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State and Local Pensions: What Now? Hardcover – September 12, 2012
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"State and local pensions are much in the news, but the current discussion largely ignores why some plans are in financial trouble while others are not. Drawing on extensive research, Munnell cogently explores the diversity of past actions, current circumstances and needs, and opportunities for reform. This book is the essential starting place for thinking about and reforming pensions."―Peter Diamond, Institute Professor and professor of economics, emeritus, MIT, and 2010 Nobel Laureate
"Munnell offers a thoughtful examination of the challenges facing state and local governments as they strive to provide retirement security for their employees. Her work represents a giant leap forward by establishing a comprehensive framework for leaders looking to tackle these critical issues."―Gina Raimondo, general treasurer, State of Rhode Island
"Pensions for state and local employees generate ferocious debates among both the general public and pension experts, with serious repercussions for public sector pay and government budgets. Munnell explores this controversy with clarity and fairness, providing a critical resource for citizens who wish to understand public pensions and the policymakers who must manage them."―Andrew Biggs, resident scholar, American Enterprise Institute
"Why does this book stand out? It's because Munnell has relied upon, and truthfully portrayed facts, to produce light, not heat. Moreover, uniquely, she places blame where it belongs without rancor and provides reasonably achievable solutions."―Ian Lanoff, attorney and public pension expert, Groom Law Group, Chartered
"This book is the most comprehensive assessment of public pensions yet compiled. Munnell evenhandedly challenges stereotypes and ideologues in describing the nuanced and consequential details of retirement benefits for employees of state and local government. Her book is indispensable for anyone with an interest in the nation's public retirement policy."―Keith Brainard, research director, National Association of State Retirement Administrators
About the Author
Alicia H. Munnell is the Peter F. Drucker Professor of Management Sciences, Carroll School of Management, and director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. She has served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy and as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. She was also cofounder and first president of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Munnell has written several books, including Brookings titles Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge, with Steven Sass (2008), and Coming Up Short: The Challenge of 401(k) Plans, with Annika Sundén (2004).
Top Customer Reviews
Munnell asks if the public groundswell to cut public pension is in part a race to the bottom in which all Americans are seeing an increasingly bleak retirement. That is a fair question to ask. I don't think she provides an answer. She does raise a broader question about the need for a third tier of retirement savings built around a portable DB model. Senator Harkin introduced legislation that would establish such a plan. It won't see the light of day, but it suggests Munnell is putting the current public pension mess into broader relief.
Why not the Munnell compromise? Who's going to pay attention to it if it doesn't affect the ARC--just another number to ignore. That, and the true obligation is mainly to the future taxpayer--shared slightly with current recipients and just a little more with current employees. All those who write on the discount rate, including Munnell, state in passing that the future taxpayer is at risk, and then ignore that fact. Rauh & Novy-Marx, for example.
(I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to express a view on one issue, a fraction of the book.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Absolutely a must read for local, state and federal officials. lAddresses a ticking time bomb that must be dealt withPublished 20 months ago by Martin J. Quirk
This is a comprehensive, in depth look at public pension - a framework for evaluating funds, the key behaviors for success, and timely guidance on the big accounting issues. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Michael Dwyer
Although this book contains some interesting data and history, its central thesis -- that state and local pension funds are for the most part in good shape -- is seriously flawed. Read morePublished on April 21, 2014 by financial economist