Happy Friday! Here are eight great things I read this week.
Pitchforks and torches
Given probable pension cuts, I have a feeling we'll be hearing more of these kinds of stories:
Over the past 10 years, the five pension funds have paid more than $2 billion in fees to money managers and have received virtually nothing in return, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said in an interview on Wednesday. ...
Over the last 10 years, the return on those "public asset classes" has surpassed expectations by more than $2 billion, according to the comptroller's analysis. But nearly all of that extra gain -- about 97 percent -- has been eaten up by management fees, leaving just $40 million for the retirees, it found.
Nearly half of American families don't save any money:
This is great news for government finances:
A report issued Wednesday says that the most recent official projections indicate that the U.S. will spend $2.5 trillion less on health care from 2014 until 2019 than had been originally estimated at the time the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010.
Penalties of the housing bust are beginning to disappear:
Fair Isaac Corp., which developed the widely used FICO credit scores, estimates that there were 910,000 consumers whose credit reports showed they had foreclosure proceedings begin on their homes between October 2007 and October 2008. Of those, some 264,400 had no evidence of the event on their credit reports by last October. That number will rise by up to 645,600 by the end of this year, according to FICO.
Nice work, if you can get it
BP CEO Helge Lund has been on the job for about two months and is set to walk away with $43 million:
BG Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Helge Lund could pocket as much as $43 million for a year's work after Royal Dutch Shell Plc agreed to buy the company.
Lund, who joined BG on Feb. 9 after heading Norway's Statoil ASA, is entitled to liquidated damages equal to a year's gross salary and 30 percent of base pay, the Reading, England-based company's annual report showed. That could bring his total compensation, including long-term incentive share awards, to as much as 28.8 million pounds ($43 million) by the time the Shell takeover is completed early next year.
The good ol' days are here:
A recent poll asked Americans which decade of the 20th century they would most like to go back to; the most popular answer was the 1950s. ...
It's hard to find a measure of the quality of life in the U.S. that was not markedly lower in 1950 than it is today. In that year the median family income was $28,000, compared with $64,000 in 2013. Life expectancy at birth was 68 years, vs. 79 today, and tuberculosis, syphilis, whooping cough, and measles were still considerable killers -- with prevalence between 10 and more than a hundred times today's levels. One reason for poorer health was lower-quality housing: About a third of houses still lacked decent indoor plumbing (compared with fewer than 2 percent today), and air conditioning was a rare luxury. The homicide rate did climb in the 1960s and '70s, but it has dropped since, and the 1950s level was higher than today's. The year 1950 was also when the Korean War broke out -- 1.5 million American men were drafted to fight, and more than 36,000 died (five times the U.S. death toll in Afghanistan and Iraq).
Starbucks Corp. plans to cover the full cost of an online degree for U.S. employees who work at least 20 hours a week, broadening its efforts to attract and retain employees amid a tightening labor market.
The program expands the coffee giant's partnership with Arizona State University, begun last year, that enables workers to earn full tuition reimbursement for the last two years of an ASU online bachelor's degree. Now Starbucks will foot the entire bill.
Here's a great new interview with Warren Buffett:
Have a good weekend.