Problem not just costs, but mentality of public sector

I cannot figure out why many of our fellow citizens want more aspects of our lives to be controlled by the government. As someone who spends my days watching and writing about government, I sometimes go home with a splitting headache and the need for …

Taxpayers don’t have a chance in the way CalPERS is run

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System may be the nation’s largest state pension fund, basically a government agency with the ability to impose enormous debts on the state’s taxpayers, but those taxpayers don’t even have a minimal say in how it’s run. We can complain …

To hedge or not to hedge

The $300 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), America’s largest public pension fund, is eliminating its $4 billion stake in hedge funds due to their “complexity, cost, and the lack of ability to scale,” the fund’s interim chief investment officer has just announced. But the …

GOP’s Fung has his own R.I. pension reform story

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s victory in the Sept. 9 Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial primary has attracted a lot of national attention (see here, here and here, for instance) in large part because of her successful state pension reforms. But her Republican opponent, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, has his own retirement reforms to tout in a state where municipalities have been under severe pressures from rising retirement costs, too…

Pay to play in PA: Why not bribery as a tool for pension reform?

If you mine down into Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s recent pension report, you can find some gems hidden among the recommendations that I believe risk creating a “financial super-fund site.”  With a few minor tweaks, DePasquale’s proposal could be turned into a robust model …

Raimondo wins gubernatorial primary in RI

State Treasurer Gina Raimondo won the Rhode Island Democratic Party’s nomination for governor yesterday. It was a hard fought race, where public sector unions, who were angry about a pension reform measure she engineered in 2011, backed her opponents.  Her victory is something of a referendum …

Pensions drive local taxes up, up and away in PA….

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s call for pension reform hasn’t resonated with the state’s residents, which is one big reason why Corbett hasn’t been able to persuade even his own Republican colleagues in the state legislature to enact changes to the state’s underfunded pensions. But now that municipal and school taxes are going up around the state in direct response to higher pension costs…

Is Pennsylvania building a “Too Big To Fail” pension system?

Based on recent comments by the state Auditor General, it seems that Pennsylvania’s approach to its escalating pension crisis is to embrace a “Too Big To Fail” structure – by consolidating municipal pension funds into larger systems and then back-stopping the underfunded systems with state …

Haste, not bias is what’s behind Detroit’s grand bargain

Detroit’s bankruptcy plan is finally underway and to no one’s surprise, much of the debate and controversy have concerned the inaptly named “grand bargain.”
As critics have pointed out, it’s not really a bargain or deal at all, but just a plan, for several foundations and …

When reporters don’t bother reading budgets….

The Grey Lady had a story Monday on how Los Angeles can’t afford to invest in its crumbling infrastructure because of a continuing budget squeeze. The story starts off with an embarrassing mistake, confusing the LA County budget ($26 billion) for the city budget ($8.1 billion)–see correction at end of later editions. Then it contains not a single other budget number of consequence throughout, suggesting the reporter never bothered (or wasn’t capable of) reading the city’s budget. That’s one reason why the story only briefly mentions pensions but hangs the problem on a host of other issues including (wait for it) Californians’ aversion to higher taxes (yeah, really)…