With the interminable debate we’ve witnessed over pension reform during the last year, it’s sometimes easy to forget that this isn’t just another political shooting match over a characteristically trivial San Franciscan topic. (Dog parks, anyone?) Yet an article published this week in the New York Times shows the pension wagon really can go hurtling off the cliff — and has, in fact, done so in other municipalities.
As the Times reports, a growing number of cities are slashing pensions, cutting jobs, and shrinking government services. In some cases, pension funds can go bust altogether. The story cites the cautionary tale of Pritchard, Ala., which simply stopped sending checks to its retired employees when its pension fund ran out in 2009. Sure, this contravened state law, but you can’t pay out money you don’t have.
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