*Hyperlinks and video live at source: http://www.examiner.com/x-18425-LA-County-Nonpartisan-Examiner~y2010m5d22-CAFR-US-agencies-have-billions-trillions-in-investments-while-crying-budget-deficits
Gerald Klatt and Walter Burien are unrecognized heroes. These individuals are national leaders who have communicated how government agencies conceal American taxpayers’ money in surplus accounts that collectively total trillions of our dollars. The data is found in government agencies’ Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs).
What CAFRs reveal is a communist-style policy whereby the US taxpayers surrender enormous assets to the state, who then “invest” these collective trillions that swell in these accounts. Concurrently, taxpayers are informed of budget deficits to either squeeze more taxes from them and/or cut public services. To add insult to injury, the state lies in omission by never reminding Americans of their hard-earned and withheld trillions as they eliminate jobs, reduce education, and attack the quality of our lives.
The American Constitution is a contract of limited government whereby the public informs and is informed by our representatives. CAFRs are damning public documents that expose “leadership” from Left and Right as exactly what leading economic voices
have said: an absolutely corrupt and self-serving oligarchy.
Let’s look at the economic data revealed in CAFRs.
For example, California has a budget deficit of ~$20 billion. The combined investments of CAFRs for the state of CA, Los Angeles County, and the City of Los Angeles is over $450 billion; over 22 times the amount of the budget shortfall (documentation page numbers below).
California claims they need this money mainly for public employee retirement benefits. Let’s check that story. The CAFR data shows current member contribution pays for all retiree benefits except for $1.8 billion (net cost). If just these three state agencies surrendered their withheld money back to the public instead of lording over it as communists, each Californian would receive ~$15,000. To pay for the shortfall in the retirement account, each individual could be taxed $50.
Why has political “leadership” and corporate media not informed American taxpayers of this option and publicly submitted this data for professional and independent economist cost-benefit analysis to provide other options?
The answer to that question is also the answer to they question of how political "leadership" gets away with Orwellian unlawful wars
So far, we’re only considering three CAFRs in the state of California. The comprehensive reality is far more dramatic. If you combine all of California’s ~10,000 government agencies’ CAFRs, the combined total according to Walter Burien’s sampling analysis is $8 trillion
. Let’s say Walter’s way-off. For argument’s sake, let’s say the total is less than half; only $3.5 trillion. If that was returned to the public, each Californian would receive $100,000.
Walter says he’s confident in his documentation that every state has overtaxed and seized Americans’ hard-earned money in outrageous sums.
Obviously, we need independent auditing of all state CAFRs and independent economic cost-benefit analyses to make our choices clear of how the public benefit is best served. Californians oppressed under a $20 billion dollar budget deficit that cuts essential public services while not considering taxpayers’ trillions “invested” in our names is among the worst choices imaginable.
To put this into an analogy, I’ve modified the one used by Walter:
This is like a juvenile claiming he needs money because his front pants pocket is empty, which he dutifully shows (budget). What he's not telling you is that his back pockets have over 100 times the money he says he "needs" (shown in various places of the CAFRs). Whenever he's asked about the money in his back pockets, which he never volunteers in discussing his empty front pocket and never invites for consideration to move some into the front pocket, he says, "Oh, that money is designated for other uses. I can't touch that." So far, the silence of corporate media and political leadership from Left and Right has brought us to today. Of course, "I can't touch that" is a lie of omission because it can be touched the moment policy changes. So the real issue is the heart of economics: what are the costs and benefits of different choices?
Here’s the specific data and documentation:
- California pension and “other” trusts investments total $367 billion. Net pension benefits payable from that $367 billion in 2009 was $1.8 billion (retiree payouts minus current member contributions). Subtracting other liabilities ($48 billion in securities lending obligations that seemed to be borrowed from retirement funds- page 212), the state of California is holding onto over $300 billion of the public’s money that could be used for other purposes (pages 48, 49 of the report).
- The misleading information on pages 154-155 suggests retirement funds are not fully funded. However: over $300 billion is held in investments for $1.8 billion in net benefits. How many votes do you think our present policy would receive from the California public given the alternative of receiving ~$15,000 now and paying a $50 tax every year.
- The investments: $143 billion in “equity securities” (stocks), $92 billion in debt securities (page 83-84). $72 billion is dependent upon foreign markets (page 88).
- The UC system had a budget deficit for this ending school year of $0.65 billion. The policy response was to deny 2,300 students enrollment, lay-off over 2,000 faculty and staff, furlough teaching days and cut 10% salaries, and raise tuition by 32%. For less than one-third of one percent of the investment total of California, UC would have been fully-funded and those reductions eliminated.
- California’s 20,000 laid-off teachers could be rehired at $70,000/year for $3.4 billion; less than 1% of these three CAFR “investments” total.
