Press Release: Public Employee Unions Misrepresent Pension Reform Analysis
August 15th, 2011

A group representing several large public employee unions released a statement last week that mischaracterizes comments by California’s two largest public pension systems about a study of pension reform issues by California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. Continue reading

KXTV News 10 Video: Comparing public retirements to private
August 5th, 2011

The debate over public pension reform is about to get even hotter. California’s state and local government workers make salaries similar to those at large private-sector employers, but get significantly higher retirement benefits. Continue reading

NY Times: California Teacher Pensions Fall Short of Other Public Workers
July 7th, 2011

As states and cities debate whether benefits can or should be cut back for public workers, a new study suggests some of those workers have a lot more to fight for than others. The study found that public school teachers’ … Continue reading

Gates Says Benefits Costs Hit Schools
July 7th, 2011

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates will step into the national debate over state budgets Thursday with a call for states to rethink their health care and pension systems, which he says stifle funding for public schools. Mr. Gates in an interview … Continue reading

VIDEO: Bill Gates Talks State Budgets and Education at TED 2011
May 10th, 2011

Congressional Budget Office: State & Local Government Pension Liabilities Could Be $3 Trillion
May 6th, 2011

Another voice chimed in this week on the unhealthy status of America’s public pensions. The Congressional Budget Office wrote, “The recent financial crisis and economic recession have left many states and localities with extraordinary difficulties for the next few years, … Continue reading

California’s Prison Guards Make More Than Twice Their Counterparts in Texas
April 28th, 2011

As California tries to close a $15.4 billion budget gap, state workers—who earn 25.2 percent more than their counterparts in Texas—face cuts California’s prison guards make more than twice their counterparts in Texas—$71,000 a year, compared with $31,000. That difference … Continue reading

The Public Pension Crisis Is Real, as Fates of Other Cities Show
April 28th, 2011

With the interminable debate we’ve witnessed over pension reform during the last year, it’s sometimes easy to forget that this isn’t just another political shooting match over a characteristically trivial San Franciscan topic. (Dog parks, anyone?) Yet an article published … Continue reading

How Rates of Return Affect Required Pension Contributions
April 27th, 2011

In the post “How Rates of Return Affect Required Pension Assets,” the point is made that depending on the rate of return achievable by the pension fund, there are significant changes to what level of assets are required for that … Continue reading

States Take Action to Combat $1.26 Trillion Shortfall
April 26th, 2011

States are facing a whopping $1.26 trillion shortfall in funds to pay pension and health-care benefits for public sector employees, according to a new study by the Pew Center on the States. Wisconsin and Ohio, both of which made headlines … Continue reading

Pew Center’s State Pension Crisis Update Actually Shows $3 Trillion Sneak-A-Tax
April 26th, 2011

By FRANK KEEGAN – Look past Page 1 of the latest Pew Center on the States’ update of retirement promise shortfalls, and you will get an idea how huge it really is. Right now citizens are on the hook for … Continue reading

Public Employee Pensions, Once Off Limits, Face Budget Cuts
April 25th, 2011

When an arbitrator ruled this month that Detroit could reduce the pensions being earned by its police sergeants and lieutenants, it put the struggling city at the forefront of a growing national debate over whether the pensions of current public … Continue reading

Pew Study Finds Shortfall in States’ Retirement Systems Has Increased
April 25th, 2011

Washington, D.C. – 04/25/2011 – The gap between the promises states have made for public employees’ retirement benefits and the money they have set aside grew to at least $1.26 trillion in fiscal year 2009, resulting in a 26 percent … Continue reading

US States’ Pension Fund Deficits Widen by 26% to $1.26 Trillion, Pew Center Study Says
April 25th, 2011

U.S. states’ deficits in their employee retirement systems widened by 26 percent in fiscal 2009 as governments were stung by investment losses and failed to pay enough into their pension funds, a study found. The deficits, or the difference between … Continue reading

Even the US Can’t Afford Generous Defined Benefit Pension Systems
April 23rd, 2011

The defined benefit is dying. Barack Obama is struggling to keep it alive, but it’s apparent that it’s something that even as bounteously rich a society as ours can’t afford. Yes, I know that “defined benefit” is not a common … Continue reading

New Report Pending: What Will the Nation’s Public Pension Funding Gap Be Now? $3 Trillion? $5 Trillion?
April 21st, 2011

This time last year they said the gap for public employee pension and retirement health care promises was $1 trillion. What will it be when the Pew Center on the States releases its updated study next week: $3 trillion? $5 … Continue reading

Losing 84 Cents on Dollar Reveals Runaway US Public Pension Shortfalls
April 20th, 2011

The deal came together behind the doors of a Louisiana psychiatric ward. John Skannal, 74, signed a document in October 2003 authorizing the sale of land handed down through eight generations of his family. The buyer was a statewide pension … Continue reading

Pensions ARE the Problem
April 18th, 2011

My colleague at The Heartland Institute, Eli Lehrer wrote a rather controversial op-ed for the Weekly Standard recently arguing that “Pensions Aren’t the Problem.” Eli’s piece makes some good points in regards to the public pension debate and has, if … Continue reading

Public Employee Retirements Surge as States Cut Benefits to Shrink Deficits
April 18th, 2011

Teri Essex retired a year earlier than planned when she was offered $56,000 to leave her elementary-school teaching job in Elk Grove, California. Instead of accepting a salary cut, larger classes and less money for supplies from spending reductions made … Continue reading

Experts Tell National Conference of State Legislatures to Fix Pensions, Fast
April 15th, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A lawyer and an economist disagreed about the immediacy of the financial crisis state governments face, but did give about 30 people gathered at a National Conference of State Legislatures session here one common message: Start fixing … Continue reading

