AirTalk for August 30, 2012

Are public pensions in desperate need of reform? Or is that just another word for union busting?

Max Whittaker/Getty Images

A sign stands in front of California Public Employees' Retirement System building in Sacramento, California. C

While the economy is undoubtedly the biggest issue in this election, one issue which has proven to be incredibly significant as well is that of pension reform.

In fact, it was so important in Wisconsin that it helped to spur a recall election for the governorship. When Governor Scott Walker won reelection, it showed Republicans in other states and on the federal level that pension reform for public employees can be achieved without losing political capital. And while it may not be popular with the traditional labor forces, it also plays an important role in slashing government budgets, which seems to be a fairly desirable objective these days no matter what one’s political persuasion.

What is the current state of public pensions? What effect are they having on their respective budgets? Is there a compromise that can be reached between lawmakers, workers and companies? Is “pension reform” just coded language for taking down unions? With California’s budget still in limbo, how is this debate playing out in the Golden State? How would a Mitt Romney presidency (and a Paul Ryan vice presidency) affect public pension programs across the country?

Guests:

Congressman Devin Nunes U.S. Representative for California's 21st congressional district, serving since 2003. The 21st district is Fresno and Tulare counties, including most of the city of Fresno

David Spady, California Director, Americans for Prosperity

Dave Low, Chair of Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition group that represents 1.5 million public employees


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