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How Public Employee Pensions Make Income Inequality Worse

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By /THE FISCAL TIMES

Marc Joffe, Director of Policy Research for the California Policy Center, has written for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Reason Foundation and the Haas Institute at UC Berkeley.

 The Fiscal Times/iStockphoto

 

Despite the stock market’s strong performance, public employee pension systems remain well below full funding and pressure on government budgets is building. Get ready for another round of battles over public employee benefits.

This month, UC Berkeley’s Haas Institute, a progressive research center, has stepped into the maelstrom, arguing that the problem is overblown. In a policy brief, analyst Tom Sgouros argues correctly points out that a pension plan need not be fully funded to continue making payments over long periods of time, and even questions whether 100 percent funding is an appropriate objective.

While Sgouros and like-minded public finance experts make some valid points, they may be surprised to learn that public employee pensions are becoming a driver of income inequality.

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