Are Public Pensions Causing a Fiscal Crisis?

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General Motors is facing bankruptcy in large part because it can't afford the health benefits it's guaranteed for retired employees. The State of California is in the same boat, having also guaranteed health benefits for tens of thousands of public employees when they retire. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office in Sacramento says the ultimate cost will be $40 to $70 billion over the next 30 years, but it now appears that the money isn't going to be there. The issue pits teachers, cops and firefighters against advocates of what they call "fiscal responsibility." Is the crisis real or manufactured? We hear a debate.
  • Making News: Is the Catholic Church Mixing Politics and Religion?
    In his Lenten message, LA's Cardinal Roger Mahony yesterday called the Minutemen and others opposed to illegal immigration "hysterical." Congress is working on a bill to require churches and social groups to ask immigrants for documents before providing assistance. Mahony's vow to tell priests not to obey it has produced angry reaction and claims that he's mixing politics with religion. Father Thomas Rausch is Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University.

Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005 (HR 4437)

Cardinal Mahony's Lenten message on immigration

US Conference of Catholic Bishops on migrants and refugee services

Minuteman Project

Analysis of 2006-2007 budget summary, California Legislative Analyst's Office on

Budget perspectives and issues, California LAO on

Government Accounting Standards Board

CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System)

CalSTRS (California State Teachers Retirement System)



Warren Olney


Frances Anderton