Pensions

How California embraced Corporate Socialism

How California embraced Corporate Socialism

Gavin Newsom, the lily white, urbane, coiffured scion of San Francisco’s posh royalty, is California’s highest ranking Democrat. He presides over a party that has taken progressive ideals beyond absurdity to the brink of tyranny. One would think that the party of Gavin Newsom is bent on destroying everything Gavin Newsom represents. So what’s going on?...

By Edward Ring

California Dystopia Update: The January 2020 edition

California Dystopia Update: The January 2020 edition

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom presented a 2020-21 state budget that includes more money for K-12 public schools than ever before. But even as metrics-driven education reforms over the past quarter-century have paid major dividends in both union states (Massachusetts, New Jersey) and non-union states (Florida, Texas), California lawmakers have never seriously considered trying to...

By Chris Reed

Pension reform waits for California Supreme Court

Pension reform waits for California Supreme Court

With markets fitfully advancing after a nearly two year pause, the need for pension reform again fades from public discussion. And it’s easy for pension reformers to forget that even when funds are obviously imperiled, with growing unfunded liabilities and continuously increasing demands from the pension funds, hardly anyone understands what’s going on. Unless you are sitting on a...

By Edward Ring

The profligacy of legacy costs

The profligacy of legacy costs

Better pay and working conditions for teachers can be achieved, if only the unions would get out of the way. We live in striking times. In 2018 there were state-wide teacher work stoppages in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, et al. And this year, we have seen strikes in Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago. Not surprisingly,...

By Larry Sand

The Cost to Taxpayers of Enhancing Sonoma County Employee Pensions

The Cost to Taxpayers of Enhancing Sonoma County Employee Pensions

In the early 2000s, along with many other cities, state agencies and counties in California, Sonoma County enhanced their employee pension benefits. As of 6/30/2018, Sonoma County’s pension system had $2.7 billion of invested assets, but nearly $3.1 billion in actuarial accrued liabilities. To what extent is its $400 million unfunded liability attributable to the...

By Edward Ring

How much will YOUR city pay CalPERS in a down economy?

How much will YOUR city pay CalPERS in a down economy?

CalPERS still hasn’t issued their actuarial analyses for the period ending 6/30/2018, even though a year ago, the 6/30/2017 analyses were available. Could it be related to the fact that the DJIA index on 10/01/2018 was 26,447 and as of midday 10/01/2019 it sits at 26,599? Did CalPERS have a bad year and what does that mean? What...

By Edward Ring

Romanticized fiction trumps facts

Romanticized fiction trumps facts

A blockbuster report exposes myths about the teaching profession, but will it matter? People love stories, and the gooier and more heart-rending the better. Few are more likely to send readers running for a box of tissues than the tale of a dedicated, but woefully underpaid teacher who is forced to take a second job,...

By Larry Sand

Teacher union mandates lead to teacher shortages

Teacher union mandates lead to teacher shortages

The unions treatment of teachers as interchangeable parts does great damage to the education process. In my post last week, I gave ample proof that the claim of a nationwide teacher shortage is bogus. For example, in California, where the  teachers unions insist that teachers are “leaving the profession in unprecedented numbers,” there is no widespread...

By Larry Sand

The Real Reason Behind the Drive to Unionize Charter Schools

The Real Reason Behind the Drive to Unionize Charter Schools

Want to know another reason California’s teachers unions are desperate to unionize charter schools? They want the leverage to force these schools to participate in CalSTRS, because CalSTRS charges all its participants the same pension contribution rates. This is a truly amazing, grotesquely unfair, astonishing scam. It means that new schools have to pay for...

By Edward Ring

City of Richmond faces pension stress

City of Richmond faces pension stress

here Pick a city in California. Pick a county in California. Odds are, they could be the topic of this analysis instead of Richmond. But Richmond is the focus of a recent analysis published in Reason entitled “Richmond, California’s Finances Remain Shaky,” and that work provides solid data from which to take a deeper look at what’s truly driving...

By Edward Ring

Were Pensions Benefits Retroactively Enhanced Without Notifying the Public?

Were Pensions Benefits Retroactively Enhanced Without Notifying the Public?

In 1999, at the height of the stock market runup fueled by the internet bubble, California’s state legislature passed SB 400, which increased pension benefits for officers with the California Highway Patrol. Over the next several years, pension benefits were similarly increased for government employees working in nearly every one of California’s cities, counties, state agencies,...

By Edward Ring

Will Unions Promote Defined Contribution Plans the Way They Promote Pensions?

Will Unions Promote Defined Contribution Plans the Way They Promote Pensions?

The virtue of a defined contribution plan is that once the employer has made their contribution, the employer’s obligation is fulfilled. The employee’s retirement benefit is based on a “defined” contribution – typically some fixed percentage of their base pay – that money is invested, and the retiree lives on the accumulated savings and interest....

By Edward Ring

Elizabeth Warren’s Private Equity Plan May Harm Public Employees

Elizabeth Warren’s Private Equity Plan May Harm Public Employees

Last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a 2020 presidential candidate, proposed a plan to rein in private equity funds that engage in leveraged buyouts—acquiring companies with large amounts of borrowed money. Although the idea of cracking down on financial engineering is attractive to many, it could have the unintended consequence of lowering asset returns for public...

By Marc Joffe

Six facts about state and national teachers’ unions

Six facts about state and national teachers’ unions

As anyone who’s been a public school teacher can tell you, plenty of false messages circulate about union membership: whether it’s required, why it exists, and whom it benefits (or harms). Free to Teach wants you to know what’s up. Below are six of the most common issues the major state and national teachers’ unions don’t...

By Editorial Staff