CAFR1.com | 1. ENRON promoted their profit and hid their debt. Government on the other hand promotes their debt and hides their profit. The reason being is that as government promotes their debt to the public at the front door, and through the back door they are using their own investment funds to fund their own debt and thus locking in the public for repayment to guarantee a substantial profit.
This is done through several methods. The basic is through investment accounts held through domestic and “international” banks, Insurance companies, and brokerage firms. The internal way of doing it is for a state to start a Financial Enterprise Operation as was the case back in the 90’s in Missouri through the creation of The Missouri finance Authority (State created and run operation created without taxpayer approval or general knowledge thereof being that it had no taxing authority) whereby all of the Cities; Counties; School Districts; and State agencies invested through. Example: City (X) invests $100,000,000 and the same City (X) has three bond issuance’s totaling $100,000,000 that are funded by the Missouri Finance Authority. Well, if city (X) was asked “Are you funding your own debt? They could honestly answer “No”. If they were asked: “Do you have $100,000,000 invested with the Missouri Finance Authority and is the Missouri Finance Authority funding approximately 100% of your $100,000,000 in bond offerings, then the honest answer would be “Yes”.
This practice started back in the 70’s across the country and come the year 2000 many local governments were 100% self funded using their own investment assets and as was the case with Missouri back in the 90’s, the outstanding bond issuance that were funded by the private sector they came in and refinanced themselves a a .25 (1/4) pt lower. The only response I received from the investment manager of that authority when I contacted him back in 1999 was: “Look at what a good job we are doing investing the public funds, we got them a quarter point lower then they could have got from the private sector”
2. Most local Government pension / retirement investment funds are set up as “strictly participatory”. What that means is it is like buying a ticket on a train. You get to ride from point A to point C but you do not own one piece of the train when you get off at point C. For the local government employees participating in this type of program they get a ticket to ride under set terms but do not own 1c of those funds, the local governments own the fund; balance; and holdings… This gives a very big incentive for the local governments to play actuarial projection games to inflate the balances being that they are growth in their power base. I put up as an example the NY State Retirement Fund listing of investments for several years for viewing. I note that as you look down the listing of domestic and international investments held you will notice in order of the top profit makers rolling over returns of 200% to 600% over a few years in order of the top four: Pharmaceutical Companies; Bank / Financial Companies; Oil / Energy Companies; War industry Groups. Personally I say that’s a tad bit of a conflict of interest towards the underling motives for policy set me says..
Now you will not find one specific government fund owning by statutory restriction more than 5% to 7% of any one company but from the thousands of government funds large and small you will have in collective totals controlling interest held in these companies both domestic and foreign. (Those collective 5%’s held add up quickly). Now here is where the monopoly of control sets in. Many local governments will now participate with private associations established with nice sounding government acronyms. There may be several hundred if not several thousand local governments that are members. By being members they can assign proxy voting rights to these private associations whereby collective ownership exercised can determine policy and if needed replace the entire board of directors if policy edicts suggested are not followed. This includes mandatory outsourcing to accomplish higher rates of returns for investments held.
Did you just have one of your biggest Ah, Ha moments of your life?
You will never see collective ownership totals by collective local government talked about or qualified anywhere officially for obvious and condemning reasons. The world is not as we are spoon feed to believe it is when government collective ownership totals are tabulated and digested.
An important note here when looking at the above referenced report is that when it comes also to debt held by the private sector either by mortgages or credit cards, please look at the investments shown below the listing of domestic and international companies, You will see the billions in cash loans; bonds held; real-estate held (Condo; apartment; shopping malls) etc. Investment ownership by government branches out into many different arenas which before reading this most probably assumed were held by private investment and not government.
On a last note, let me qualify how a profit is turned into an “advanced liability”. Here I will use a county run recycling plant as an example. The public is pitched that recycling is a good thing and passes a fifty million dollar bond issuance to build a recycling plant. The plant is built and mandatory recycling is enforced in the county. I note that this is supposed to be a “NON-PROFIT” government run enterprise operation; Well, within the first year the recycling plant generates 45 million dollars and its cost for operation is 35 million so the buy more equipment and expand there personnel to eat up the extra 10 million to be a not for profit operation, BUT they know their curve is going to yield a 25 million dollar profit next year, SO they contact an actuary and say: “We are doing so well that in fifteen years we are going to have to expand our operation five times fold, how much money are we going to need?” The actuary then takes into account land; equipment; personnel; transfer costs; etc., and comes up with a figure of say 780 million dollars needed 15 years down the road to get this done….. SO, then the recycling plant as expected makes a 25 million dollar profit BUT monthly or quarterly makes a payment into the advance liability account equaling 25 million dollars listing it as a line item operating liability payment and voi’la’ no profit for the year. The same happens each following year as the fund of 780 million is built. Now if they want to take it a step further in year five and they make a 45 million dollar profit for the year but funnel 55 million dollars into the advance forward liability account, they can come back on the residents and say: “Gee we all know that recycling is a good thing, but we are operating at a 10 million dollar deficit on our “operating budget” and we are going to have to raise collection fees”. This is one way of turning a profit into an advance forward debt.
Well, if the public does not know about the advance forward liability account the increase in fees slides right in without opposition where as in the alternative if the public did know that an advance liability account existed of several hundred million dollars (only “discreetly” accounted for on the books of the county enterprise operation’s Annual Financial report and not the County’s AFR), they would in most probabilities organized to cancel any collections fees and take a very close look at government operating as a for profit enterprise under mandatory terms in their own back yard.
I hope I have given some substantial food for thought to the readers here. When there is great wealth the potential for great theft exists.
By Walter Burien – CAFR1.com