Tags: Putin | Tops | Obama | on | Forbes | NPR Cites Bernie Sanders Rumor EPA Rules 46x Longer Than Bible | Half of Americans 55 Have No Retirement Savings

Putin Tops Obama on Forbes Power List; NPR Cites Bernie Sanders 'Rumor'

By    |   Sunday, 14 June 2015 04:50 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Half of Americans 55+ Have No Retirement Savings
2. Forbes' Most Powerful People: Obama Not at Top
3. 'Water Bandits' Plaguing Drought-Stricken California
4. Amid Layoffs, Disney Posts Record Profits
5. NPR Host Cites 'Rumor' That Bernie Sanders Is Israeli Citizen
6. Obama's EPA Rules Now 46 Times Longer Than Bible

1. Half of Americans 55+ Have No Retirement Savings

The Government Accountability Office has just released data on the financial condition of Americans approaching retirement age, and the numbers do not paint a pretty picture.

The GAO found that 52 percent of households ages 55 and older have no retirement savings such as an IRA or 401(k) plan. While 23 percent of those households do have a defined benefit plan (such as a pension) that typically provides monthly payment for life, 29 percent have neither retirement savings nor a defined benefit plan.

Among Americans approaching retirement age — 55 to 64 years old — 41 percent of households have no retirement savings.

Their median net worth, in 2013 dollars, is $21,000, their median non-retirement financial resources amount to $1,000, their median income is $26,000, and just 22 percent own a home that is paid off. Slightly more than one in three do have a defined benefit plan.

For those with neither savings nor a defined benefit plan, their median net worth is about $9,000, according to the GAO figures based largely on the Federal Reserve's 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances.

In addition to the 41 percent who have no savings, another 20 percent have less than $50,000 in savings, and overall, 55 percent of 55-to-64 households have less than $25,000 in savings.

Among 55-to-64 households that do have retirement savings, the median amount of those savings is about $104,000 — equivalent to an inflation-protected annuity of $310 a month.

Therefore many American retirees will be largely or completely dependent on Social Security for their retirement income. But the average retired worker currently receives only about $1,333 a month, and the average spouse of a retired worker gets around $667 a month.

A report from the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), published after the release of the GAO figures, warns that the Social Security Trust Fund is rapidly declining and will be able to cover full benefits for only another 20 years or so.

Retirement benefits would then be cut by about 25 percent, according to the IPI, dropping the average couple's benefits in today's dollars to about $18,000 — only a few thousand dollars above the current federal poverty level for a two-person household, $15,930 a year.

The IPI suggests that instead of workers paying into the Social Security Trust Fund, they might be allowed to put 60 percent of their current Social Security payroll taxes (from both employee and employer) into a personal retirement account — about $6,000 a year for households with median annual income of $53,000.

If that money were invested in an S&P index fund, with an annual 9 percent growth rate, persons just entering the workforce earning the median income would have about $1.5 million in the bank by the time they reach retirement age.

"The point is that we can easily fix the problem of old and broke in America," the IPI observed. "The current system costs workers a lot of money and they could still end up retired and poor.

"But it will take politicians willing to break with the current Social Security model."

Editor's Note:


2. Forbes' Most Powerful People: Obama Not at Top

For the second year in a row, Russian President Vladimir Putin beats out President Barack Obama for the top spot on Forbes' list of the Most Powerful People in the World.

To compile the list, Forbes says its editors consider "things like financial resources, scope and use of power, and the number of people they impact. This is not a lineup of the most influential or an anointing of the new establishment. It is an evaluation of hard power."

As for Putin topping Obama, Forbes puts it this way: "So who's more powerful: the omnipotent head of a feisty former superpower or the handcuffed head of the most dominant country in the world?"

While acknowledging that "we took some heat" last year for naming the Russian leader as the most powerful man in the world, Forbes explained: "After a year when Putin annexed Crimea, staged a proxy war in the Ukraine and inked a deal to build a more than $70 billion gas pipeline with China, our choice simply seems prescient. Russia looks more and more like an energy-rich, nuclear-tipped rogue state with an undisputed, unpredictable and unaccountable head unconstrained by world opinion in pursuit of its goals."

