Re: Pension-Crisis Deniers

by Yuval Levin
Veronique, I very much share your perplexity at the Eli Lehrer piece you mentioned, which manages to ignore some key elements of the pension crisis faced by the states (especially the question of the risk to taxpayers posed by defined-benefit pensions, which is nearly as great a problem as the cost to taxpayers posed by those pensions, and the fact that public pension plans use accounting gimmicks that could never fly in the private sector to mask their true costs) and somehow takes up only the matter of immediate current-year budget issues rather the fiscal future of the states. Especially peculiar is the fact that some of the best counterarguments to that way of thinking about the problem have been made by Lehrer and his colleagues in recent years (for instance, here.)
 
Josh Barro offers a great overview of the nature and depth of the pension crisis, as well as of the range of potential solutions, in the new issue of National Affairs here