I have to admit that this post stating what should be self evident facts and logical principles may be boring to many but it seems like this needs to be written.
The founders of the country pretty clearly intended it to do one simple thing- free people to use their own judgement to run their own lives by freeing them from coercion. Never, ever, ever did any of the founders think it was logical or possible on any level to do more than this and they warned against it.
Their reasoning was simple and really not refutable.They knew that reality had never provided any person with automatic food, or shelter or medical care or perpetual security. If people as individuals had no automatic guaranteed security in nature, then they couldn't expect to have it just because they lived in a large group.
In the private sector--- promising "guaranteed returns" , bulletproof benefits and the like are usually considered the hallmark of fraud. At best, only by setting aside large amounts of money each year and using the most conservative and prudent accounting and actuarial standards can give one a high level of security.
At what point, exactly do using rosy projections cross the line into fraud or criminal negligence? I think this line was long ago crossed by many if not most public pensions.It's pretty clear promises were made that could not reasonably have been expected to be paid out by returns from invested funds with a careless, if not criminal disregard for the taxpayer that would pick up the tab.
"While poor financial market conditions are the immediate cause of the problem, Timothy Potts of Democracy Rising, a nonpartisan citizens group, lays blame with lawmakers.
"The Legislature always prefers to have someone else raise taxes, which school boards will now be forced to do," said Potts, who is a member of the Carlisle Area school board in Cumberland County.
Pittsburgh Public Schools, the largest district in the county, has 2,700 teachers and full-time professionals. Chris Berdnik, chief financial officer and chief operations officer, estimates that contributions to the pension fund will rise from $10.08 million this year to $33.18 million in the 2012 school year."
"In 2001, lawmakers increased their pension benefits by 50 percent and, at the same time, boosted teachers' and state workers pensions by 25 percent.
But the Legislature didn't require a corresponding increase in contributions from school districts, says Wythe Keever, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union.
"The districts, in the latter part of '90s and in the early part of this decade basically took a pension holiday. They did not pay enough to sustain the system during the down years," Keever said."
The proper way to deal with this is the remedy normally used in the private sector to deal with liabilities that exceed assets-- bankruptcy. Not fake, fraudulent, Obama type bankruptcy but the real thing. The kind individuals and small businesses face in the real world. As to what should happen to the politicians and union officials that created these problems- many should be in jail for fraud or criminal negligence. At issue is whether one group of people can declare itself immune from reality by enslaving others.