Thursday, October 8, 2015

California’s Pensions Are An Economic Burden, Not Benefit

This article was in response to an article that appeared in Fox and Hounds.  That surprises me.  F&H is a fairly conservative website.

I agree with the author.  Taking money from one person and giving it to another to spend is hardly a stimulus.  Also, not all CA pensioners live in  CA.  According to the article 15% of the pensioners move out of the state.  So how is that money helping CA?


Beckwith’s primary argument is this: California’s pension systems pay out over $3.0 billion per month to retired state and local government workers, who go out and spend this money, “at auto repair shops, home improvement centers, tuition for grandchildren, hair salons, rent, and at a thousand other small and large businesses.”

The problem with this reasoning rests on a fundamental assumption Beckwith makes, which is that all the money taken from taxpayers to fund these pension investments would not have created a similar economic stimulus if they had been free to spend it themselves. Mr. Beckwith goes on to extol the virtues of professional financial managers placing pension fund investments around the world, then pouring the returns back into California’s economy, but when he does this, he ignores the actual cash flows in and out of California’s state and local pension systems.

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