Daily Archives: March 9, 2018

When Thousands of Greek Men Left the United States to Fight the Turks – The Pappas Post

When the first Balkan Wars between Greece and Turkey erupted in 1912, an estimated 25,000 Greek immigrants who had made America their new home packed their belongings and returned to their homeland to defend Greece.

An entire battalion was created from New York City’s Greek population alone. The New York battalion purchased uniforms, equipment, and rifles from the state of New York. The New York National Guard also assisted the Greek cause by offering basic training in military discipline, hygiene, firearms, and the field guns themselves to the newly formed volunteer unit.

Other artillery and infantry units were formed in communities around the country. Overall, the American media dubbed these Greeks the “Sacred Battalions” because they considered their mission to defend their patrida— or homeland— a sacred one.

via When Thousands of Greek Men Left the United States to Fight the Turks – The Pappas Post

Is the USS really in crisis? | The Vision of the Pension Playpen

There is a fundamental difference in the methodology between the situation where the scheme is assumed to be open indefinitely and where it is assumed to be getting prepared to close. In the latter case it must find a way of ensuring it is funded at all times, or at least as soon as possible while it can rely on the employer being able to support it. Volatility of the technical ‘deficit’ due to market fluctuations in asset prices represents risk here. The risk is that the scheme will close and the valuation will crystallise with assets values low due to a depressed market, such that they are inadequate to pay the liabilities. Hence the need for recovery payments to meet the cost of covering this risk.

On the other hand, if the scheme is open indefinitely with a strong covenant, it can be assumed it will never need to close. Therefore asset price volatility is not important. The ability of the scheme to pay benefits depends on there being sufficient investment and contribution income coming in. Therefore market volatility is not a source of risk. There is much less risk and therefore the scheme is cheaper because there is no need to cover it. Also the scheme does not need to invest in ‘safe’ assets like gilts for the same reason. An open scheme can, and should rationally, invest in assets that bring the highest return.

via Is the USS really in crisis? | The Vision of the Pension Playpen

Why are UK academics striking? A beginner’s guide — Crooked Timber

First, the current scheme is already a significantly downgraded version of the pension that was promised to all academics who started working in UK universities prior to 2010. Between 2010 and 2016, the old “final salary” scheme (whereby pensioners would get half of their final salary upon retirement) was replaced with a, broadly speaking, “average salary” scheme (whereby pensioners would get half of their average salary upon retirement). In 2010, UUK stopped offering the old scheme to new employees; in 2016, the old scheme was closed altogether. This change was hard enough to swallow, but academics were promised that it would make their pensions “bullet proof” sustainable. Now UUK claims that the scheme is not sustainable after all, which leads to the second reason for being angry. Over and above the question of “who is to blame” and should carry the burden if the scheme is not sustainable in spite of predictions, many experts question the valuations and analyses offered by UUK, arguing that “there is no deficit”, no problem of sustainability, and that the proposed reform is instead driven by an agenda of “aggressive de-risking” aimed at shifting all risk-carrying to employees.

via Why are UK academics striking? A beginner’s guide — Crooked Timber