- One cost of this deception: Governor Schwarzenegger announced a 41 percent cut for the 2010 budget in "general government" services including elimination of CALWORKS (welfare to work and child-care program, which will affect 1.4 million people, two thirds of them children), and sharp decreases in health and welfare programs for single mothers, low-income children, foster youth, the disabled, and senior citizens.
- Los Angeles County has $52 billion in investments (pages 61-63), the City of Los Angeles has $36 billion (page 80). Both have drastically cut programs. Both have pension plans underfunded by current members by less than 2% of their investment totals.
Below is Walter Burien’s 10-minute introduction to his video explanation of CAFRs. Walter claims that investments are only the most obvious section where CAFRs reveal hidden public money in plain sight; other areas include advanced forward liabilities accounts (overestimates and/or retained money for far-distant projects), states buying their own debt, profits from state-run enterprises (like recycling), and possible other areas requiring full and independent audits to discover.
I conclude with my usual resources for comprehensive understanding and suggestions for action. This has some repetition or the above information along with additional resources:
Fellow Americans: literally for the love of God, it’s time.
It’s time: exercise your 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech and press, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Please provide this article to all Americans if you find it helpful to stop current and future unlawful wars.
This choice is up to our men and women in uniform and government for leadership. I provide:
- Explanation of the rules of lawful war omitted from their military training that proves beyond any doubt that current US wars are unlawful.
- Analogies that the rules of war are almost exactly like those for an individual’s use of force on the street.
- Documentation of lies that were known to be lies as our political “leaders” told them and our war-whore corporate media mimicked to propagandize for war in Iraq.
- Proof beyond doubt that the speech of Iranian President Ahmadinejad never threatened Israel.
- Documentation that IAEA verifies all of Iran’s nuclear material and has only and always been used for legal and peaceful purposes.
- Documentation that US-Iran relations should be viewed from the history that the US unlawfully overthrew Iran's democracy from 1953 to 1979, and then supported an unlawful War of Aggression against them from 1980 to 1988 when they rejected further rule by vicious US-friendly dictatorship. Those two US-caused acts killed up to a million Iranians
- As a teacher of government and law, I created an analogy to recognize the lies by imposing the names of “China” for the US, and “US” for Iran to see what it looks like as the target of war lies. I also provide a glimpse into Persian culture to humanize Iran rather than demonize the targets of provable and criminal US war lies. I also remind you of the history lesson that the US fought WW2 against aggressors who masked their invasions as “liberations” for their own peace and freedom.
- Explanation of the law of treason: the liars who duped US soldiers to unlawfully invade other countries are the ones who levied war against US soldiers.
- Documentation and explanation of official US policy to use nuclear weapons if our “leaders” say (dictate) a nation might someday in the future harm the US or an ally. This policy is obviously Orwellian unlawful.
- Documentation of past use of US false flag attacks to kill Americans and blame an “enemy” in order to initiate an offensive war masked as a defensive one.
- Proof that corporate media is complicit in lies of commission and omission to propagandize for unlawful US wars (and here).
- Explanation of strategy to end the massive criminal acts of US “leaders” for obvious violation of the letter and spirit of US war laws: because these crimes are so broad and so deep, I recommend Truth and Reconciliation (T&R) to exchange full truth and return of stolen US assets for non-prosecution. This is the most expeditious way to understand and end all unlawful and harmful acts. Those who reject T&R are subject to prosecution.
- A reminder that you love virtue, American values, and love of your fellow human beings. These war liars “leading” our government who say they want peace while engaging in endless wars won’t create a Department of Peace for professional analysis of peace. These psychopaths (look that word up) spend trillions in long-term costs to lie and kill while reneging on their promise to spend just 0.7% of GNI to end poverty, save a million children's lives every month, and do so while reducing population growth rates.
- Documentation with many of the US most prominent economists and experts that these same war liars are transferring trillions of our taxpaying dollars to an oligarchic elite, ignoring the obvious solution of full employment to invest in US infrastructure, keeping a “debt supply” rather than a “money supply” to end the national debt, and keeping a parasitic banking system rather than a non-profit system (think 1-2% mortgages). I also provide documentation that these obvious economic solutions have been advocated by our brightest historical minds for centuries.
Choose well; our collective future, and your future, depend upon it. I appreciate your attention to these facts and encourage your further study and action consistent with your own self-expression.
It's time: please share this article with all who can benefit. If you appreciate my work, please subscribe by clicking under the article title (it’s free). Please use my archive of work to help build a brighter future.
"One thing we have endeavoured to observe most scrupulously, namely, never to depart from the strictest facts and, in dealing with the difficult questions that have arisen during the year, we hope that we have used the utmost moderation possible under the circumstances... We have an abiding faith in the mercy of the Almighty God, and we have firm faith in the British Constitution. That being so, we should fail in our duty if we wrote anything with a view to hurt. Facts we would always place before our readers, whether they are palatable or not, and it is by placing them constantly before the public in their nakedness that the misunderstanding between the two communities in South Africa can be removed."
