Here at JS we study economics, the phony science, and that includes studying the irresponsible economic behavior of people who believe in Tinker Bell and the Tooth Fairy–politicians and public employee unions in bed and at the table when new benefits are promised. Funny thing, the taxpayers are never offered a place in the bed or at the table.
Just the bill for the bail out.
When I was a law student I took a seminar course (small group) on Pensions and Benefits and a focus on the Law called ERISA that governed the conduct of pensions.
I thought the rules were pretty plain–you had to provide for proper funding because if you participated, the taxpayer would be on the hook for a bad outcome.
Which brings us to the hundreds of billions in public employee pension liabilities that are unfunded–get the picture.
Zip, nada in the piggy bank–lots of promises made, no money.
The public employee union benefits programs that are defined by the contributions don’t have a way of being irresponsible. What is in the fund defines the benefits.
On the other hand the big problem is defined benefits plans that could cost variable amounts depending on the persons drawing down and the benefits agreed to that are variable.
Here is another essay on the problem.
We have an archive, with a lot of juicy papers by experts on unfunded liabilities.