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.
Judge Steven Rhodes's recent ruling in Detroit led many to believe that it's open season on worker pensions. The national media declared local governments had new legal precedent to start cutting benefits for thousands of public employees. This is exactly the wrong lesson to take away from Detroit.
We can hear the 'wolves on Wall Street' howling at rising profits and executive salaries -- while the sucking sound you hear are jobs and families flung into poverty. 2014 will require a vigilant vote and voice to make a real difference for a very real problem.
The initiative would not only cut the retirement benefits of future public sector workers, but of current government employees as well. Should the measure make it to the ballot and prevail, that provision will surely trigger a bitter legal fight.
On a range of issues, our state faces tough problems that can only be solved by stakeholders and elected officials working together. The new pension reform legislation, Senate Bill 2404, shows the way.
About 10,000 Americans a day are turning 65 years old. While Wall Street's 401(k) plans have done nothing to help retirees enjoy their golden years, defined benefit plans are the best way to support retirees and allow them to continue to contribute to their local economies.
It might appear that Illinois is just another spendthrift in a nation of spendthrifts (in a world of spendthrifts). But beyond the rhetoric, which appears everywhere, the numbers don't lie. It's not a spending problem. It's a revenue problem.
Michael Peck, chairman of Isofoton North America, a 60-year-old Spanish solar firm investing in solar facilities in western Ohio, asserted that having a truly sustainable economy guided by ESG principles means changing how the culture views workers.
As an advocate for 401(k) participants, the only thing more frustrating for me than not being able to get Capitol Hill to make the plans walk and talk like pensions is tackling "innumeracy" on the part of academics who portray themselves as experts.
We now face a new, but equally dangerous threat to the safety of our pensions, and it's coming from an unexpected source. It threatens not only the health of our pensions but our very ability to control them.