Remember September of last year when Jim Gray penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal singing the praises of pension “reform” in Kentucky?
Go re-read it. It’s all about making Detroit the whipping boy.
We wrote about it at the time:
While Gray deserves a bit of credit for improving Lexington’s police and fire pension mess, as he claims with this bizarre congratulatory letter, he’s proving himself to be as disconnected from reality as Richie Farmer.
His rhetoric about Detroit not only illustrates his ignorance but his apparent comfort with corruption and lying to his constituency. Since Detroit’s police and fire are at 100% funding, they’re light years ahead of Lexington. Even the Detroit public employees group is better funded than the Lexington public employees group in the CERS system. In fact, Detroits worst-funded plan is general employees and even that group is 77% funded. That’s nearly three times better funded than KERS at 27% – the fund for state workers, many of those folks living in Lexington.
Gray was attempting to deflect attention from a lawsuit he was facing.
Also go go read what Chris Tobe had to say when ripping Gray’s piece apart:
Misconceptions about Detroit’s well funded pension are coming from all angles. The Democratic mayor of Lexington, Ky., for instance, recently touted in The Wall Street Journal :
“If there is any hopeful news for Chicago, Detroit, Illinois and the other places where public pension funds are collectively underwater by an estimated $1 trillion, it is this: A body of pension-reform successes now exists to light the way. Our reform in Lexington has been described as a national model …”
Lexington’s pension reform plan may serve as a national model but its Police and Fire Plan has a 77% funding ratio — above Morningstar’s 70% threshold but well below Detroit’s 100% funded Police and Fire Fund.
And taking a look at Kentucky’s county and state workers, Detroit public employees are also better funded than public employees in the County System CERS plan of the Kentucky Retirement System. Further, Detroit’s worst funded plan for general employees at 77% is nearly three times better funded than the Kentucky State workers Plan KERS at 29%, the fund for state workers.
How can these distortions of the fact stand? I attribute this to the media relying on think tanks to get both sides of the issue, and in this case, they are all on the same side. As expected the conservative think tanks are for cutting all public spending on salaries and pensions. However it is the center left think tanks, specifically Pew and Brookings, which seem to be in sync siding against public workers. I attribute Pew and Brookings stance to the millions in funding they have received for public pension research from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which is bankrolled by the former Enron trader turned hedge-fund manager John Arnold and his wife Laura.
The Arnold’s recently touted in an Aug. 12 Foundation report titled, Let’s Prevent Another Detroit , that “In Rhode Island and Kentucky, and in the cities of San Jose and San Diego, citizens and their leaders have boldly and responsibly addressed their pension problems before they reached catastrophic proportions.”
They conveniently forget to mention the 29% funding level of Kentucky and 58% funding level of Rhode Island, neither of which will approach the level of Detroit’s solvency for decades with their so-called solutions.
Guess it’s only fitting that Gray would go into meltdown mode as the pension discussion involving his billionaire friends heats up on the national stage.