Thursday, July 07, 2011

Why ask why?

Let's see.  News from New York City is that their municipal pension funds are doing pretty well and were up over 20% over the last year.  I wonder how that compares to the City of Pittsburgh's investment return?  Oh, nevermind. Does not seem to be a question anyone cares about.

Actually, not to be completely dismal on all of this.  Pittsburgh's pension system is rapidly approaching a transversality condition no doubt, but some also like to describe the state's far larger pension systems as being equally at the precipice. Others just write off the city's pension problems as just par for the course these days when it just isn't comparable to even the worse off pension funds elsewhere. There actually has been a lot of work on public pension funding out of the University of Chicago of late.  Seems to me that if I were a Harrisburg apparachniki, I would find some less than horrible news in this graphic via the NYT based on the work of Professor Rauh. Pennsylvania is actually classified on the positive side of a notional benchmark of 80% pension funding. 

Then again there is the City of Pittsburgh, which if we look sideways, use old data, conjecture some less than liquid assets and otherwise suspend disbelief we are likely closer to 20% than 80%. 

Speaking of unasked pension questions.. I have seen no public update to this kerfuffle between the state and the city.  Just asking...

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