As for Obama, he seems stymied by "a bloodthirsty militia named ISIS, which [threatens] to undo all the gains of a 9-year war in Iraq that cost the lives of 4,500 Americans," according to Forbes. "At home, racially charged images of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, mock his 2008 message of 'Change.' On the plus side, unemployment is at its lowest level since the Great Recession."

In third place on the Forbes list is Xi Jinping, general secretary of China's Communist Party, "chief of the world's largest economy" and possibly the "most powerful Chinese ruler since Mao Zedong."

Pope Francis is No. 4 on the Forbes list, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is No. 5.

Rounding out the top 10 are Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen; Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and now co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; European Central Bank President Mario Draghi; Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page (tied at No. 9); and David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Financier Warren Buffett is No. 12, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is No. 22, Koch Industries heads Charles and David Koch are No. 24 and 25, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is No. 40, and Clinton Foundation founder Bill Clinton is No. 44.

Editor's Note:


3. 'Water Bandits' Plaguing Drought-Stricken California

With California's long-term drought prompting severe restrictions on water use and driving up prices, so-called "water bandits" are increasingly becoming a problem.

"New police taskforces have been set up to battle gangsters hijacking water tankers, siphoning off private wells and digging under streets to tap into industrial pipelines, after the price of the essential liquid soared," the U.K.'s Times of London reported.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has issued an executive order to cut water use in the state by 25 percent.

Entities found to be squandering water can face fines of up to $10,000, which is raising the demand for illicit supplies.

"The drought is driving up the price of water and you're starting to see people who are desperate for it willing to get it any way they can," John Coleman, who sits on the board of the East Bay Municipal Utility District, told The Daily Beast.

"We've had instances where people have stolen from their neighbor's houses when they're gone to some folks who didn't want to pay for the water and dug under the street and tapped into the main line."

In late May thieves stole a 500-gallon landscaping water truck that was idling on a median near a construction site in Oakland, making off with about $5,000 worth of water.

"The drought could potentially create a market for cheap water, giving any opportunistic thief a good financial incentive," Bill McClanahan, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Essex in the U.K., told The Daily Beast. McClanahan has conducted research on "green criminology" where changes in nature affect crime.

A construction worker in Sacramento was recently nabbed for attempting to pump thousands of gallons of water from a hydrant into a water truck.

In another incident, water bandits struck a drought relief center and made off with a pickup truck, water pumps, and cases of water.

In yet another case, a farmer near Modesto was cited for taking water from a city canal, even though he had been doing just that for 30 years.

As of December 2014, 75 percent of California was suffering from "Extreme" or "Exceptional" drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

According to the Times, far-fetched proposals to deal with the drought have included one from actor William Shatner to build a $30 billion pipeline to bring water from rainy Seattle to Southern California.

Editor's Note:


4. Amid Layoffs, Disney Posts Record Profits

The Disney Corporation didn't appear satisfied with the record-breaking profits it saw in its most recent fiscal year. Shortly after the year ended, the company informed about 250 tech workers that they were being laid off.

Worse, they were being replaced by temporary foreign workers in the United States on H-1B guest worker visas.

Even worse, some of the laid-off workers were required to train the foreigners to perform the jobs they were losing, according to a report in The New York Times.

Disney had the most profitable year ever in its fiscal 2014, with profits of $7.5 billion — up from $6.1 billion the previous year.

Its stock has gone up around 150 percent over the past three years, and its CEO Bob Iger received $46 million in compensation last year.

Disney says its recipe for success includes putting employees first and creating "a culture where going the extra mile for customers comes naturally."

What, then, "motivates a company to replace its American workers with H-1B guest workers? Profit," the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) stated. "H-1B guest workers are cheaper than American workers."

Disney hired HCL, a major India-based offshore outsourcing firm, to bring in its H-1B workers. The firm's CEO once said that recent American graduates are "unemployable" because they expect too much.

These H-1B workers are paid 25 percent less than the median wage of $82,710 for computer systems analysts in the U.S.; the discount is even greater compared to the laid-off Disney workers who had been with the company for many years and were earning around $100,000.

According to federal guidelines, H-1B visas are intended for foreigners with advanced science or computer skills to fill jobs when Americans with those skills cannot be found. The guidelines say their use should not "adversely affect the wages and working conditions" of Americans.

"Because of legal loopholes, however, in practice, companies do not have to recruit American workers first or guarantee that Americans will not be displaced," the Times noted.

"Too often, critics say, the visas are being used to bring in immigrants to do the work of Americans for less money, with laid-off American workers having to train their replacements."

And the EPI pointed out: "Loopholes in the H-1B program make it irresistible to corporations, whose sole goal has become to maximize profits and shareholder value.

"Of course, this business model is paid for by destroying the livelihoods and dignity of tens of thousands of American workers."

Congress, the president, and the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security, the EPI added, "should reform the program so it can't be used to undercut American workers and exploit foreign workers."

Editor's Note:


5. NPR Host Cites 'Rumor' That Sanders Is an Israeli Citizen

Citing merely "a list" as her source, NPR host Diane Rehm mistakenly stated that Vermont senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is an Israeli citizen.

In an interview with Sanders on "The Diane Rehm Show" on Wednesday, Rehm said: "Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel."

A stunned Sanders said: "No, I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I don't know where that questioning came from. No, I'm an American citizen, period."

Rehm attributed the statement to "a list we have gotten."

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said: "That's some of the nonsense that goes on in the Internet, but that's absolutely not true."

"Interesting," Rehm responded.

Sanders, who is Jewish, spent several months at a kibbutz in Israel after graduating from college, but he does not hold dual citizenship.

According to the Daily Forward, Rehm later posted a statement to Facebook noting that she had apologized to Sanders on the air and adding: "I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement. I am sorry for the mistake. However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest."

Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and announced on May 26 that he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination.

Editor's Note:


6. Obama's EPA Rules Now 46 Times Longer Than Bible

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued 3,373 new final regulations since President Obama took office in January 2009, taking up 29,770 pages in the Federal Register.

For comparison, the Gutenberg Bible contains 1,282 pages.

The Federal Register publishes documents including rules, notices, interim rules, corrections, drafts of final rules, and final rules. But in determining that the agency's regulations under Obama total nearly 30,000 pages, CNS News includes only the final EPA rules.

The regulations cover a wide range of issues, including greenhouse gases, air quality, hazardous substances, and emissions.

CNS News estimated the number of words in the new final regulations by calculating an approximate average of 1,000 words per page. The results: The new final regulations under Obama total about 29.77 million words.

The Gutenberg Bible has 646,128 words, so the new EPA regulations issued by the Obama administration now contain about 23 times as many pages and 46 times as many words as the Bible.

When the Insider Report first disclosed CNS News' findings regarding EPA regulations in December, they were "only" 43 times longer than the Bible.

The new regulations also contain 27 times as many words as the 1,084,170 words in the entire Harry Potter series, which includes seven books, double the number of words in the Obamacare regulations, and 6,522 times as many words as the U.S. Constitution.

Observers have criticized the EPA, which has an annual budget of about $8 billion, for overzealous rule-making.

As an example of overkill, CNS News noted that it took the agency 122 pages to offer a "Definition of Solid Waste."

Some state officials are now launching a counterattack on the "overzealous" EPA and its Clean Power Plan limiting carbon-dioxide emissions at existing fossil-fuel-fired power plants.

Among them is Oklahoma's Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who has issued an executive order arguing that the EPA "has exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act."

As the Insider Report disclosed last month, Fallin has prohibited the state's Department of Environmental Quality from participating with the development of plans to implement Clean Power Plan regulations.

In the latest EPA move, the Obama administration proposed on Wednesday to regulate aircraft emissions in much the same way as power plants, saying they are a threat to human health because they contain pollutants said to contribute to global warming.

Note: Newsmax magazine is now available on the iPad. Find us in the App Store.

Editor's Note:


Editor's Notes:

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

1Like our page
Insider Report Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories): 1. Half of Americans 55+ Have No Retirement Savings 2. Forbes Most Powerful People: Obama Not at Top 3. Water Bandits Plaguing Drought-Stricken California 4. Amid Layoffs, Disney...
Putin, Tops, Obama, on, Forbes, NPR Cites Bernie Sanders Rumor EPA Rules 46x Longer Than Bible, Half of Americans 55 Have No Retirement Savings, Water Bandits Plaguing Drought-Stricken California, Amid Layoffs, Disney Posts Record Profits
Sunday, 14 June 2015 04:50 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved