Mr. Fletcher...Referring to your article in yesterday's Wash. Post, 10/12/10 - "Report warns of coming wave of municipal pension shortfalls". I noted that you claim that some cities and towns have a collective unfunded liablity of around 540 Billion's and the States an even greater amount--3 Trillions..
Now I do not see these deficit numbers reflected in the combined Comprehensive Annual FInancial Reports (C.A.F.R) of these cities, nor do the 50 State CAFR's show such a deficit. Thus, I wondered if you had researched the CAFR's of each of these municipalities and states to see just what amounts were reflected in their retirement accounts and in other, special and unique accounts that each of these localities and political entities CAFR does reveal.
Perhaps you are not familiar with what these Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports were designed to do, or what are their principal functions, however, the amounts of funds in each of these accounts, many quite similar in their structure, are massive and yet, the public is not that aware of them. Although newspaper editors and a few other sites do get them mailed copies, it appears that there is a bit of collusion between the managers of the CAFR's and the Media to retain them in-house and cloak their contents. I cannot recall in reading your paper, any reference to them.
Consider, for example, in the state of Virginia, its CAFR account holding the "State Employee's Retirement Fund" had in it, 35.6 Billion dollars two years ago...What these amounts are today need a bit of investigation, but that is but one example of how massive are, or were these funds; funds never applied to a political entities budgetary needs, and all, invested in questionable financial instruments.... probably junk bonds and derivatives. Invested by appointed "trustee's" often retired Judges.
But quasi-legal accounts that only get scrutiny from in-house appointees and a few select elected officials such as chairmen of the several financial committees of each political entity. It is the secret slush fund handled by a few elected officials who shunt income coming into a particular political organization into a CAFR account, income usually coming in from off budget sources, port fees, fines, licensing,etc and other unique sources of income to the state or city that collectively over the years, amount to huge sums.
I believe that the total of all Virginia's CAFR accounts amounted to over 56 billion at that same time. In seeking to get answers to what is carried on these quasi-secret accounts, stone-walling from the VA Senate's members and its Finance Committee and its membership was common. I have a copy of letter from the VA Senate's Financial Chairman that would confirm the intent to cloud this issue.
What is needed is a complete exposure of the CAFR system and how it developed over the years and why and how it has been shrouded in mystery, cloaked and disguised to avoid public scrutiny. A review of its history shows that it began way back in 1930's when Rockefeller and company funded several organizations co-located at the "1313 House," accociated with the University of Chicago...as it was known...many of the first participants were active Bolsheviks whose purposes then were quite antithetical to the sovereigny of this nation...that is, until Hitler moved against Russia and they changed sides.
It was there in Chicago that the idea of Regionalism and the division of the nation into 9 geographic regions(See NY Times 21 April 1935) was first concocted, and out of this came spin-off organizations purportedly designed to help elected officials in Counties and State legislatures to "do their job," so to speak. The Association of County Governments, the Association of State Legislatures and a number of other created organizations with but one purpose, to steer and guide elected officials and appointees in the "right" direction....that is, to the Left.
Suggest geting a copy of a publication called "The Book of the States" Vol.1, 1935 published by The Council of State Government and The American Legislators Association..Drexel Ave & 58th St. Chicago, IL...and locate a copy of a speech by retiring Colorado Governor Ralph L.Carr as published in the Wash. Post, Sunday 10 January 1943..a warning of coming events as regards the dictatorship of regionalism..And a letter published in the National Federation of Women's Republican Clubs, 1 Nov.1952 by Mary Mundt, wife of the late Senator Karl Mundt of S.D. -Both working undercover in the 1930's.. (Copies of all are available)
While the promotion of Regionalism was but one of the goals of this 1313 House crowd, another was the creation and formation of the financial takeover scheme called the "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report", a system of accounting that amounted to double bookkeeping that could hide or otherwise cloak funds coming into a political entity and shunt these funds into special accounts managed internally by privy politicians...This system was the main product of an organization that may still exist, a company or organization called, "Metro", which was forced, along with the other created "political aid groups"; the various "Associations" created at the 1313 House, to relocate after the FBI raided them..Moving to the security and obscurity of Kentucky, they remained in place until Roosevelt of other Federal politician gave them the nod to relocate to Washington D.C....Although, Metro remained out of sight in KY..where it is likely still in being.
I suggest that you look up the CAFR accounts that are published on line by those who worked to expose these financial schemes that in reality, defraud the citizens and remove accountability from public scrutiny..Further, I suggest getting in touch with Walter Burien, a former NJ Citizen who has worked over the past 10-15 years to reveal to the public, just what the CAFR really is and what it does to budgets of political organizations..
There is a site that offers help in guiding a researcher into this issue, with a CAFR Review Guide but I suggest making contact with Walter Burien at his own site WalterBurien@CAFR1.com... Otherwise, type in CAFRMan.com and read the several references therein..
I suspect that the CAFR's have kept Wall Street afloat for decades...further, when the "investments" made by these political entities are analyzed, it would appear that "governments" are the single largest combined stockholders in America's corporate world..thus enabling these entitities to make demands on the corporate leadership far beyond what they are politically capable of doing.. Such revelations would certainly shock the nation of publicized and awaken them to what has been done with money that should have been applied to budgetary needs...
J. Richard Niemela
Col. USAF (Ret)
1776 Wainwright Dr.