The political focus on pension costs at this moment is a bit strange. California hasn't yet been bitten hard by pension obligations. That's right -- we're in the big budget mess we're in and the wave of pension obligations hasn't hit the state budget yet.
But it will. And so, even as pension reform is debated by the current governor and legislature, the more important question may be what the next governor is going to do about it. Anyone watching the nearly content-less farce that is California governor's race will not be surprised to learn that neither Jerry Brown nor Meg Whitman has a viable plan to reckon with unsustainable pension costs.
That's the conclusion of the journalist Daniel Borenstein, who has spent as much time studying the issue as anyone in California. He says that Whitman's plan, which spares law enforcement workers from pension reform and calls for clawing back money from current public employees, is unworkable. And that Brown's plan relies on head-in-the-sand optimism about the stock market. You can take a look at his full piece dissecting Brown and Whitman on the pension issue here.