The Pension Gap

Brian Hicks

Updated August 20, 2010


Here’s a train that just keeps on chugging down the tracks. When it gets here it will run us over…

From Bloomberg by Dunstan McNichol entitled: Pension Cuts Won’t Cover a $3 Trillion Bill in U.S., Study Says

“Taxpayers must cover at least a third of a $3 trillion bill for public employee pensions even if lawmakers eliminate cost-of-living increases and raise the retirement age, according to an academic study.

“Even if states uniformly eliminated generous early retirement deals and raised the retirement age to 74, the unfunded liability for promises already made would still be more than $1 trillion,” Joshua D. Rauh, associate professor of finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois, said in a statement.

He presented the paper yesterday to the National Bureau of Economic Research’s State and Local Pensions conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The study of 116 U.S. retirement plans for teachers and government workers showed that as of June 30, 2009, they had $1.89 trillion in assets to cover $3.15 trillion in liabilities, Rauh said. The research used the typical fund’s assumption that investments will earn about 8 percent annually. That is a gap of $1.26 trillion — more than double the shortfall of a year earlier, according to a study by the Pew Center on the States.

Using more conservative investment assumptions, such as the rate of return on U.S. Treasury zero-coupon bonds on June 30, 2009, the liabilities are $5.28 trillion, Rauh calculated.

“Assuming states don’t start defaulting on their bonds and other debts, it seems that taxpayers will be footing most of the multitrillion dollar bill for the pension promises that states have already made to workers,” he said.”

Isn’t government just wonderful?

I guess the rest of us can work until we drop dead so “civil servants” can retire early.

I’ll say it again, the status quo cannot possibly be maintained.

Have a great weekend—if you can afford to be off.

Related Articles:

The $1 Trillion Pension Gap

The Brewing Pension Funding Crisis

Public Pension Funds Head to Vegas

Chanos: The “cracking of state and local municipalities is coming”

Elizabeth Warren on The Shrinking Middle Class

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