Category: Illinois

Month in Review, August 2015: Part 2, Lingering debts

25 September, 2015 (10:00) | Actuaries, Bankruptcy, Berlin, Boston, de Blasio, Economic development, Essential posts, Greece, Housing, Illinois, Month in review, Olympics, Pension funds, Puerto Rico, Urbanization |

By: David A. Smith [Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.] The true mystery of capital lies in its mutability: property can be turned into money, money into chattel, chattel into property, and all through the chemical reaction of markets; moreover, money can be created (value greater than cost) and money can be lost (cost greater than […]

Month in Review, August 2015: Part 1, Enduring assets

24 September, 2015 (10:00) | Actuaries, Bankruptcy, Berlin, Boston, de Blasio, Economic development, Essential posts, Greece, Housing, Illinois, Month in review, Olympics, Pension funds, Puerto Rico, Urbanization |

By: David A. Smith For a month in which normal people (e.g. those not obsessed with blogging) go on vacation, August contained plenty of material related to affordable housing, starting with the ever-inventive Mayor Bill de Blasio in the ever-political city of Gotham, with the city’s attempt to create its own home-rule version of the […]

With any luck you’ll die soon: Part 5, A study in obfuscation

2 September, 2015 (10:00) | Actuaries, Bankruptcy, Cities, Doublethink, Illinois, Investment, Municipal bankruptcy, Pension funds, Principal-agent risk, Real estate taxes, Speculation, US News | 2 comments

[Continued from yesterday’s Part 4 and the preceding Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.] By: David A. Smith ‘Everyone is cured sooner or later.’ As the preceding parts have shown, catastrophe being a precondition to fundamental financial reform, the biggest adjustment to be made following the mess of the Great Recession will not be […]

With any luck you’ll die soon: Part 4, Misleading the village board

1 September, 2015 (10:00) | Actuaries, Bankruptcy, Cities, Doublethink, Illinois, Investment, Municipal bankruptcy, Pension funds, Principal-agent risk, Real estate taxes, Speculation, US News |

[Continued from yesterday’s Part 3 and the preceding Part 1 and Part 2.] By: David A. Smith ‘But don’t give up hope.’ The pension-fund doublethink takeover described in earlier parts would have triumphed indefinitely, but for two events: the collapse of asset values in 2008 which dragged financial failure and financial chicanery into the light, […]

With any luck you’ll die soon: Part 3, Providing cover for elected officials

31 August, 2015 (10:00) | Actuaries, Bankruptcy, Cities, Doublethink, Illinois, Investment, Municipal bankruptcy, Pension funds, Principal-agent risk, Real estate taxes, Speculation, US News | 2 comments

[Continued from yesterday’s Part 2 and the preceding Part 1.] By: David A. Smith ‘You are a difficult case.’ By now our exploration of yet another piece of the doublethink canon – the role of actuaries in understating future pension-fund obligations (and overstating expected future contributions by new participants) has revealed that the takeover, like […]