CalPERS faces steep climb to rebuild its funding

Last year was one of the best ever for the CalPERS investment fund, a gain of $47 billion that boosted the total to $350 billion. But pension funding only increased from 68 to 71 percent of the projected assets needed to pay future costs.

A CalPERS report last week said investments earned 15.7 percent last year, nearly double the 7 percent target. Now after a lengthy bull market experts predict CalPERS returns will average 6.2 percent next decade, then increase to average 7 percent in the long term.

That a $47 billion investment gain only makes a small change in pension funding shows the difficulty CalPERS still faces in recovering from a $100 billion investment loss a decade ago, when the funding level nosedived from 101 percent to 61 percent.

During the financial crisis and stock market crash, the California Public Employees Retirement System investment fund plunged from about $260 billion in 2007 to $160 billion in 2009. How debt outpaced funding since then is shown in a chart in the new report (see below).

The failure of CalPERS funding to recover to the traditional level of 80 percent or more leaves little cushion to absorb another big investment loss. Experts have told CalPERS that if funding drops below 50 percent, recovery becomes even more difficult if not impossible.

CalPERS is at the mercy of the market. Most of the money needed to pay future pensions, 61 percent, is expected to come from investments. Employers are expected to provide 26 percent of the funding, employees 13 percent.

Even if there is another major market crash, CalPERS would be far from danger of running out of money. It paid $21.4 billion in pension benefits last fiscal year, while employers contributed $12.3 billion and employees $4.2 billion.

The new report, “A Solid Foundation for the Future,” shows CalPERS no longer has “negative cash flow” requiring the sale of some investments to help pay pensions each year. For two decades, employer-employee contributions and investment income will cover the cost.

Three changes are expected to strengthen CalPERS funding. The investment earnings forecast used to discount pension debt was lowered from 7.5 to 7 percent, triggering a local government employer rate increase of about 50 percent for cities over the next seven years.

The 3,000 local governments in CalPERS (half are schools) have a range of funding from high to low. The new rates may force some service cuts, employee reductions, tax increases and test the “sustainability” of current pensions.

A new CalPERS investment allocation increased predictable bonds or fixed income from 19 percent to 28 percent of the portfolio. Riskier but higher-yielding stocks are 50 percent, private equity 8 percent, and real estate 13 percent.

California pension systems were originally limited to bond-like investments. Voters approved Proposition 1 in 1966 allowing 25 percent of investments in blue-chip stocks. Proposition 21 in 1984 allowed any “prudent” investment.

The third change is a cost-saving reform that shortens the payment period for new debt or “unfunded liability” from 30 to 20 years. The debt is usually from below-target investment earnings, the adoption of a lower discount rate, or longer expected life spans.

The new debt payment, possibly requiring a small employer rate increase, is a fixed dollar amount that doesn’t change. It replaced a fixed percentage of pay that began too low to cover the debt interest and slowly grew with the payroll.

The new policy ends “negative amortization” under the old 30-year payment that allowed the debt to grow for the first nine years and did not begin paying down the original debt until the 18th year.

As a maturing pension system, CalPERS faces another funding difficulty. The pension fund has become much larger than the payrolls on which rates are based. So a larger employer rate increase is needed to replace investment losses.

A California State Teachers Retirement System risk report two years ago gave an example. When the payroll and the pension fund were about equal in 1975, a loss of 10 percent below the investment target could be replaced by a 0.5 percent of pay increase over 30 years.

Now when the CalSTRS investment fund is about six times larger than the total member payroll, replacing a 10 percent loss would require a rate increase of about 3 percent of pay over 30 years.

An annual report on state pension funds issued by the Pew Charitable Trusts last week said the average nationwide funding level in 2016 was 66 percent, a little below the CalPERS 68 percent funding then.

“In 2016, the state pension funds in this study cumulatively reported a $1.4 trillion deficit—representing a $295 billion jump from 2015 and the 15th annual increase in pension debt since 2000,” said the Pew report.

The report listed five states with funding below the 50 percent CalPERS regards as a redline: Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky and New Jersey, which had the lowest funding level, 31 percent.

Pew listed four states that were at least 90 percent funded: New York, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin, which had the highest funding level, 99 percent. The Pew state pension fund report in 2010 called Wisconsin a “national leader.”

That year former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle told a Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles that all of the Wisconsin state and local government pensions, except the city and county of Milwaukee, were consolidated in the 1970s.

