Coping With the Pension Albatross

By Edward Ring
Instead of the cross, the albatross About my neck was hung. –  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, 1798 In Coleridge’s famous poem, a sailor who killed an albatross has it hung around his neck as punishment. Since then, the albatross, which sailors used to consider good luck, has come to symbolize an oppressive...

TAGS: pension reform, unfunded pension liability

The Bell Syndrome Afflicts More Cities Than Just Bell

By Edward Ring
Remember Bell, California? Back in 2010 the Los Angeles Times reported that Bell city officials were receiving unusually large salaries, perhaps the highest in the United States. For example, Robert Rizzo, the City manager, had received $787,637. By September of that year, as reported on CNN, the California Attorney General filed charges against eight former and current city officials....

TAGS: John Moore, unfunded pension liability

Why Investment Realities Will Compel Pension Reform

By Edward Ring
“For the first time in the pension fund’s history, we paid out more in retirement benefits than we took in contributions.” –  Anne Stausboll, Chief Executive Officer, CalPERS, 2014-2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report There are few examples of a seemingly innocuous statement with more significance than Stausboll’s admission, buried within her “CEO’s Letter of Transmittal,” summarizing the performance...

TAGS: CalPERS, defined benefit pensions, unfunded pension liability

Estimating America's Total Unfunded State and Local Government Pension Liability

By Edward Ring
Summary:  The total state and local government pensions in the United States at the end of 2013 had an estimated $3.6 trillion in assets. They were 74% funded, with liabilities totaling an estimated $4.86 trillion, and an unfunded liability of $1.26 trillion. These funds, in aggregate, project annual returns of 7.75%. If you apply a...

TAGS: defined benefit pension, pension fund solvency, unfunded pension liability

Secret Sheriff Union Negotiations Endanger Orange County’s Financial Future

By Mark Bucher
The Orange County Board of Supervisors has tentatively approved a transparency ordinance, known as COIN (for Civic Openness In Negotiations) that would require negotiations with government employee unions to be open to the public. Boy, do they need it. The current negotiations between the sheriffs’ union and the Orange County Board of Supervisors are a...

TAGS: Civic Openness in Negotiations, COIN, unfunded pension liability