Peter Orszag turns in a Halloween-themed column on pension liabilities. Two key takeaways. First, the problem is not equally distributed around the states and it’s important to look beneath the overall numbers. A few years ago Chad Aldeman and I did state-by-state numbers in this analysis of teacher pensions. Second, the problem isn’t all the unions, in our sector teachers unions, as you sometimes hear. State officials have made a variety of lousy decisions while legislatures have systematically underfunded pension contributions in some states. But the book, which I have not had a chance to read in its entirety, that Orszag cites to make this case uses a flawed measure of union strength to argue that unions don’t have a large role – especially around how to fix the problem. The analysis looks at the presence of collective bargaining as a proxy for union strength. In the case of teachers unions, only focusing on bargaining ignores ways (organizing, political activities, political fundraising, etc…) the unions have a lot of political influence even in nominally weak union states. As with the overall pension numbers, the real story is more varied and found underneath the easy labels.
Democracy Prep, very high-performing charter schools in New York, looking for their next CEO, if you think that might be you click here. Here are some Democracy Prep student singing their viral hit “Vote For Somebody” on Anderson Cooper’s show.