An unusual dividend feature allows Wisconsin retiree payments to be cut in hard times and increased in good times. After strong returns last year, the Employee Trust Funds department said retirees will receive an increase of at least 2.4 percent beginning in May.

Doyle said Wisconsin tries to keep the system fully funded. When the funding level fell to 82 percent after the stock market crash in 2008, the state added a contribution of about $200 million to bring the funding level back up to near 100 percent.

“I would love to take credit for this,” said Doyle. “But this is something that’s built into our culture for a long period of time. I will take credit for, even in these very dire times, we have never deferred payments. We pay them in.”

The first of four CalPERS employer rate increases after the 2008 crash did not come until 2012, when the discount rate was lowered from 7.75 to 7.5 percent. The second rate increase was the adoption of the 30-year debt payment.

CalPERS had been using a rare 15-year period to “smooth” investment gains and losses, far beyond the typical three to five-year period, and a “rolling” or “open” debt payment that was refinanced every year and theoretically might never pay off the debt.

Gov. Brown put the spotlight on the need to more quickly pay pension debt with a $6 billion extra payment to CalPERS last year for state workers. This week the CalPERS board is expected to set employer state worker rates for the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

The staff recommendation, routinely approved by the board, is a $6.4 billion payment, up $424 million from the employer contribution for state workers in the current fiscal year. The payment was reduced $177 million by the extra $6 billion contribution.

Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades, most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at Calpensions.com. Posted 16 Apr 18

37 Responses to “CalPERS faces steep climb to rebuild its funding”

  1. Larry Stirling Says:

    And the reason they have any hope of doing so is the investment discretion my and Lou’s constitutional amendment gave them.

    And it took me two tries to make that happen.

    Otherwise they would have continued to be bled by the arbitragers , “borrowers,” and outright thieves that had been sneaking out millions of taxpayers money right under the trustees dummass noses.

  2. rstein171 Says:

    CALPERS needs to support DEFINED BENEFITS to keep their jobs.

    Those unfunded pension liabilities are SUPPOSED to continually increase due to the cause of those unfunded liabilities, Defined Benefits. We’re constantly trying to put band aids over the wound, but the only way to heal the wound is to change Defined Benefits to Defined Contributions, like the rest of the world.

    Since the public pension system is severely underfunded, city governments need to fund the retirements of former employees by taking money from government services as the increasing pension costs will likely continue to crowd out resources that otherwise would go to public assistance, recreation, libraries, health, public works, and in some cases public safety. Benefit costs are slowly crowding out the discretionary money available for states, districts, and schools to spend on other priorities.

    “Defined retirement benefits” are creeping into budgets, especially when those benefits are underfunded. The unintended consequences are that it’s unfortunate that future generations, unable to vote today, will bear the costs of many enacted pension programs, entitlements and boondoggle projects, requiring the younger generations to pay higher taxes and work later into their lives to pay for these promises.

    The international business world is intelligent enough to know that DEFINED BENEFITS, neither capped nor precisely quantifiable in advance financial disasters to any business, thus all businesses focus on the known, i.e., defined CONTRIBUTIONS alone.

    Stealing from the young who have no votes, but silently shoulder the costs and bear the burden of unfunded promises of these programs to enrich the old seems to describe the Governments expansion of entitlement benefits and other government services, along with the taxes young people will have to pay to support them, mostly to subsidize older Americans.

    Even before those young folks can vote, our Golden State schools are on track to force substantial budgetary cutbacks on core education spending, as public schools around California are bracing for a crisis driven by skyrocketing worker pension costs that are expected to force districts to divert billions of dollars away from education and other government services.

  3. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    The graph is from a CalPERS publication…

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.letstalkpensions.com/sites/default/files/CalPERS%2520%2526%2520Pensions_is_7.10_IS.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwj9ksCpjr_aAhVQQq0KHdSbASkQFjAAegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw0JuaLIIQ8dyHiHLQ7nseVz

    But in the orange box at year 1999, it states “the unfunded liability from SB400 has been paid off”

    With no further explanation. What does that mean CalPERS?

  4. Kris Hunt Says:

    I cringed at the phrase “to recover to the traditional level of 80 percent or more” because 80% is way too low a level. However, the public employee unions have pushed that level to keep their contributions low and CalPERS was happy to oblige. At this point in this extended bull market, CalPERS should be over a 100% funded to cover the inevitable market downtown. Instead it is having to raise rates to cover its previous financial fantasy world.

  5. larrylittlefield Says:

    “That a $47 billion investment gain only makes a small change in pension funding shows the difficulty CalPERS still faces in recovering from a $100 billion investment loss a decade ago, when the funding level nosedived from 101 percent to 61 percent.”

    The idea that pension funds were 100 percent funded in 2000 is the elder-lie, the lie that begat all the lies told since.

    What you had in 2000, and today, was a stock market bubble. Assuming a typical long term return from already inflated asset levels was and is a lie.

    Frankly, the 6.2% is another lie. That would require a 4.0% return on U.S. Treasuries, which would tank the economy and stock prices.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/pensions-the-nature-of-the-lie/

    Past returns have nothing to do with the pension crisis. It is caused Generation Greed’s unfunded retroactive pension increases, and underfunding of the pensions public employees had been promised to begin with, with the distribution of the guilt varying from the place to place.

    That same lie was used to justify the unjustified explosion of executive pay in the 1990s, which was never reversed. It is the executive/financial class, the political/union class, and the serfs.

  6. Pete Smith Says:

    So, in other words Ed, with the new CALPERS discount rate of 7%, and an amortization period of 20 years for the unfunded liability, CALPERS will be 100% funded in 20 years should they hit their rate of 7% a year for the next 20 years.

    If they perform better than 7% in a given year, that will shorten the 20 year period to full funding; should they underperform that will lengthen the years to full funding. And, should the over performing and underperforming years balance out during that 20 year period, they will likely be fully funded in 20 years.

    Now, that’s a shorter and less alarming column—maybe that’s why it wasn’t written.

  7. spension Says:

    “In 2016, the state pension funds in this study cumulatively reported a $1.4 trillion deficit—representing a $295 billion jump from 2015 and the 15th annual increase in pension debt since 2000,” said the Pew report.

    Page 22 of the following link: the US Military Pension system has a $0.9316 trillion deficit:

    http://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/documents/cfs/fy2017/13_Military_Retirement_Fund/FY2017_MRF_AFR_Final.pdf

    Never see any drumbeat of concern about the military DB system, which allows retirement at age **37**.

    Most likely: pension hawks only hate DB pension debt in the US States… they are unconcerned about DB pension debt for the military. Which shows how completely political (and not fiscal) their concerns are.

    Me… treat *them all the same*. Default at the Federal level and at the State level should be considered, including default on all *other* Federal and State debt instruments. Debt to pensioners is no less important than debt to foreign or domestic bondholders.

  8. moore Says:

    A couple of points: First, for a contrary analysis of the effect of the 2007-8 crash see the March 26, 2018 post of David Crane(Medium) “More Pension Math: Ca. Pensions Didn’t Lose Money in the Great Depression”, and Second, the analysis does not include pension bonds in the funded level(in many agencies that drops the funded level by more than ten percent).

    If a city or county had a pension reform legislative majority, it could freeze salaries until the unfunded deficits disappeared, or, it could get the unions and staff to agree that any raises would not constitute compensation for pension purposes.
    I note that the city of Vallejo had frozen salaries since 2004, but is now trying to raise salaries for two job types. Recall that it went thru a “suicide bankruptcy” (one that did not reject its defined pension plan).

  9. Marco Says:

    Wow, 15.7% last year! The unmanaged S&P 500 index total return was 21.14%

    Looks like another year of CalPERS underperforming the unmanaged index.

  10. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    CalPERS doesn’t put all it’s eggs in one basket…

    50% in Global Equity
    28% Fixed Income
    13% Real Assets
    8% Private Equity
    1% Liquidity

    And I believe they do use a variety of index funds.

  11. spension Says:

    Marco, no sensible investor is 100% in the US Stocks like the S&P. The volatility is too high and the years of higher returns don’t pay back the risk. That is why S. Mod Doug points out the more balanced, diversified investment pool that CalPERS uses.

    Nobody should ever judge any fund on 1 year of performance either. At least 30 years of performance is necessary for a sensible evaluation.

  12. moore Says:

    Another important point is that last years investment returns were 15.7% of 69% of the PERS liability. Not 15.7% of its [resent value of benefits(the true base requiring 7.25% compounded)

  13. burkmere Says:

    Marco’s point, I think, is that CALPERS engages in market timing by active management, etc. By doing one mouse click forever, the S&P beats the pants off of CALPERS. In fact, I would have to be personally trying to do as crappy as they have done. They could also use the Total Stock Market index fund, fire all it’s managers and since CALPERS and it’s agencies will be around forever, forget a out it’s incompetent investment team.

