Pension debate must be based on facts

Published: Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 - 7:12 am

Re "Pain must be shared by all to solve cities' pension crisis" (Viewpoints, Dec. 22): Richard Riordan is a bright man, but he is allowing his agenda to get in the way of the facts. It's not true that the worst problem facing America's cities is what to do about their employees' unaffordable pension and retirement health plans. Figuring out how to recover lost revenue caused by tax breaks and the damage the financial crisis did is more important. Eliminate those revenue losses, and the pension costs are relatively easy to deal with. As an investor and the founder of private equity firms, Riordan also should know the majority of municipal bonds are not purchased by funds whose shares are held by private pensions and individual 401(k) accounts. Holding tax-exempt debt in a tax-deferred account makes no sense. Riordan knows better. If there is going to be a debate about retirement security, it should be fact-based.

-- J.J. Jelincic, Hayward

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