US Economy on Zombie Watch


A new feature, Zombie Watch…

First, from Bloomberg:

$822,000 Worker Shows California Leads US Pay Giveaway

‘Among the largest states, almost every category of worker has participated in the pay bonanza. Britt Harris, chief investment officer at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, last year collected $1 million – including his $480,000 salary and two years of bonuses – more than four times what Republican Governor Rick Perry received.

‘Pension managers in Ohio and Virginia made up to $678,000 and $660,000, respectively, according to the data, which Bloomberg obtained using public- record requests. In an interview, Harris said public pension pay must be competitive with the private sector to attract top investment talent.

‘Psychiatrists were among the highest-paid employees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey, with total compensation $270,000 to $327,000 for top earners. State police officers in Pennsylvania collected checks as big as $190,000 for unused vacation and personal leave as they retired young enough to start second careers, while Virginia paid active officers as much as $109,000 in overtime alone, the data show.

‘The numbers are even larger in California, where a state psychiatrist was paid $822,000, a highway patrol officer collected $484,000 in pay and pension benefits and 17 employees got checks of more than $200,000 for unused vacation and leave. The best-paid staff in other states earned far less for the same work, according to the data.’

And from R. Jeffrey Smith:

‘Officials in central Indianapolis thought deeply a few years back about what equipment they needed to defend against a local attack involving weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical arms or a nuclear bomb, and their answer was (ba dum, ba dum) a hovercraft!

‘Luckily, the city didn’t even have to foot the $69,000 bill. The funds instead came from a Federal Emergency Management Agency program known as the Urban Area Security Initiative, which has so far spent more than $7 billion trying to make about five dozen of America’s cities safe from the threat of terrorism.

‘When officials in Louisiana calculated how they could best deal with the terrorism threat in their own backyard, their answer in part was – yes, really – a teleprompter and a lapel microphone, again purchased with funds from the FEMA initiative. Similarly, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks officials in California deliberated and decided to buy new fins and snorkels for their dive team.

‘But the City of Clovis in that state was even more creative: They used a $250,000 FEMA grant to buy an armored vehicle known as the BearCat, which wound up being used to patrol at an Easter egg hunt and other public events.’


Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning Australia

From the Archives…

Will Lower Interest Rates Impact Australia in 2013?
7-12-2012 – Greg Canavan

Is the Australian Economy in Recession?
6-12-2012 – Greg Canavan

US Debt: Why America May Need a Bail Out by the IMF
5-12-2012 – Bill Bonner

If Profits are Falling Why are Stocks Rising?
4-12-2012 – Dan Denning

The Frontier Way
3-12-2012 – Dan Denning

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
Bill Bonner

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