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June 23, 2011

Let's fix this Public Sector Union pension problem!
We just need to kick in 1,400 bucks per household!
A Year.
For 30 Years.
[Arthur K]

De Rugy lays out just how much of a mess we worked ourselves into over the last couple of generations.


These quotes speak for themselves. I've got nothing to add... except Read The Whole Thing.

...contributions to these systems (state and local pensions) would have to immediately increase by a factor of 2.5...

Shifting all new employees onto defined contribution plans and Social Security still leaves required increases at an average of $1,223 per household. Even with a hard freeze of all benefits at today’s levels, contributions still have to rise by more than $800 per U.S. household to achieve full funding in 30 years.

I know you've heard this next bit in the next paragraph a 100 times just on this blog, but it bears repeating because it is the key point of this whole mess.

But public workers have a unique relationship with elected officials, because government employees are effectively negotiating with bosses whom they can campaign to vote out of office if they don’t get what they want. ...

California alone needs to begin devoting an additional $28 billion a year to state and local public pensions to remedy an existing shortfall, according to one nonpartisan study - and nationwide, estimates of such deficits reach into the trillions over the next few decades.


"We had no idea what we were doing," said Tony Oliveira, who as a supervisor in Kings County, in central California, voted to increase employees’ benefits, and now is on the board of the state’s enormous pension fund. "This was probably the worst public policy decision in the state’s history. But everyone kept saying there was plenty of money. And no one wants to be responsible if all the cops quit to get paid more in the next town."


... there is a bigger policy lesson in these changes: Some promises are simply unsustainable, so lawmakers need to stop making them. Broken promises have a staggeringly high price for everyone (taxpayers, yes, but also the public employees who were kept under the illusion that the impossible was possible), on top of the cost of maintaining an unsustainable system in place for years.






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