I use inflammatory titles such as the above because it's a great way to stir up readership for the blog. In general my hit count increases by a factor of about 50 for any post which concerns pensions in California. This is a highly nerve-wracking subject for those directly involved, that is, state pensioners, because this guy Joe Nation and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research just won't shut up about it, much as the pension managers and local politicos wish they would. Last spring, for example, Nation & SIEPR came out with a report on CALPers, the teachers' fund and the UC system which demonstrated that they were unfunded, using reasonable rates of return over the foreseeable future, to the tune of about 1/2 trillion smackers. Now Stanford is back with a study of local (county, city and district) pension systems in California which demonstrates that these smaller funds are also on the short side by about $200 billion. Adding it all up, we're missing about $700 billion in order to guarantee payment of all those pension promises, those Constitutionally-mandated contractual rights, those good-as-gold annuities signed with the sacred blood of John C. Fremont and Ishi, the California Yahi who walked out of the wilderness in 1911 and into the waiting arms of the University of California Anthropology Department.
"The average for all systemsin the 18-year scenario is 50percent, suggesting that one-halfof future covered payroll willbe required to meet unfundedpension and OPEB obligations.It is important to emphasizethat this estimated share ofcovered payroll reflects only thatrequired to eliminate unfundedobligations; contributions tofund ongoing pension and OPEBcosts are additional."