Letters to the Editor

CalPERS pension debt is a threat to workers and retirees


Pension debt

Re “Let’s not be as shortsighted on pensions as on drought” (Viewpoints, June 26): Yvonne Walker’s op-ed trivializes CalPERS’ colossal debt by comparing 17 years of systemic failure to the weather. In 1999, CalPERS had a $33 billion surplus. In 2016, it had $111 billion in debt. There’s no end in sight. Pension obligations are underfunded every year by using overly optimistic assumptions about future earnings. Walker and other opponents of pension reform tell us, ‘Don’t worry, be happy.’ That’s how we accumulated our huge debt. Failure to acknowledge the problem and to fully fund our obligations means we are failing to keep our promises to our public employees and retirees. Hoping the outcome to be any different than what has happened during the last 17 years is equivalent to expecting a rainbow during a snow blizzard. As the saying goes, everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Sadly, the same can be said for California’s spiraling pension debt.

Chuck Reed, former San Jose mayor

Trump’s conflicts

Re “Trump sought hotel deals across Eurasia” (Insight, June 29): Once again McClatchy investigative reporters, in this case Kevin G. Hall and Ben Wieder, have done a breakthrough job of investigating and reporting. We’ve all known that Trump has continued his business dealings and benefited greatly from his newly acquired status. He doesn’t care about his conflicts, and is addicted to wheeling and dealing. Imagine if any previous president had dared to continue even a small business. Trump doesn’t care. The criminal part of all this is in the details. McClatchy reporters provided some new ones in this excellent article. We appreciate them, and appreciate the free press.

Claudia Krich, Davis


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