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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Public Pension Problems: No One Told the NYT About the Financial Crisis

Public Pension Problems: No One Told the NYT About the Financial Crisis

Saturday, 01 January 2011 22:22

The NYT apparently has not learned about the financial crisis that followed in the wake of the collapse of the housing bubble. That is the only possible conclusion that readers can take away from an article about anger at public sector workers that failed to note that the plunge in the stock market in 2008-2009 was the major cause of the shortfalls in public sector pensions. 

Certainly if the reporters and/or editors at the NYT had known about the financial crisis and the stock market plunge it would have been featured prominently in this piece.

Comments (7)Add Comment
Which is worse, New Jersey or Prichard, Alabama ?
written by AndrewDover, January 01, 2011 10:22
8.7 million people in New Jersey, but
1.4 million of those have a disability.

"Now New Jersey has a $53.9 billion unfunded pension liability." => $7,383 per undisabled person in the state.

Prichard claimed a $17.8 million unfunded pension liability for 27,000 people, or $659 per person.

the bush economy
written by muckdog, January 01, 2011 11:58
People forget that we had quarter after quarter of strong growth from about 2003 to 2007. salaries went up. real estate went up. tax revenues were pouring in. So the government grew the public sector by leaps and bounds. Salaries went up. Future promises were made.

Then the Great Recession hit...
Union Busting
written by Ron Alley, January 02, 2011 3:59
The economist's rational man (working in a non-union job for a corporate employer) would look at government employees and conclude that union workers enjoy better benefits and greater job security than non-union workers. Unfortunately in the real world fear, greed and envy almost always trump rationality. The fear of taxes and the envy of better union benefits overcome the rational decision to support unions.

Union busting remains at the top of the Corporate agenda. The left wing and the right wing of the Corporate Party of America are uniting in a bipartisan effort to eliminate unions from government offices. It began with the air traffic controllers in 1980. Just look at the transition taking place in Wisconsin. Even the NYT spin doctors cannot hide the brass knuckled assault on state government employee unions.

The Times and other mainstream media enjoy their role of spinning for the Corporate Party of America. Articles like this piece spin the facts to incite fear, greed and envy. Even the Corporate Party of America cannot force unions out of government without the support of voters. If history repeats, we can expect the Times and the mainstream media echo chamber to distort the facts and to portray union busting governors as heroic figures. The probable result is that voters will support union busting governors just as they supported and celebrated an heroic union busting president in 1980.
written by gucci outlet, January 02, 2011 9:36
The probable result is that voters will support union busting governors just as they supported and celebrated an heroic union busting president in 1980.
written by skeptonomist, January 02, 2011 9:44
Blue-chip stocks have recovered most of the value lost in 2008. Anyone who has invested in long-term bonds has done well over the entire last decade. If pension plans are in very bad shape now it is probably due to incompetence on the part of their managers.
written by Ellis, January 02, 2011 11:55
Dean-- You're absolutely wrong. Public pensions have been notoriously underfunded with the expectation that any shortfalls would be made up by taxpayers. In the past, the promise of supposedly better pensions was used as a trick to get employees to accept lower wages. This underfunding was also used as an excuse to hand the pension funds over to sleazy speculators (private equity funds, real estate magnates, etc.) to gamble with for their own enrichment. Now, after the pension funds have been plundered and emptied, the politicians, with the complicity of the news media and usual "experts," are playing the public sector workers off against ordinary taxpayers. In other words, what happened to private sector pensions is spreading to public sector pensions. It's part of the big political offensive in which the gains of the past for working people are being taken away with breathtaking speed. We're going back to the Dickensian living conditions of the 19th century. You have to be willfully blind not to see it happening in front of your face.
The NY Times Is a Joke
written by libhomo, January 02, 2011 1:21
They scapegoat government workers for problems caused by shockingly low taxes on the rich and the speculative irresponsibility of the rich.

I laugh when anyone says that it is a "liberal" newspaper.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.