PBS aired this program about public sector pensions a few weeks ago. I waited to post it until after the election, when you would have more time to watch it.
It is a vivid explanation of how the politicians of Kentucky dipped into the pension funds of public employees and used it to fund public projects instead of raising taxes. It shows how the politicians and the state pension board got ripped off by Wall Street again and again.
States make a promise to pay their public workers a pension. That promise induces people to accept lower-paying jobs as teachers, firefighters, and police officers because they consider the pension to be a solemn promise.
However, many states have failed to fund pensions as promised. Kentucky was the worst violator of its promise. Watching this program will give you insight into “the Pension gamble” and “the Pension crisis.”
The pension system is in danger in Kentucky and other states because people—and the politicians they elect—want low taxes and are not willing to pay for high-quality public services.
Although it is not mentioned in the documentary, Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky is pushing to introduce charter schools (which have been authorized but not funded) as a substitute for fully funding the public schools. Bevin is a Tea Party Republican who wants to shrink government.