  14. Marco Says:

    Spension, asset allocation and diversification matter if you have a limited number of years to work. You must then be more conservative with your investments as you age, because you do not have the time to recover from a bear market.

    CalPERS has a lifespan and investment horizon of forever. The pension fund does not need to worry about what the market does over the short term.

  15. CalPERSon Says:

    Two thoughts —

    Last year CalPERS had a -$5 bil net drawdown paying benefits out of $351 bil in assets. That’s it? At that rate it’ll take CalPERS 70 years to run out of money… except by then every member and retiree will be on PEPRA and all of the legacy members will be dead and gone. What are the pension alarmists all up in arms about again? I think Pete Smith has it right: CalPERS has set in motion course corrections that will result in a much healthier pension system in 20 years.

    Is rstein171 a sock account of Tough Love? Same repetitive posting style.

  16. Tough Love Says:

    CalPERSon,

    No. Even I can’t stand his repeating of the SAME thing over & over!

  17. acc Says:

    @CalPERSon So if we have 70 years of play in the steering wheel, why force a “ramp up” that is already costing public services, schools, safety and jobs? We so flush.

  18. SeeSaw Says:

    Mr. Moore, PEPRA does have a cap on pensionable income.

  19. Tough Love Says:

    The PEPRA pensionable income cap ONLY applies to new hires starting 1/1/13, which means it likely excludes 80-90% of the current workforce. And how many workers with such short service are making high enough wages to currently be “capped”? 1% would likely be a high guess.

    An even though the % of workforce subject to the PEPRA cap will SLOWLY increase over time, given that the cap increases with the CPI, It’s going to be a VERY VERY long time (decades) before it has any material impact on reducing CA’s now LUDICROUSLY excessive Public Sector pensions.

  20. spension Says:

    Marco, I disagree. The regular updating of debt projections makes too much volatility a political nightmare, as we’ve seen from 2009. Pension hawks revel in throwing up huge debt numbers a stock cycle bottom.

    Indeed, it may be that you are trying to stop DB plans by encouraging them undertake extreme volatility.

    Of course in the 30-60y time frame, portfolios of nearly pure stocks have the best performance and the least volatility. But in any one year Black Swan events might cause political termination of the plans.

    Tough Love… how about limiting all military post-employment benefits, including perks like PX, golf course fees, transport for retired generals, etc… to the PEPRA cap? Doubt you advocate that. Because in your opinion, military brass deserve all the taxpayer gravy they can grab.

  21. Kristine Hunt Says:

    CalPERS own experts are looking at a 6.2% rate of return over time, the 7% they are gliding down to is a fallacy but as usual, CalPERS is playing politics instead of finance which is how they got in this mess. CalPERS rates build the assumed rate of earnings into their rates, so a 15.7% has to have the assumed rate deducted so it is not the massive earnings it appears to be. If the CalPERS retirees were so confident that CalPERS would earn the rates, they should agree to fund the shortfall themselves. Oops! They don’t seem to want to jump on that wagon.

  22. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    between scylla and charybdis

    CalPERS -could have- reduced the discount rate immediately after the 2008-2009 crash*, and immediately begun bringing the fund back into balance, but at what cost to local governments?

    During the Greatest Recession, when unemployment is high, government revenue is at an all time low, and social welfare needs are greatest, double the required contributions. What could go wrong?

    It can be done…

    See “New York pension systems outperform California”,. Calpensions May 1, 2017

    * Of course, they could have reduced the discount rate before the crash, and been better able to weather the losses. More conservative assumptions. That would be real pension “reform”.

  23. SeeSaw Says:

    TL, PEPRA just entered it fifth year–that means that hundres, I don’t know–may thousands of workers have retired and a like number has replaced them. And,, unfortunately because of the financial problems of some entities, the new workers are not getting pension benefits. How would you like to work 39-hours per week with wages alone? That is what is now happening in my former entity.

    Prior to PEPRA. respective, entities had and still have the ability to enact their own pension reforms within the guidelines of statutory law on the books. My own entity reformed its FF forumla for new hires in 2005 and its miscellaneous formula prior to PEPRA. That is the only meaningful way that reform is going to happen in CA. Looking back, I certainly would not have been happy if my pension formula had been arbitrarily lowered by my employer before I retired. My medical benefit which was not vested via the CA constitution like the pension, was capped, one-year before I retired, behind my back, via collusion between management and my union, and I am still privately fuming about that.

