JT and I talked many times about pensions and the unfortunate arithmetic behind most defined-benefit pensions. We keep seeing issues arise with the pensions in places like Detroit, or now Illinois. To reiterate, I have no issue with the defined-benefit pension plan in theory. The issues I have focus on the management, or should I say mismanagement, of the pension plan. The mismanagement really falls into two categories: investment of pension fund assets bordering on fraud and, a seemingly willful ignorance about the changes in life spans for people (in this case plan recipients).
With the semester drawing to a close and the summer session getting ready to start soon my thoughts turned towards population issues. (I teach a population analysis class in the summer for the graduate students.) One of topic coming up in that class on a regular basis is pensions, particularly the math behind pensions. I thought a little post about the issues surrounding defined benefit pensions in order. JT also asked about alternative uses of the $3 billion available in the legacy fund when it becomes available in the future. So let’s start with this issue.
I have not been able to post a great deal lately as it is a busy time on campus. Lots of reports to write and students looking to finalize things for graduation. However I expect to be back in the swing relatively soon. Here is a look at some of my recent work that I have not yet posted.
A standard question of late on the Jarrod Thomas Show focuses on the possible changing pecking order for cities in North Dakota. Essentially JT and I wonder aloud about the implications for Grand Forks from changes in population due to the change in economic structure in North Dakota. So this is a first stab at giving an answer to the possible change in the pecking order.