Public workers may receive reduced Social Security benefits. There’s growing support in Congress to change that
Under the Government Pension Offset (GPO), Social Security benefits are reduced by two-thirds of the government pension amount. If the two-thirds of the government pension is higher than the Social Security benefit, the Social Security benefit may be reduced to zero. This rule has a significant impact on public employees, particularly firefighters, who often work second jobs in the private sector to earn credits toward Social Security.
Edward Kelly, the general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, highlighted the far-reaching consequences of these rules. He expressed that many firefighters also work in jobs like cab drivers, bartenders, or truck drivers, where they contribute to Social Security. However, these public employees are being penalized because of their government pension, resulting in reduced or zero Social Security benefits.
Kelly referred to this situation as theft, as public employees who have contributed to Social Security are essentially losing their money due to their public service. Teachers, police officers, and firefighters, among others, are all impacted by these rules. Kelly described his union members as "passionately angry" about this issue, emphasizing that it affects hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of public employees who have paid into Social Security.
Stock futures dip after Moody’s downgrades U.S. outlook: Live updates
U.S. stock futures dipped on Monday after Moody's Investors Service lowered its U.S. credit rating outlook to negative from stable. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 120 points, or 0.36%, while futures tied to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 both shed 0.5%. Moody's cited the "very large" fiscal deficits and partisan gridlock in Washington as contributing factors for the downgrade. While the U.S. credit rating remains AAA, the highest level, the lower outlook could impact the attractiveness of U.S. debt for foreign investors. The downgrade follows a similar move by Fitch three months ago. Investors will be watching economic data this week, including the monthly federal budget, the consumer expectations survey, and the consumer price index. The major averages are coming off two consecutive weeks of gains, with the S&P 500 rising 1.3%, and the Dow and Nasdaq gaining about 0.7% and 2.4%, respectively.
Wind power industry in moment of reckoning as stocks fall and earnings crumble
Renewable energy firms are facing a challenging earnings season due to supply chain issues, manufacturing problems, and rising production costs. The global demand for cleaner energy is outstripping the capacity of equipment manufacturers, leading to higher production costs and concerns about the economic viability of large-scale projects. Manufacturing faults, especially at Siemens Energy's wind turbine subsidiary Siemens Gamesa, have further exacerbated the situation. The problems have caused Siemens Energy to abandon its profit forecast and seek government guarantees. In addition, wind energy companies often struggle to secure seabed licenses as they are outbid by traditional oil and gas players. Even if they win contracts, electricity prices are often too low to justify the manufacturing costs. As a result, wind energy stocks have experienced significant declines this year. The first half of the year saw the combined assets of the world's eight largest renewable energy firms decrease by $3 billion, with wind projects particularly affected. Analysts view this as a "learning moment" for the renewable energy industry.