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Public Pensions

The Political Underbelly of the Pensions Crisis: What Broke the System, and How Do We Fix It?

Rob Johnson | Posted 04.27.2014 | Business
Rob Johnson

Many state and local governments are struggling to meet their obligations to retirees, and the easiest explanation is that workers are overpaid and their pensions are unaffordable. But the evidence suggests that the pensions crisis is both less pervasive and more complex than that.

Pensions at a Glance -- Compare Your Country

OECD | Posted 03.08.2014 | Money
OECD

What percentage of GDP is spent on pensions? At what age are people exiting the labor market? What is the poverty rate for those over 65?

Pinching Pensions to Keep Wall Street Fat and Happy

Dean Baker | Posted 10.26.2013 | Business
Dean Baker

The debate over public pensions shows clearly the contempt that the elites have for ordinary workers. While elites routinely preach the sanctity of contract when it works to benefit the rich and powerful, they are happy to treat the contracts that provide workers with pensions as worthless scraps of paper.

Why We All Should Be Watching Detroit Carefully

Madeleine Doubek | Posted 10.06.2013 | Chicago
Madeleine Doubek

Talk of Detroit is all the rage these days, and not because their American League baseball team is far superior to ours. It's the talk because it's the largest U.S. city to have declared bankruptcy and the rest of the nation should be watching to see how that all turns out.

Moodys: Distressed Cities Are Watching Detroit

Reuters | Posted 09.25.2013 | Detroit

July 26 (Reuters) - Detroit's filing for bankruptcy protection is "profoundly meaningful" for the small number of local governments ...

Detroit: The Wet Dream of Wall Street

Lauren Windsor | Posted 09.23.2013 | Politics
Lauren Windsor

The looming time-bombs of unfunded and under-funded pension liabilities threaten to shred the very fabric of American society. Detroit should spur a frank discussion on American values.

For California Republicans, Stunt Politics Worked for Awhile and Then Backfired (Yet Dems Can Still Blow It)

William Bradley | Posted 05.12.2013 | Politics
William Bradley

With Republicans in such profound disarray, can Democrats still screw up their opportunity for ongoing dominance?

Will Jerry Brown Be Unopposed for Reelection?

William Bradley | Posted 05.04.2013 | Politics
William Bradley

Will Jerry Brown be unopposed for reelection? Technically, no. Effectively? We'll see.

How the GASB's New Pension Standards Could Make Things Worse

Josh Rudolph | Posted 10.07.2012 | Business
Josh Rudolph

One can only speculate why GASB chose to preserve wide discretion for states and cities to choose discount rates while requiring less disclosure around funding. Perhaps they think these problems are inevitable, so it's better to duck than take action.

The Real Pension Crisis

Bob Williams | Posted 09.23.2012 | Money
Bob Williams

A new report shows that the public pension picture is much grimmer than official numbers projected. Drastic reforms, innovations and political courage are needed to put our states and municipalities back on the path to fiscal survival.

Local Governments' Financial Woes Putting Retirees' Benefits At Risk

Reuters | Posted 09.01.2012 | Business

By Joan Gralla July 2 (Reuters) - U.S. states and localities have run up more than $2 trillion of unfunded pension lia...

Janell Ross

Public Pension Cuts: Key to States' Budget Fix or Easy Financial Scapegoat?

HuffingtonPost.com | Janell Ross | Posted 03.22.2012 | Business

In a deal done in the dead of night last week, New York became the latest state to drastically overhaul its pension plan against the wishes of its pub...

Good Pensions Serve to Boost Economy, Not Drain It

Gregory Floyd | Posted 05.12.2012 | Politics
Gregory Floyd

Public sector workers are important assets to our communities and the foundation to the middle class. Investing in their pensions for the past 90 years has helped make this city world-class, and we must preserve this legacy.

Should Elected Officials Have to Clock In for Work?

Emily J. Miller | Posted 02.28.2012 | Chicago
Emily J. Miller

A recent BGA investigation found a high rate of absenteeism among some DuPage County Board members. This begs the question: should governing bodies require elected officials to prove they are properly qualifying for a public pension?

Janell Ross

Low Wage Concerns Are Not The Ties That Bind at Zuccotti Park

HuffingtonPost.com | Janell Ross | Posted 12.04.2011 | Business

On Sunday, Jack Adamo stood at the corner of Broadway and Cedar Street, one of the ways into Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, holding a hand-written...

Public Pension Funds Lose Billions Amid Stock Market Volatility

AP | MICHAEL GORMLEY | Posted 10.12.2011 | Business

ALBANY, N.Y. — Wall Street's volatility has hit state pension funds just as they were beginning to recover from the recession, turning what was ...

10 States Where Pensions Are Running Out Of Funds

24/7 Wall St | Posted 07.01.2011 | Business

As the financial obligations and access to capital for states and cities is debated one remedy has already been taken almost universally–cost cuts. ...

William Alden

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter On Pension Reform: 'Some People Will Be Upset'

HuffingtonPost.com | William Alden | Posted 06.29.2011 | Business

CHICAGO -- Just months after Michael Nutter became mayor of Philadelphia in January 2008, the national economy plunged into the worst downturn s...

Vernon City Admin. Gets Almost $520,000 In Annual Pension

washingtonpost.com | Karen Tumulty | Posted 05.25.2011 | Los Angeles

Whoever it was who came up with the phrase "golden years" might have had Bruce Malkenhorst Sr. in mind. The retired city administrator of Vernon, C...

The 16 States That Are Killing Their Pensions

24/7 Wall St. | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business

For decades, public employees have had pension plans identical to those provided by most large American companies. These are defined benefit plans tha...

Less Secure Retirements Lie Ahead

National Journal | RONALD BROWNSTEIN | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business

One big reason public employees are under siege in Wisconsin and other states is because they now enjoy more secure retirement benefits than most priv...

Really Bad Reporting -- Wisconsin Collective Bargaining Dispute

David Cay Johnston | Posted 05.25.2011 | Media
David Cay Johnston

Economic nonsense is being reported as fact in most of the news reports on the Wisconsin dispute, the product of a breakdown of skepticism among journalists multiplied by their lack of understanding of basic economic principles.

Debts Should be Honored, Except When the Money Is Owed to Working People

Dean Baker | Posted 05.25.2011 | Business
Dean Baker

Many think public sector workers are often better situated than their private sector counterparts, in that they even have pensions. But these workers paid for their pensions with lower wages than their private sector counterparts.

The Misshape of Things to Come

Vegas Tenold | Posted 05.25.2011 | New York
Vegas Tenold

While next year's budget may be grim reading for state employees and unions, it is more than likely that it will do little to address the underlying reasons for New York's fiscal woes.

New York's Lousy Jobs (And How We Can Make Them Better)

Amy Traub | Posted 05.25.2011 | New York
Amy Traub

Should we tear down the city's middle class? Or work to turn lousy jobs into good ones? That's the policy choice facing New York's leaders. So far, their decisions aren't encouraging.