What Warren Buffett refers to as “the ticking time bomb”–the crisis in public sector pensions–is a constant and unrelenting threat to California taxpayers. What is clear is that, as many observers have noted (including Mr. Buffett), the status quo with public pensions is utterly unsustainable.
California’s cost of public employee pay and benefits have increased 65 percent over the last 10 years. Experts estimate that the unfunded pension liability for California’s public employees runs into the hundreds of billions of dollars. CNN/Time commentator Fareed Zakaria makes a strong contribution to the whole debate here. We are all learning to do more with less; and that should include public sector workers. Voters’ understanding of the issue has simply skyrocketed. Hopefully, last month’s astonishing, landslide votes in San Jose and San Diego approving substantial public employee pension reform will trigger more real reform throughout the state.