Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

The Broken Promise of Retirement

The New York Review: “If the US does nothing to fix its retirement system, 2.6 million formerly middle-class workers will be plunged into poverty by 2022….Pensions represent more than their economic value. They carry a powerful moral recognition: workers deserve financial stability and the freedom it brings throughout their lives. Municipal and state employees contribute to their pensions with every paycheck, and employer contributions supplement their savings. Earnings from investments, however, make up close to three quarters of the resources that states and cities count on to pay future retirees. It is up to them and their investment funds to ensure that they can cover those legal obligations when they come due. For decades, conservative governors and state legislators—sometimes abetted by liberal politicians—have worked to undermine public employee pensions. They decry profligate government spending, criticizing cities and states for financial commitments that, allied think tanks claim, they will not be able to honor. Cities and states do face challenges in funding their pension benefit obligations; Chicago’s unfunded pension liabilities rose to roughly $25 billion in 2021, and for Illinois the shortfall reached $141 billion. Though many public pension systems are currently solvent, they are still a political target for Republicans because public employee unions, which won and sustain them—and the financial security they provide for their members—form an important Democratic constituency. The Wall Street Journal editorial page once suggested that these unions be labeled “Public Enemy No. 1,” in large part because of pensions…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.