    I just filed our tax returns for 2017. The out-of-pocket medical premiums including employer group PPO Plan, Medicare Part B, and Part D prescription drug coverage for both me and my spouse totaled 87% of my spouse’s gross income for 2017. Without my very reasonable pension, we would not be sustainable and would probably be on Medicaid and receiving food stamps. So it would be kinder of you, if you would stop referring to CA public pensions as ludicrously, excessive! It is obvious that you hate public employees. There are almost 900,000 retirees receiving CalPERS benefits now–the average benefit is about $2800/mo. There is nothing I can do about people who get 100+–I would rather see people sustainable even if they are so much better off than me, than to have to continue walking by those that I walk by every day–people are without shelter and really hungry, TL. For goodness sake, give thanks to whomever you give such because you are not one of them–I do, with an aching heart!

  24. Tough Love Says:

    Seesaw,

    (1) Please clarify, what new workers aren’t getting pension any longer under PEPRA ?

    (2) Quoting ………… “How would you like to work 39-hours per week with wages alone”

    Oh, you mean like the MAJORITY of Private Sector workers ?

    (3) Quoting ………. “: Looking back, I certainly would not have been happy if my pension formula had been arbitrarily lowered by my employer before I retired.”

    Oh, like MOST Private Sector DB Plans have ALREADY done ?

    (4) quoting ……. “My medical benefit which was not vested via the CA constitution like the pension, was capped, one-year before I retired”

    Oh, did you know that employer-subsidized retiree healthcare in the Private Sector Plans is extremely rare ?

    (5) Quoting …………….

    “Without my very reasonable pension, we would not be sustainable and would probably be on Medicaid and receiving food stamps. So it would be kinder of you, if you would stop referring to CA public pensions as ludicrously, excessive!”

    LUDICROUS is not determined by how big (in $$$) the pension is, but by it’s relationship to what a similarly situated Private Sector workers would typically get in retirement benefits from his/her employer…… and Public Sector DB pensions are ROUTINELY 3 to 4 times (4 to 6 times for Safety workers) greater in value upon retirement than those of Private Sector workers who retire at the SAME age, with the SAME wages, and the SAME years of service.
    —————————————————–

  25. CalPERSon Says:

    Seesaw: the new workers are not getting pension benefits. How would you like to work 39-hours per week with wages alone?

    This doesn’t sound right. CalPERS allows membership for part-time employees that work more than half-time (20+ hours).

  26. SeeSaw Says:

    Yes CalPERSon, I know of that policy. I asked my former HR manager about that and was told that they are exempt from that requirement. (I assume this is in the legislative statutes somewhere because CalPERS does not make the laws). There is also a special “hybrid” plan now being used for some new full-time employees–they get benefits that do not include CalPERS.

  27. SeeSaw Says:

    TL, yes I know all about what happens in the private sector. My spouse has a DB pension which was frozen in 1986 because of the illegal invasion in the residential construction industry–it doesn’t pay the medical premiums–how would you like to try to sustain that way? That is why what happened in the private sector was wrong and should never happen to any worker. So your thought that, since the private sector has lost DB pensions, public sector should be treated the same is ludicrous. As to your question about what new workers are not getting pensions under PEPRA, see my reply to CalPERson.

  28. Tough Love Says:

    SeeSaw,

    Where do you think the money comes from to pay for Public Sector worker pay, benefits, and about 85% of the total cost of their pensions ?

    It comes primarily from PRIVATE Sector taxes. Sure, “you pay taxes too”, but it a small piece of total taxes collected.

    There is ZERO justification for greater Public Sector compensation, now a HUGE problem due to their yes ……. LUDICROUSLY excessive pensions & benefits.
    —————————-

    Lets try it this way:

    Quoting SeeSaw ……. ” So your thought that, since the private sector has lost DB pensions, public sector should be treated the same is ludicrous.”

    No it’s not becuase it our (the Private Sector’s ) SMALLER income that you want to pay for your LARGER pension & benefits.

    And you don’t see a “problem” with that ?

  29. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    Who says the private sector has a smaller income?

    It is a given that the public sector has “LARGER pension & benefits.” It’s called “deferred compensation”.

    But, stop me if you’ve heard this before…

    It is invalid to compare pensions outside the context of total compensation.

