, the total funds of all the pension accounts can be used for ONLY local investment, to help your community to create jobs, that is, it is invested in only your "selected" region (remember, whatever is decided, city state or county). Who manages these funds is done by a group of people that directly electorally accountable to the contributors of the pension system in that region. Basically, the pension money that you put to one side is to directly contribute to your local community, as it should be. So for example, say the community requires a new road of even public. The money is used to build these things. So how do you get a return on your investment? SIMPLE. The region and Pension system come to terms on how much the public work cost to build, and an approprate level of taxes are weighed onto the community, and the pensioner system gets their fair cut!

That is one solution. Think about it.

You see, pension money should be used by governments to bail themselves out. Like the US government has been doing since the Social Security system started by F. D. Roosevelt in the '30s. Furthermore, pensions must be low, that is zero risk investments, because everyone of you are counting on it in 40 or 50 years time! No market can provide this kind of protection. Neither can any bank or financial house, for everything fails eventually, including banks and financial houses, and 50 years is a long time. No your pension money must always be in YOUR control, in your own personal Pensioner Account that the government can not control but you do.

Anyway, I have given a very simple solution, it is more involved than it appears but only in the ways you use it. The important point is this, PENSION MONEY MUST NEVER BE AT RISK! But no government will do that, why? cause they all want to eventually be steal it, if they need it, of course! Which as you can see in Greece...has happened.

lunaticfringe's picture

Exactly. Given the 200% run-up in in flated stock prices- these fully invested behemoths can't reach 100% funded?? 

It's a fucking shit show. When the bubble bursts- where are these bankers/fund participants gonna go for a return??

 https://youtu.be/rY-XDQN6ipE

greenskeeper carl's picture

This is only a 'shocker' if you haven't been paying attention. I'm with you, that 2 trillion dollar shortfall exists in a time when almost every asset class is in a bubble. Once it pops, that shortfall will grow, quickly. Once it pops, governments will likely experience a big drop in taxes paid as well, which will make the problem even worse.

nosam's picture

This was their plan all along. One interest rate hike....and all the pensions gone.

The question now is when they will decide to crash the system.

Arnold's picture

quit your trash talk. boy!  /s

willwork4food's picture

Seriously buzz killers. Wats on on teeve now?

hound dog vigilante's picture

I know, right?  Like, america is broke, ok?  YAWN.  America has been broke, like, forever.

...now excuse me while I monch on pink slime sliders, chug some corn syrup, and bingewatch reality TV - so much better than real reality anyways.

 

Fahque Imuhnutjahb's picture

If the pension funds would simply invest in high yield tranches of triple A rated MBS "investment vehicles", these shortfalls would all disappear; or simply have Black Rock et. al. manage their portfolios for a meager

2/3rds of the profits----wait what year is this? oh, been there done that.  OK, plan B, if they simply invest in triple A rated bundled sub-prime auto loans; or have Blythe Master of Santander Consumer USA give them

guidance, then happy days are here again. 

NoDebt's picture

Word.  The jaws have just BEGUN to bite.  By about 2020 this shit's gonna start to get very real and very ugly even without a major market pullback.  

If it's not backed by a printing press (state and local), you may get nothing.  If it is backed by a printing press (SS), you get paid the nominal, but in devalued dollars.  

The "but I was promised" crowd has a very rude awakening coming to them.  "You fucked up.  You trusted us."

 

greenskeeper carl's picture

IMO, anyone who is getting a fedgov pension will get paid what they are expecting, those dollars will just be greatly devalued. This is one of the reasons th CPI greatly underestimates inflation, so that they can get away with very low cost of living increases. State and smaller govt pensions, on the other hand, cant print, which will make it pretty interesting, and particularly unpleasant if you own property in one of these districts.

 

Just curious, why do you say "by 2020 this shits gona start to be real"? why that year?

centerline's picture

If we make it that far, we won't go much further what I have seen.  At least in my area I can confirm schools and other public entities signing on for really FUBAR loans that gave them quick cash a few years ago - but, the balloon terms sitting out in the early 2020's are absolutely so amazing that it is nothing short of the banks just putting a date on a calendar that says "the system ain't going any further than this date for sure."  Or at least they are pricing in massive dollar devaluation.  Either way, pensioreers are going to get screwed. 

NoDebt's picture

That's when the increasingly upside-down condition is going to start eating into principal for many pensions.  Even good returns on investments won't keep up with the draw of the obligations.  

Up till now the amount of money in the pension plan was still going up.  The losses were merely PROJECTED losses.  Wait until they start to become REAL losses.  

Not that I'm saying they're going to have no money left, but the trajectory will become negative.  And I'm not talking about every persion everywhere, but the balance will start to tip negative roughly around 2020.  It will be a death of a thousand cuts.  First you'll see more stories about local cities/municipalities in trouble, then  states, then.... who knows.

It's not going to be a sudden break, it's just going to be the slow unwinding of many unfulfillable promises.  It will be the generational story of our time.

 

greenskeeper carl's picture

makes sense. Ive never looked into it that much. Its going to be interesting to watch, thats for sure. As I said above, its going to hurt to own property in any of those bankrupt districts, they will jack the taxes up to the moon. As a 30 year old, I know I will be absolutely raped to pay for the unrealistic promises made to older generations.

NoDebt's picture

Just wait until you're paying as much in state income tax as you do in federal.  That's coming in some areas, too.

I believe somewhere in all this you'll get a story about some sad sack who ended up paying more than 100% marginal rate when you combine state, federal and local taxes.  California's already at 12.3%.  They'll be at double that in a decade or so because they will HAVE TO.

When I add up all my taxes (including the local "library tax", property and township taxes, 6% PA sales tax I pay on every retail dollar I spend, etc.) I'm probably already around 50%.

DanDaley's picture

Word.  The jaws have just BEGUN to bite.  By about 2020 this shit's gonna start to get very real and very ugly even without a major market pullback. 

 

It's a mathematical certainty. For a clear and concise explanation of this clusterfingie, read Karl Deninger's book Leverage

realmoney2015's picture

Anyone relying or planning to rely on pensions, social security, or welfare will be in for a rude awakening eventually. It's as simple as that.

Max Cynical's picture

Watchdog: Thousands join the '$100K club' for pensions

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/pension-639019-public-club.html

Back in 2005, some 1,841 retirees pulled down more than $100,000 a year in pension checks from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. 

By 2009, this so-called “$100K club” had more than tripled, to 6,133 members. 

And by the end of 2013, membership had nearly tripled again, to 16,838, according to data from CalPERS. 

We’re talking growth in excess of 900 percent in just eight years, and no one expects the $100K club to stop growing any time soon. 

max2205's picture

And you thought your property taxes are high now......just wait.....

Arnold's picture

What the heck are banks/ .gov / lien holders going to do with all that land?

Christ onna crutch, it costs $30,000.00 base to knock down a small single family and put it to bed.

You can't afford to Detroit the whole country's urban / suburban areas.

RafterManFMJ's picture

You can if the Chinese are paying.

 

Calmyourself's picture

New tool: fire, just think how good your pension earning FD is going to get...  Big win..  Clearly they will need to burn these to the ground. Bonus:  if the sun continues to cool as the Sat. data shows perhaps it can warm the planet..

Fukushima Fricassee's picture

Low ball figure they are far worse off.