Speaking very broadly, the way that many public pension plans are run should be considered more or less criminal and the officials responsible for doing such an awful, irresponsible job of managing the pension money of workers—often gleefully blowing it for short term political gain while pretending that they could magically make it up on the back end—should be sent to live in homeless shelters, with the people whose pensions they blew. Speaking very broadly.
Speaking somewhat more specifically, Bloomberg reports today that the latest Moody's calculations say the 25 largest public pensions in America are now $2 trillion in the hole—that is the gap between what they've promised to pay and what they can actually pay. But... but... "The 25 biggest systems by assets averaged a 7.45 percent return from 2004 to 2013, close to the expected 7.65 percent rate." If they're making almost what they're supposed to make, why the gap?
"Despite the robust investment returns since 2004, annual growth in unfunded pension liabilities has outstripped these returns," Moody's said. "This growth is due to inadequate pension contributions, stemming from a variety of actuarial and funding practices, as well as the sheer growth of pension liabilities as benefit accruals accelerate with the passage of time, salary increases and additional years of service."
In normal person talk that means "They are being managed horribly, the people who are supposed to be making sure they are adequately funded are not putting enough money into them, and they're making promises left and right just to be popular even though anyone with a calculator can figure out that they will not be able to meet those promises. The cowardly fucks."
Pensions are already fucked enough in the sense that they're only available to a lucky few now anyhow. The fact that on top of that motherfuckers cannot just put in and take out the correct amounts of money each year is enraging and frankly ridiculous. A pension should be run by a stereotypically nerdy accountant who is good at math, not someone who is in any way engaged in the business of favor-trading. Use a calculator! Figure out how much you gonna have! Use division! Make an accurate promise! Don't blow the money! Do your jobs!