Union contracts driving pension crisis

The Washington Examiner

Maryland’s $37 billion public pension system earned a pitiful 0.36 percent return on its investments last fiscal year.

How embarrassing is that? Even the fiscal basket case that is California was able to eke out a 1 percent return. Indeed, the news for Maryland looks “like a minor disaster for fiscal 2011,” in the prosaic words of Jeff Hooke, chairman of the Maryland Tax Education Foundation. That’s a lot like saying the Trojan War was a minor disagreement over a girl.

Sadly there’s no brave and clever Odysseus waiting in the wings to save Maryland. Instead, state officials continue to wrap themselves in delusion. State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, for example, who chairs the pension system’s trustees, explained, “The board continues to focus on long-term performance. Taking the long view, the system has on average exceeded the assumed rate of return over the last 25 years, which is a more appropriate measure of performance.”