The Pension Gamble

The Pension Gamble

2021, Economics  -   6 Comments
Ratings: 9.22/10 from 23 users.

Older civil servant workers in America are worried. Sure they have steady jobs - as firefighters, public school teachers, and police officers - still, sadly, they can no longer count on one of the most basic financial safety nets they have worked very hard to establish - the pension plan. Many pension plans are in trouble because there is no longer enough money to cover them. These people are assured of a pension once they retire so that their retirement and their old age are comfortable. But now, the future of pension plans in states across America is up in the air.

One of the worst-hit by a pension crisis is the state of Kentucky. The pension fund meant for Kentucky's teachers, police, and firefighters is currently in a hole worth 40+ billion dollars. This came as a shock to many because, in 2000-2001, pensions were practically 100% funded. So what happened?

To make a long story short, the pension fund was not properly managed. The Kentucky government used it as a piggy bank to fund public buildings, schools, roads, better facilities, which are all great things, but not what the fund was meant for in the first place. The governors decided to use the retirement funds since the bulk of the recipients were too young to retire anyway. These reforms are supposed to be paid for by actual tax money however the government turned to the pension funds.

To build the fund up again, the government of Kentucky proposed to increase taxes, but the idea was (understandably) rejected. That's when the Kentucky Retirement Services - who handle the fund - turned to Wall Street. They began to put money into high-risk hedge funds and other investments - many of which failed. They essentially turned to "gambling" to try and make back the retirement fund. Also, many on the KRS board had no previous experience with investing and finance.

Sadly, the failure of Kentucky's pension fund is not a stand-alone occurrence. The problem is a national one. In the last decade, state pension plans have lost a whopping $4 trillion. This is a big blow to the retirees. And with the local government unable to bail out the pension plans, tough times are coming for Kentucky's loyal civil servants.

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6 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Arlo

    This is what happened when you have a FLAW CAPITALISM and a FAKE DEMOCRACY. You can see it clearly with pension funds being called "dumb money"by Wall Street with their pariah fund managers and middle-men. That's a capitalistic way of hoarding and stealing MONEY above all else, even legally or illegally and immorally! And then the Republican politicians illegally changed the bill from a pension bill to a sewage bill, and then pushing and shoving it through to a vote procedure that is obviously illegal... and certainly UNDEMOCRATIC! Shameful and pathetic!

    The US with its dirty capitalism, fake democracy, and corrupted politicians are the nation's downfall. Stop pointing the fingers to China, Russia, Iran and other nations... instead, looking inwardly and concentrating on solving its own illegalities and immoralities before having a revolution on its hand then crumbling down like the USSR.

    1. David Dieni

      Right on both counts brother. Flawed Capitalism and our "shameful" proclivity to blame scapegoats offered up by the media, because its easier than taking responsibility and standing up against corruption.

      And it is pathetic, as the harm done is not restricted to within US borders

  2. My God Have mercy upon those who do not deserve it

    It's pretty simple. If the government doesn't want to do something and a great number... a massive number of people's livelihoods and ability to live are at stake... You take up arms against those that have stolen the money. I might not get to retire, but you might not be given the mercy of god to breathe another breath.

    1. Jason

      I agree


    As a Kentuckian, I'm furious to learn this information.


      You can be sure that the politician's pensions will never be affected, it is disgraceful how the US and the UK governments only serve the wealthy from which they benefit personally one way or another. We have a real Prick running the UK and another 300 Pricks ready to step in when his time is up, the English public that voted for Brexit believe they are the best people on earth and that Prick Johnson feeds them lies daily while he and his pals raid the British treasury. Britain is run by the self-entitled class who are classless with no moral compass no sense of guilt, will say anything to try and please whatever crowd they face. They must be schooled from a very early age at expensive public Schools such as Eton and then Oxford or Cambridge to master all these traits. These people turn out to be nothing like the general public or even care about the needs of the general public the English electorate don't see what the Scottish, Welsh and Irish see in these born to govern pricks, but do not have the numbers to change a 400-year-old English corrupt governing system. Nothing will change until the general public unites a large majority, and stops wasting energy following Trump or Biden, Brexit or the EU, Boris Johnson or Keir Starmer this is all a trick to divide us. When the public unite they have the power to make the rules politicians need to follow, divided is what gives them control over all of us. Stay safe USA.