The Great Debate

The truth about pension reform

By John Arnold
February 21, 2014

This article was written in response to “How should John Arnold approach pension reform?” (February 16) by Felix Salmon.

The real reasons America’s pensions are hurting

By Allison Schrager
October 3, 2013

State and local pension plans are underfunded, in many cases dramatically. Enough so that, in the next decade, many states will have to cut benefits or services, raise taxes, or receive some form of a bailout. Matt Taibbi’s latest in Rolling Stone blames the situation on a convenient villain — Wall Street. But it’s far more complicated than that. State and local plans are underfunded because of terrible accounting standards, local governments who underfunded their plans, and plan trustees who gave away sweeteners that robbed plans of their assets. That is the inherent problem with traditional pensions, or any type of compensation that is back-loaded (payments pledged for the future). It’s too easy to over-promise today and not set enough money aside, but either retirees or taxpayers eventually have to pay up. It’s tempting to blame Wall Street, but that does not solve the problem. It enables public employees to lobby against their own long-term interests.

Social Security as solution, not problem

By Josh Freedman
April 3, 2013

Social Security is not the problem – it is the solution.

Washington is filled with talk of a looming “retirement crisis.” The discussion focuses on funding Social Security and usually includes calls to cut benefits – either by changing payout formulas or raising the retirement age.

Pensions and the coming savings boom

By J Saft
August 6, 2009

jamessaft1James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own