Getting to “Yes” On Pension Reform

Pension Reform Handbook: A Starter Guide for Reformers
L
ance Christensen and Adrian Moore

The Reason Foundation
July 2014

On the day when the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a state law against the unionization of public employees, our neighbors over at the Reason Foundation have issued a study on pension reform. Lance Christensen and Adrian Moore, both of whom have extensive experience in the trenches trying to fix dysfunctional government, frame the study as a guidebook for legislators and others who need to make reform happen.

I will confess that I do not know enough about state employee pensions to make any emphatic statement about government employee pension reform, but like most citizens, I am caught in a quandary. Part of me wants to give police and firefighters a comfortable retirement. But the other part of me is aghast at how high the bill for public employment has climbed as a percentage of GDP. There has to be a way of taking care of the people who serve us without bleeding the populace or shutting vital public services.

I believe a solution is possible, but it demands that we as the people insist that process be open, transparent, and free from the influence of special interests that would freeze the process. And it starts with jettisoning some ideological baggage. If we Republicans are willing to grant that public workers have to be protected from exploitation, Democrats must be willing to grant that the status quo is set to bankrupt American government.

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