Culver City Observer -

Pension Liabilities, Underground Economy and What Bullet Train?



December 26, 2013

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced during a recent visit to Jordan that United States troops could be based in the moderate Arab country for "several years."

The mission of the U.S. force, which includes 1,000 troops and a squadron of F-16 and Patriot missile units, is to prevent the war in Syria from spilling over into Jordan.

In a study of 187,000 nurses referenced in the September 2013 British magazine BMJ, it was found that those who ate at least three servings of blueberries, grapes or apples in a week were up to 26% less likely to develop diabetes. Although oranges and strawberries had no effect, fruit juice was linked to a significantly increased diabetes risk.

From the file "How is it possible?" the Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds last year to people using stolen identities. The IRS sent a total of 655 refunds to a single address in Lithuania and 343 refunds to another single address in Shanghai.

In a study by the Harvard School of Public Health 47,911 men who drank six or more cups of coffee daily had nearly a 20% lower risk of developing any form of prostate cancer.

It's been approximately a month since Manfred Rommel died in Stuttgart, Germany. He was the son of Erwin, also known as the "Desert Fox," who was forced by Hitler to commit suicide in 1944. Manfred was mayor of Stuttgart from 1975 to 1996.

Has it really been almost six years since we voted to establish the $31 billion bullet train? However, a large segment of our population feels laws, rules and regulations have been broken and by March 2014 the courts should have

I am thankful my CPA's motto is, "Don't ask if you don't have a receipt."

Governor Brown signed AB 576 to obtain about $9 billion a year relative to unreported income from the underground economy. All my income is easily identifiable with our government's access to everyone's financial records. So, with everything else, they will soon be hiring the secret financial police to run through our backyards with a pick and a shovel, trying to find the little money we have buried.

Just another thought -- have you been listening to the Wall Street stations on television? Recently they were talking about reverse interest. You guessed right -- the bank might soon charge us a fee to keep our money.

New pension liability standards are set to take effect next year. Over the years I've had several conversations with our Financial Officer, Mr. Jeff Muir, about taxes and income projections and have found him to be very knowledgeable. The problem seen by the Price Waterhouse types is the wildly optimistic government expectations of what their investments will be worth in the future. For example, some states assume a consistent annual return of 7.5% to 8%. Moody's says 5.5% is more likely. Ed Ring of the California Public Policy Center says a 4.5% average return is a more realistic assumption.

There seem to be more rainclouds on the horizon for the Long Beach/Los Angeles Port. Ray Charles can easily see that what's developing will cause an economic crisis in our area. The Mexican government is funding a huge new harbor just south of the border with high speed freight trains capable of whizzing those ship containers back east by bypassing Southern California. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Panama Canal is being enlarged to handle the biggest ships. Our federal government is aiding the State of Georgia and the Port of Savannah to dredge 30 miles to the Atlantic Ocean. It will cost $700 million to make the river channel five feet deeper, and needs to be started soon.

Fourteen cities and three counties in California oppose the sale, purchase and use of anticoagulant rodent poisons. These poisons work by inhibiting blood-clotting factors, causing rodents to die from internal bleeding. A state ban by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Environmental Protection Agency is under review. Knowing how long things take at the State Capitol, perhaps our Council could ban it here.


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