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WARNING: Bailout of public pensions looms

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published March 8, 2009

It was a story that didn't get much play, but it certainly should be of interest to all workers in the private sector — those whose pensions have been frozen or even ended, and whose 401K plans have lost more than 30 percent of their value in the past year.

The piece appeared last week on the website Bloomberg.com and was written by reporter David Evans. It carried the headline, "Hidden Pension Fiasco May Foment Another $1 Trillion Bailout."

The following paragraphs sum up what's going on:

"With stock market losses this year, public pensions in the U.S. are now underfunded by more than $1 trillion.

"That lack of funds explains why dozens of retirement plans in the U.S. have issued more than $50 billion in pension obligation bonds during the past 25 years — more than half of them since 1997 — public records show.

"The quick fix for pension funds becomes a future albatross for taxpayers."

Here's a question that every private sector taxpayer should ask: Why should I, whose pensions and retirement plans and even Social Security earnings are in jeopardy, baliout out the pension plans for public employees? 

Until the federal government steps forward and agrees to make every private sector pension and retirement plan whole, the public employees can go pound salt. Let them settle for less than they anticipated. That's the nature of today's economy.

And, given that most of the retirement benefits paid to public retirees are unjustified considering the service they have rendered while on the job, these folks have been living high off the hog for too long.

It's time they faced reality.


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