Feb 25, 2014, Robert Johnson
Since the beginning of the Great Recession, policymakers and reporters
have spoken of a growing crisis in public pensions. Many state and local
governments are struggling to meet their obligations to retirees, and
the easiest explanation is that government 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.
Beyond the economic crisis, which put enormous pressure on state and
municipal budgets, a range of factors including poor decision-making and
the influence of big money interests has led to the underfunding of
some state and city public pensions. With a clearer understanding of the
problem, we can begin to take steps to solve it and keep our promises
to public workers.