Public Employee Fight Comes to Congress
April 14th, 2011

(Reuters) – Political skirmishing in U.S. states about public employees spread to Washington on Thursday, as members of the House of Representatives came to verbal fisticuffs over collective bargaining and a pair of wealthy brothers. The most visible figure in … Continue reading

A Blueprint for Genuine Public Employee Pension Reform
April 13th, 2011

Third of a Three-Part Series Governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey have enacted modest pension reforms so far, yet they have stirred the pot on one of the salient issues of our time: public … Continue reading

Yes, States Can Cut Excessive Government Employee Pensions
April 12th, 2011

Second of a three-part series State public pension systems are in such bad shape that some have called for allowing states to go bankrupt. Aspiring reformers have been reluctant to propose tackling the unfunded liabilities that portend financial catastrophe, yet … Continue reading

Bad Accounting Hides America’s Coming Public Pension Disaster
April 11th, 2011

First of a three-part series How do you solve a fiscal crisis if you don’t have the right numbers? That is the dilemma facing governors, legislators and would-be reformers around the country trying to deal with the public employee pension … Continue reading

The State Pension Time Bomb
April 7th, 2011

Poor accounting rules and flagrant irresponsibility have sped up the states’ day of reckoning. For decades state officials have encouraged adults to believe in the financial equivalent of the Tooth Fairy: that state pensions can yield high returns while being … Continue reading

As US Boomers Age, A Soul-Searching Budget Battle
April 7th, 2011

WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) – In 1983, a civil servant named Robert Ball worked a political miracle: he convinced Republican Ronald Reagan to raise taxes and Democrat Tip O’Neill to accept trims to Social Security. That was the last time … Continue reading

States Increasingly Turn to 401ks to Replace Pensions
April 5th, 2011

Big labor used the 43d anniversary yesterday of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King to hold hundreds of rallies nationwide, attacking “right-wing corporate politicians” for “trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for: the … Continue reading

Think the US Debt Is Bad? Check Out the States
April 5th, 2011

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin talked Tuesday about cutting federal spending by a staggering $6 trillion in the next decade and in the process eliminating the $14.3 trillion national debt. As incredible as these numbers are, all … Continue reading

How Rates of Return Affect Required Pension Assets
April 5th, 2011

While pension finance is a relatively obscure discipline that requires of its practitioners expertise both in investments and actuarial calculations, it is a mistake to think the fundamentals are beyond the average policymaker or journalist. One policy question of extreme … Continue reading

If You Think Unfunded Public Employee Pensions Are a Problem, You Don’t Know the Half of It
April 4th, 2011

This nation is in trouble. Unfortunately, rather than recognize that they are a large part of the problem, today’s union bosses would rather obfuscate and attack those trying to reform the government-union system. Today, unions and their allies are engaging … Continue reading

Public Pension Crisis Has Some Bracing for Worst; Wide-Ranging Reforms Require Back-To-Basics Financial Planning
April 3rd, 2011

Legislative ambiguity about public pension funds, as well as their underfunded status, has financial advisers who work with public employees scrambling to plug holes in their retirement plans. Cash-strapped states and municipalities are confronting the realities of their public pension … Continue reading

More Americans Now Work for Government Than in Several Other Industries Combined
April 1st, 2011

More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined. If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this … Continue reading

Funded Ratios for States’ Pension Funds Continue to Weaken, Says Standard & Poor’s
March 31st, 2011

The funded ratios of U.S. state pension systems continued to weaken during the 2009 budget year despite a strengthening stock market after lows that March, Standard & Poor’s said Thursday. While state and local tax revenue has nearly snapped back … Continue reading

Today’s Class Conflict: Government Employees vs. the Taxpayers
March 29th, 2011

Today’s government workers receive not only better medical benefits and retirement packages than private employees, but significantly higher base salaries, too — as well as easier working conditions and greater job security. I’ve talked a lot about how this has … Continue reading

Double-Dippers Earning Pensions Plus Paychecks Are Targeted by US States
March 28th, 2011

Bill Treacy retired as executive director of the Texas Public Accountancy Board in 2003. Rehired to the same job a month later, he’s been pulling down both a government paycheck and a pension ever since. “The job has to go … Continue reading

The Days of Gold-Plated Public Sector Pensions Are Numbered
March 27th, 2011

Public sector employees, the workforce elite led by state and municipal workers, are now storming legislative chambers to preserve their special status. Wisconsin is the current case study in what happens when the government, a monopoly service provider, confronts the … Continue reading

Public-Sector Pension Wars Are Breaking Out Across the Political Landscape
March 25th, 2011

PUBLIC-SECTOR PENSION wars are breaking out across the political landscape. Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to rein in state and local employee pension costs is central to his explosive battle with unions in Wisconsin. In Costa Mesa, Calif., a GOP … Continue reading

Public Pensions Are in the Red Even With Rosy Assumptions
March 25th, 2011

The decision to avoid the extra upfront expense was, in effect, a government decision to borrow each dollar at a 7.75% rate, says American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Andrew Biggs. Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service have begun treating unfunded … Continue reading

There Are a Lot of People Who Want You to Think There Is No Public Pension Crisis
March 25th, 2011

There are a lot of people, mostly representing governments, who want you to think that there is no crisis in public pensions and there are a lot of people, mostly government workers, who want to believe them.  They have seized … Continue reading

$170 Million in Bonus Payments to Retirees Draw Ire in Cash-Strapped San Francisco
February 25th, 2011

As San Francisco struggles under ballooning pension and health care costs, the city’s retirees will receive unexpected cost-of-living bonuses totaling $170 million. The city’s anticipated budget deficit for the coming year is $360 million.
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