Promises, promises, and more promises

Daniel Akst | May 21, 2010

From today’s NY Times:

The cost of public pensions has been systemically underestimated nationwide for more than two decades, say some analysts. By these estimates, state and local officials have promised $5 trillion worth of benefits while thinking they were committing taxpayers to roughly half that amount.

As Dimitri Papadimitriou said on this blog recently, we are facing a multidimensional pension crisis in this country. A coherent national retirement system–truly comprehensive Social Security obviating private pensions–might have avoided these runaway state and local pension obligations, which may yet end up on the federal balance sheet.


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