Dean Baker, an economist and Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C., has this to say about state employee pension funds.The shortfalls facing most state and local pension funds have been seriously misrepresented in public debates. The major cause of these shortfalls has not been inadequate contributions by state governments, but rather the plunge in the stock market following the collapse of the housing bubble. Given the low PE ratios in the stock market, pension fund assumptions on the future rate of return on their assets are consistent with most projections of economic growth and past experience. Furthermore, when expressed relative to the size of their economies, most states are facing shortfalls that appear easily manageable. Here.
Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal.