Does democracy cause pension mismanagement?

Red states’ pension management records can be just as irresponsible as blue states’, to be sure. But a new paper suggests that the real threat may come from purple America. The University of Michigan’s Sutirtha Bagchi lays out a carefully quantified case that fiscal irresponsibility stems …

A look ahead at the 2014 elections

With party polarization preventing action at the national level, especially for the last two years of the Obama presidency, the action of American government will continue to be at the state and local level.
There are a number of races this fall with big implications for …

More about our bulging public school payrolls

Back in 2011 I wrote a piece in the Wall St. Journal about the increase in local government payrolls over the decades, focusing in particular on school systems and the rise in both teacher-to-student ratios and also the sharp increase in non-teaching employees. Some defenders of the schools wrote in to suggest the growth in employees had been driven by demographic factors, including a sharp increase in special ed students and students who spoke English as a second language…

How to opt out of public sector unions

Crossposted at economics21.org
This week is National Employee Freedom Week, a nationwide effort of 81 groups in 45 states to raise awareness among public union employees that they can opt out of membership in their unions. Groups also provide members with the necessary help and resources to do …

SEC lashes Kansas with a wet noodle

The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued another toothless set of fraud charges against a state. The regulator has cited Kansas for misleading investors about the condition of its severely underfunded pension system and the risks that purchasers of its bonds potentially faced. As in its earlier actions against New Jersey and Illinois, the SEC levied no fines nor recommended anyone to prosecutors for further investigations, even though all of these SEC actions have accused the states of fraud…

The Big Apple’s big pension bite

A front-page story in The New York Times last week at least briefly pierced the fog of complacency that seems to have once again surrounded the issue of public pensions in New York.
Despite a huge increase in pension outlays since 2000, the hole in New York City’s pension …

ZIRP Myths

Public pension funds around the country are scrambling to reach the ambitious target returns set by state and local governments looking for an easy way out of retirement obligations. The looming pension crisis is aggravated by the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest-rate policy (ZIRP). While being ineffective …

Audit fires up New Orleans’ pension controversy

Should taxpayers be responsible for soaring costs in a pension fund that has been mismanaged by its trustees, many of whom are government workers elected by their colleagues to run the retirement system? That’s the debate playing out in New Orleans, where Mayor Mitch Landrieu …

Is it time for California pension reformers to close shop?

The pension numbers are clear. Despite some good recent returns, California’s pension systems are in a deep hole, the result of a decade of expanding pension promises and underfunding the payment of them. Essentially, all California public-sector workers on the job in the last decade …

Purple reversion? Three questions about the 2014 elections and federalism

The rise of one-party statehouse rule was widely documented following the 2012 election cycle. After the 2000 elections, only 21 states were under the sole control of Democrats or Republicans. Now 37 are.
The cause of this development was states catching up with national political trends. Mississippi …