Patt Morrison for March 14, 2011

State deficits not the fault of your pension plan?

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Thousands of demonstrators protest outside the Wisconsin State Capitol March 12, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.

While thousands protest the Republican-led Wisconsin senate’s vote to limit collective bargaining for public workers, an action said to be necessary in order to rein in spiraling pension costs to the state budget, other states around the country are targeting similar employee contracts with an eye to reducing retirement benefits. But are these pension plans really the cause of high budget deficits? Many experts say no; in fact, they say that not only are these obligations not the burden on public finances that critics claim, but most plans are sufficiently funded and are becoming stronger as the economy and stock market recover.


Dallas Salisbury, president of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonpartisan source of national data and research on retirement, savings, and health programs for employees

Terry Brennand, director of Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security, a coalition of government employee unions with 1.5 million members

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