Reevaluating Pension Entitlements in the Public Sector

January 6, 2011 05:06

Despite our reluctance to talk about it, there is absolutely no question that lavish public pensions are a crippling problem for our country.

By William Sullivan at American Thinker


Unfunded state and city pension liability has been isolated by many analysts as the next big crisis on the horizon. But it looms in relative silence, largely because Americans simply do not want to talk about it.

According to a Heartland report, New York now pays more in pensions and benefits for firefighters than it does in salaries to firefighters.  California spends more on pensions than it does on its state university system.  Illinois’ state pension fund has an unfunded liability equal to one-third of the state’s gross domestic product.  And even more broadly, consider that in the past few years, collectively, all states have “spent half a trillion dollars more than they collected in taxes,” leaving a  “trillion dollar hole in their pension funds.”

You see, where the private sector can be crushed by adverse financial realities like bad markets and bottom lines, the public sector has generally been given its benefits through thick and thin, ready to hold taxpayers liable if the pension funds can’t make ends meet.  Taxpayers have this liability as a result of many cycles of union thugs strong-arming legislators into guaranteeing lavish income and pension increases during times of economic prosperity.

But for the good of our entire nation, it is time for America to curtail the unions’ immense power and demand that the public sector join the realm of fiscal reality, where financial stability, wealth, and retirement income are dependent upon adaptability and performance, rather than entitlement and a reliance on an endless fountain of taxpayer revenue.


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