New York City's union bosses have a new strategy in the battle between taxpayers and unaffordable benefit plans--essentially, they're now putting their hands to their ears and screaming, "I"m not listening!" Bloomberg reports that New York City's pension funds are demanding a retraction from one of their investment advisors who had the candor to say that the benefits are overly generous. In his annual "10 Surprises" forecast made at the beginning of the year, Byron Wien simply stated the obvious.
The retirement benefits for state workers, really not only in New York, California and New Jersey but throughout the country, are very generous, too generous, Wien said in response to a question about U.S. state budget deficits during a Jan. 5 presentation of his forecast, according to a transcript. We literally cant afford the benefits we have given our retirees in state and local governments and we have to change that.
Wien works for Blackstone Group LP which is an advisor to the pension funds. Bloomberg reports that a special meeting was held to patch up the relationship because the funds trustees couldn't stomach Mr. Wien's honest assesment. Instead of a common sense compromise and adjustments to the plans, New York's union leaders would rather shoot the messenger.
E. Lansing, MI