CalPERS is shocked – just shocked – to find cities reeling under the burden of growing pension debt

By Steven Greenhut | The California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s union defenders feign shock whenever pension reformers accuse it of “kicking the east inflatables reviews can down the road” in dealing with the state’s mounting pension debt. It’s like the scene from Casablanca, when Captain Louis Renault is absolutely shocked to find gambling going on in a gambling house.

Steven GreenhutCalPERS is never going to state the obvious: “We know these massive, underfunded pensions are not sustainable, but we’re going to do everything possible to push the problem into the future and blame everyone else for the problem.” But the pension fund’s board might as well have said as much after two actions it took at last week’s Sacramento meeting.

In one case, it decided to seek a legislative sponsor for a bill that would enable it to shift the blame to local agencies whenever such agencies decide to stop making their payments to the fund and retiree pensions are cut as a result. In the second case, at the urging of cities CalPERS decided to delay a vote on a more actuarially sound means of paying off pension debt – rather than risk a fifth rate hike to local governments, and risk a mutiny among hard-pressed local governments.

Both of these actions maintain the status quo and – you got it – kick the can down the road.

To read the entire column on the California Policy Center website, please click here.

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