    Don’t be invalid.

  30. Tough Love Says:

    S Moderation Douglas,

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before ………

    Per the AEI compensation study, In BOTH our home States of CA and NJ, the PUBLIC Sector has a Total Compensation (all inclusive INCLUDING wages, pensions, and benefits) ADVANTAGE equal to 23%-of-pay, rising to 33% if the far greater Public Sector job security is included……….. and BOTH those %s would assuredly be even higher if Public Sector Safety workers (with far greater than average pay, and the richest pensions & benefits) were not excluded from that Study.

    Even taking the lowest %, the 23%, how much MORE would Private Sector Taxpayers have for THEIR retirement needs if they had an additional 23%-of-pay to save and invest in every year of their career …….. $500K, $1 Million, even $2 Million for some ?

  31. S Moderation Douglas Says:

    So, you’re willing to bet the farm on one study with data up to ten years old?

    Sorry, on -one page- of one study.

    And it’s not even your farm.

    “Private Sector Taxpayers” literally can not take that 23% to the bank, Mr. Love. It is not income, it’s “ifcome”.

    And you fell for it.

  32. Tough Love Says:

    S Moderation Douglas,

    I didn’t write THIS………….

    https://patriotpost.us/articles/55404-public-employees-resist-pension-reform-as-crisis-looms

    Are you right and EVERYONE else wrong ?

  33. spension Says:

    Naturally https://patriotpost.us/articles/55404-public-employees-resist-pension-reform-as-crisis-looms makes no mention of the $0.9 trillion crisis in military pension funding….

    because *public employees* in the military deserve retirement at 37, lavish health care, PX privileges, and in some cases free golf courses, transportation, etc… according to Tough Love, and also the “patriot US” folks.

    They and Tough Love just want to tax, spend, tax, spend, tax, spend. They love *their* public employees.

  34. Tough Love Says:

    Spension,

    Still more of the same ….. never an answer and always diverting attention away from the need to address the ludicrously generous pensions & benefits granted ALL Public Sector workers.

    *************************************

    FYI, there are exactly 10 current 4 star generals (only about 230 in America’s entire history). But yes, after a full career they do get about a $210K-$220K annual pension.

    But drop their rank to 2 stars and the Pension is about $150K, and to 1 star and it’s close to $125 K …………… just about what the hundreds of thousands of full career CA Safety-worker pensions will average in just a few years.

    Which has a bigger impact … perhaps by a multiple in the 10,000’s?

  35. Tough Love Says:

    Quoting from S. Moderation Douglas’s response to me above (at April 18, 2018 at 1:17 am) …….

    “So, you’re willing to bet the farm on one study with data up to ten years old? ”
    ——————————

    But on the Blog-article:

    https://calpensions.com/2017/04/17/another-court-setback-for-protectors-of-pensions/

    at April 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm, you stated, quoting:

    “Heritage Foundation…
    Military Pensions: How Scandalous?
    http://www.heritage.org/defense/report/military-pensions-how-scandalous

    to which I responded:

    “Yikes SMD,

    Your linked Heritage Article was written 32 years ago.”

  36. spension Says:

    Tough Love… you never answer and always divert attention from the… *** $0.9 trillion public deficit in the military pension system. ***

    Almost equal to the deficit in the entire US State public pension system… you explicitly stated you exempted the deficit in the military pension system from “public” debt… you only include the State public debt.

    Sorry, you pick on one thing, and you even get that wrong. There are currently 41 active 4-stars across the entire military. You missed a factor of 4, which actually on the more accurate side of your innumerate discussions… you usually miss by a factor of 10 or 100.

    You omit the 230 active 3-stars.

    You omit the lavish golf-course benefits and health benefits.

    You omit the military’s allowance of retirement with DB pension at age 37.

    But all that is **JUST FINE WITH YOU**. Soaking the taxpayer is just fine with you, as long as your friends get the benefits.

  37. Tough Love Says:

    spension ……………..

    We have the right to choose what WE want to advocate for or against. OTHERS do not have the right to make that choice FOR US.

    I have CHOSEN to strongly advocate for very material reductions in what I see as LUDICROUSLY excessive State & Local Public Sector pensions & benefits that are negatively impacting Public services and resulting in untenable tax increases.

    You can (and obviously do) choose to advocate against what you see as excessive Military pensions. That is you right, but you don’t have the right to demand that I join you in that advocacy.

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