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Hi folks. Foster here. Today I want to share with you a really exciting and true story and I want to invite your help with this. At Thrive, we’ve been delightfully immersed for the last three weeks in our new Solutions Hub and I’m thrilled to report that we have over 130 groups from around the world already who’ve registered in this network who are working on key solutions (many Thrive-inspired) and linking together to share best practices.
One of the things that has emerged that I’ve been getting educated about by people in our network is a phenomenon called CAFRs, which stands for Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. What this is, imagine during this time when firefighters are having to take pay cuts and police officers are getting laid off and teachers are getting fired and tuition’s getting raised at the universities, people are losing their homes, imagine if you came across a treasure trove of trillions of dollars of your money. That’s what these CAFRs seem to be. It turns out that governments at the city level, at the state level, and at the federal level keep two sets of books. The one is their operating expenses, the money they take in through you every year and the services that they need to put out. Another is what a private institution would call their endowment. It’s their investment fund and they only have to publish the results of that once a year.
Major media doesn’t cover it (with very few exceptions) and it’s pretty much kept secret. I wondered why that is? Many politicians in their local areas probably aren’t even aware of this fund. Sometimes it’s hidden behind terms like restricted or allocated.
But, the fact of the matter is that this is a huge fund in California alone last year. There are $755 billion sitting in this investment fund, invested for the most part with the big banks and the multi-national corporations, and the dividend interest comes in from these investments and, rather than just going into the operating budget, it stays in this, what they call sometimes, a rain day fund. Well, it’s raining. It’s time to access that, particularly because it’s taxpayer money.
The Lone Ranger in this whole story is a man named Walter Burien. I invite you to check him out on the Internet. We’ll have a link at the bottom of this blog that will take you to his website. There are plenty of videos there that can educate you about, really, his heroic journey over the last 20 years trying to bring this to light. And, as you can imagine, he’s been severely suppressed in lots of ways. He’s a former military veteran. He’s an experienced finance and business person. He knows what he’s talking about. He’s laid out the information very clearly to make it available to you at great risk to himself.
So, let’s take an example (because this sounds almost unbelievable). Recently, Stockton, California, a reasonable-sized city of 300,000+ people, just filed for bankruptcy. When I saw that, I thought, “I wonder why they didn’t just tap into their investment fund?” I started looking on the Internet to see what was going on with this and a friend sent me a link to the following clip, which is very revealing. Let’s take a look:
(from news clip)
News Reporter: “Attorney David Mastagni will represent the Stockton Police Union in the AD506 Bankruptcy Prevention Mediation, but says he’s never been this unprepared. The problem: he claims City Manager, Bob Deis, refuses to give him important financial documents.”
David E. Mastagni: “The information that’s needed is the 2011 CAFR, and for those who don’t understand what that is, it’s an audited financial statement that demonstrates what the city’s financial situation actually looks like and where the money actually is.”
News Reporter: “The city admits the annual financial report is late. Councilman Dale Fritchen says it’s usually done by December 1st and he’s never seen it this late before. But the city says it will provide an unaudited copy within 30 days. The union says, “it’s still waiting.”
We don’t know exactly what would be in this year’s CAFR report in Stockton, but looking at last year’s might give us a hint why those wanting to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy would want to delay the report for over six months until after that decision was made. Last year’s CAFR reported $694 million in current assets of which $208 million is in liquid investments. That seems to indicate to me that a slight dip into this hush-hush, rainy day fund could have handled Stockton’s problems very smoothly. Some are even calling this a hostile takeover with the bankruptcy being used as a means of breaking pension and health contracts. This same type of scenario is playing out for cities and states all over the country.
I’m not an expert in this, but I invite any of us who find this situation both outrageous and promising to come up to speed and link our efforts. I encourage you, please search on the Internet (if you’re interested in this) for the CAFR results (Comprehensive Annual Financial Report) in your area, by city and by state, to see how much of your money is stashed away. Then, send in your results to our comment board at the Solutions Hub on thrivemovement.com and together we can expose whatever is really going on and get that money where it’s most needed.
This might seem undoable, that some citizens could take on something as vast as this, even if it’s true. So, if you need an example of what citizens can do, let’s look for a moment to Iceland. As other countries around the world are succumbing to this debt-entrapment by the bankers, Iceland, which was also entrapped by Goldman Sachs and other major banks, finally just stood up and said “No” to much of their fake bank debt and they proceeded to jail some of the Rothschild bankers. The first year, the economy went down over 6%. The next year, it rose over 2%. The next year, again, it rose over 2%. Now, they are doing better than the European Union, they’re doing better than Greece, they’re doing way better than the United States. (You’ll see a link about this where you can check it out yourself at the bottom of this blog.)
If they can do this and show the world what people can do when they get organized around integrity and the truth, then we can too. Do what you can. Send us in what you find. In the meantime, stay informed, stay non-violent, and stay relentless.
Thanks a lot. Bye-bye.