Saturday, December 14, 2013

Oh, Good. No Reason For Me To Worry!

A federal bankruptcy judge in Michigan says Detroit's pension obligations aren't written in stone, despite what any local or state law says, but I'm told that our state laws here in California are such that I shouldn't worry about California becoming insolvent and taking away the retirement I've worked for:
But CalPERS officials, facing their own potential showdown in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said Friday they doubt the Michigan ruling constitutes a threat to public employees and retirees in California.

In their first extensive comments on the landmark decision in Detroit, lawyers with CalPERS said California pensions carry major legal protections not found in Detroit.

“The differences between Detroit and the state of California and CalPERS are substantial,” said Gina Ratto, the pension fund’s interim general counsel, in a conference call with reporters.
I'm so comforted by this news.

(My retirement is in a system parallel system to CalPERS.)

Read more here:

1 comment:

allen (in Michigan) said...

I did a little poking around and came across Steve Malanga's piece at City Journal - - and reading that, the article you link is almost unreasonably optimistic if not deliberately misleading.

Malanga doesn't come right out and say it but it's not hard to imply from the figures involved, unfunded liability, demands on the municipalities to make up current shortfalls that have helped push cities to bankruptcy, unreasonable assumptions about rates of return, that the situation's already rather more dire then is generally understood and that CALPERS has been doing its best to paper over the more obvious evidence of the situation.

Malanga does throw in one paragraph as a ray of hope with the suggestion that a defined-contribution plan would help but I suspect the sums involved to match currently-projected benefit payouts would be just as untenable as under the current, defined-benefit plan. Maybe I'm wrong but the benefit Malanga points to is that the tax-payer's liability ends when the annual contribution's been made, not that pension payouts will remain where they are which suggests to me that he's not all that willing to get into the details.

What seems to be missing from all the discussions about government employee pensions is federalization of the obligation. I suspect that's a reflexive, if unconscious, admission that federalizing those pensions isn't remotely realistic and there's no point in opening the discussion while there are budget gimmicks yet to be used to put off the day of reckoning.