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From Rhode Island to Illinois to California, state and local governments may be breaking their long-standing promise to public workers. Guaranteed pension plans are said to be too expensive. How did they get that way? Is it the fault of people who took moderate wages for sometimes dangerous jobs in exchange for security in their old age? Also, Congress has just days to pass a "cease-fire" budget deal, and new revelations about government spying — using online computer games.

Banner image: A Magill

Making News Congress Has Just Days to Pass a 'Cease-fire' Budget Deal 7 MIN, 23 SEC

For the first time in two years, House and Senate Committee leaders may have forged a budget agreement. But it's been done in secret and may be as noteworthy for what it does not do as for what it does. Lori Montgomery is economic policy reporter for the Washington Post.

Lori Montgomery, Washington Post (@loriamontgomery)

Main Topic Are Government Workers Facing a Broken Promise? 34 MIN, 40 SEC

Public workers may not be getting the retirement pay they've traditionally been guaranteed by contracts, laws and state constitutions. Last week, a federal bankruptcy ruling declared that Detroit's pension plans for city workers could be modified, just like any other debts owed by the city. That has other cities threatening to declare insolvency, in part to cut pension payments. But some Democrats, as well as Republicans, are already saying that state and local governments can't afford to make contributions any more. What's in store for firefighters, police officers, trash collectors and teachers who've accepted modest pay knowing their old age would be taken care of? 

Mark Niquette, Bloomberg (@mniquette)
Stephanie Gomes, City of Vallejo, California
Ron Saathoff, International Association of Fire Fighters (@IAFFNewsDesk)
Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research (@DeanBaker13)
Gary Chaison, Clark University (@ClarkMatters)

Today's Talking Point Is NSA Monitoring You through Your Favorite Video Games? 8 MIN, 22 SEC

Classified documents leaked by fugitive Edward Snowden reveal that American and British intelligence agencies have created make-believe characters to take part in the computer games World of Warcraft and Second Life. Google, Microsoft and six other technology companies are calling for limits to government spying on their customers. Unrelated to today's revelations, eight high-tech companies printed an open letter to the President and Congress. AOL, Apple, Facebook Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo say its time to "reform government surveillance practices worldwide."

Claire Cain Miller, New York Times (@clairecm)
Mark Mazzetti, New York Times (@MarkMazzettiNYT)

The Way of the Knife

Mark Mazzetti

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