Pensions Troubles Getting Some Attention

Michael Corkery of the Wall Street Journal reports that congressional Republicans are finally paying a bit of attention to the coming pension bomb that is about to explode in nearly every state in the union, causing further damage to our economy and our state budgets. House Republicans are making moves to prevent bailouts of state pension funds.

Currently the federal government does not have too much influence over state pension funds. But with moves by some Democrats to change that so that the federal government can bailout their union supporters in the states, Republicans are looking to head off further federal involvement in the state’s floundering pension funds. (For more on Democrats trying to bailout state pensions see my earlier reports, here and here, among others.)

One of these moves is an attempt to force states to report more honestly on their pension problems before they are allowed to sell tax-free bonds.

The latest wrinkle: A bill introduced last week by three prominent House Republicans to deny states and localities the ability to sell tax-exempt bonds–the lifeblood for many governments–unless they report their pension-fund liabilities to the Treasury Department. The federal tax-free status of interest on municipal bonds helps generate demand for the bonds and lowers government borrowing costs.

This policy would force states to issue a truer snapshot of their pension troubles in order to sell bonds. Currently, many states use all sorts of shady accounting tricks to make pension troubles seem less worrisome. The new rules would “smoke the rats out of their holes,” according to bill sponsor Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican from California.

Whether they want to get involved or not, if Republicans simply turn away from the issue it will give Democrats the momentum to implement a bailout of profligate states. The American taxpayer should not be forced to reward the overspending, bad leadership, and poor fund administration of public employee unions among the states. The GOP better make sure that such bailouts do not occur, even if that means millions of retirees lose their benefits altogether.

Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's, and all Breitbart News' other sites,,, and many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs across the country to discuss his opinion editorials and current events as well as appearing on TV networks such as CNN, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and various Chicago-based news programs. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston and follow him on Twitter, on Google Plus , and Facebook.

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