Friday, February 17, 2017

The Magic Walrus will save us

Oregon Live:

Katy Durant couldn't have been more articulate in her Dec. 5 letter to Gov. Kate Brown last December about the financial disaster awaiting Oregon. The outgoing chair of the Oregon Investment Council warned that if leaders continue to ignore the colossal imbalance between public employers' pension obligations and the money available to pay it, the state is headed for a "train wreck."Without some kind of structural change, "this 'house of cards' will quickly collapse, leaving Oregon in a fiscal crisis," wrote Durant, a 12-year member of the council responsible for investing Oregon's pension fund. She then listed ideas to help lessen the state's pension woes and beseeched Brown to show "bold leadership."That's not going to happen, though. The governor took nearly eight weeks to respond. When she did, she characterized the $22 billion unfunded liability as "concerning." A better word would be alarming. She seemed unfazed by the big increases in contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System that school districts, state agencies and other public employers will have to make starting in July - or that it is the first of a parade of such increases projected for the next several biennia. And she deflected talk of what the state can do by offering puzzling platitudes about the dependence of the investment fund on strong markets, analysis as insightful as "buy low, sell high."
Kate Brown and her union pals are going all the way, like Illinois. 

No comments: