University of Michigan Law grad and former mayor of Los Angeles Richard Riordan teamed up with a former Los Angeles Times journalist to pen "A Plan to Avert the Pension Crisis." The NYT op-ed piece uses the Detroit bankruptcy case as a springboard to call for a federal public employee pension reform program:
[T]he program would essentially serve as an insurance agency. It would not bail out distressed local retirement plans. Instead, cities, and perhaps states, would be permitted to sell bonds to cover their pension liabilities, with the federal government guaranteeing repayment. Participants would pay fees — a kind of insurance premium — to finance the program, so there would be no net cost to Washington. The program would give cities access to low-cost, long-term capital. But in exchange for what would amount to federal bond insurance, the cities would have to agree to certain reforms of their pension and health care programs for current and former workers. At a minimum, those reforms should include a single national standard for projecting returns on pension investments — remarkably, there isn’t one — and negotiated reductions in current benefits.
Read it, including the 230 comments, here.