For Gandhi’s evolved view of British evil in 1922, read this passage from Freedom’s Battle.
Gandhi concluded the effective response from the public was non-violent, non-cooperation with unjust British rule until the British themselves realized their engagement in immoral acts with an educated and non-cooperative public was inconsistent with their own values.
"If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in the world. Now the judgment of God is upon us and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools."
--Inscription on Dr. Martin Luther King’s statue, Moorehouse College, Atlanta
"The day that hunger is eradicated from the earth, there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known. Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world on the day of that great revolution." -- poet Federico García Lorca
Comments policy: I present a professional level of discourse based on facts. I welcome questions and comments that are civil and pertain to the article topic. Here, readers are welcome to argue for any inaccuracy of factual claim and/or need for inclusion of other facts. Readers are welcome to interpret facts however they wish and welcome to any policy position. They are not welcome to misrepresent facts. Facts are objective, measurable, and independently verifiable.
That is how freedom looks. Freedom is not an allowance of whatever, whenever, however. We censor behavior of drivers beyond strict limits, censor many behaviors as fouls and out-of-bounds in sports. We censor people in relationships and business from certain acts, and can fire them upon violation. You censor in your place of business those who distract and/or damage your work. You fire destructive people from relationships, and would never invest your time or money for a sport that did not strictly censor behavior.
Our government is paradoxically based on censorship: “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” means any behavior outside constitutional limits is forbidden. This is the paradox of freedom: freedom is only realized within limits.
In these articles, I write for the highest level of factual accuracy and will manage comments with that commitment. Comments and questions are welcome ONLY from those who chose factual integrity.
Please consider that I’m among hundreds of writers who have documented our own government’s disclosure of propaganda programs to support their wars. My articles are subject to such propagandistic attack from comments that use typical rhetorical fallacies to distract readers from the facts. I invite readers to sharpen their ability to discern such propaganda. They are characterized by a combination of: denying facts without evidence, ignoring key facts in lies of omission, lying about verifiable facts as lies of commission, diverting attention through unsubstantiated belief in an alleged expert, irrelevant data, straw-man attack that distorts the facts, ad hominem attack of insults to the messenger, vile comments to repulse readers, and focus on minutia.
I will use such comments to point-out the propaganda or delete them at my discretion. Again, all relevant and polite questions, and factually accurate comments are welcome. As a professional educator I’m in agreement with my experience and research: we learn best from multiple perspectives in mutual commitment to understand the facts, see those facts from diverse points-of-view, and consider various policy proposals of what we should do.
"But now, after having once and for all put to the test the judgments of men, I here again approach these same questions regarding God and the human mind, and at the same time treat the beginnings of the whole of first philosophy, but in such a way that I have no expectation of approval from the vulgar and no wide audience of readers. Rather, I am an author to none who read these things but those who seriously meditate with me, who have the ability and the desire to withdraw their mind from the senses and at the same time from all prejudices. Such people I know all too well to be few and far between. As to those who do not take care to comprehend the order and series of my reasons but eagerly dispute over single conclusions by themselves, as is the custom for many-those, I say, will derive little benefit from a reading of this treatise; and although perhaps they might find an occasion for quibbling in many spots, still it is not an easy matter for them to raise an objection that is either compelling or worthy of response."
- Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, 1641, "Preface to the Reader." This book is usual reading in college philosophy courses today. Descartes is considered the founder of modern philosophy, the founder of analytical geometry (which led to calculus), and a founder of the Scientific Revolution. Descartes was well-known in his age, but highly controversial. His work was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in 1633, and his books put on the Index of Prohibited Books in 1663. The University of Utrecht condemned his work in 1643, where he had previously taught.
For those involved in support of US government-sponsored disinformation in whatever versions of Operation Mockingbird that are active, I invite you to consider the quality of human relationships you wish to create. National security and a brighter future is not a function of fear, manipulation, and control. Our best security follows cooperation, justice under the law, dignity, and freedom. Working for your best imagined self-expression of virtue may include a unique contribution from the inside of your agency. Public attraction to the stories of Star Wars and the Harry Potter books/movies recognize that our society’s jump to civilized relations for all of us might require support from people within the “dark side” acting as covert agents for building a brighter future. Another option is becoming a whistle-blower; Project Camelot is a popular venue for people in sensitive positions. Ultimately, I recommend a Truth and Reconciliation process to exchange full truth for no prosecution, explained in detail at the link. Please consider the wisdom of your own “Scrooge conversion” to act for the benefit of building a brighter future for all humanity rather than propagandizing for your controlling, manipulating, and loveless “masters’” psychopathic policies of violence and suffering.
“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.”