Published Articles & Media
Pension benefits for public school teachers (and most public employees) are far more generous than for private sector professionals.
The “stewards” of the system benefit the most
In a recent Education Next article we talked about winners and losers in teacher pension systems, and about the huge costs these systems impose on mobile teachers due to the back-loading of benefits. In a letter to the editor written in response to our article, Beth Almeida of the National Institute on Retirement Security takes us to task for describing this phenomenon as “redistribution,” noting that such a practice is illegal. Since we don’t want to get pension and teacher union officials in trouble, we have a modest proposal.
For more than a decade, debate over reform of public pensions has been in a rut. On one side, some reformers have favored scrapping traditional teacher pension plans in favor of the IRA-type plans received by most private-sector professionals. On the other side, teacher unions, retiree groups, and defined-benefit pension plan professionals fight hard to protect existing plans. Each side has legitimate points.
A recent “Policy Memorandum” from the Economic Policy Institute by EPI researcher Monique Morrissey is sharply critical of our article “Peaks, Cliffs, and Valleys." Morrissey has a number of critiques of our articles, but the main one, as the title suggests, is that our metaphors are inappropriate, and there is nothing at all “peculiar” about the structure of retirement incentives in teacher pensions.
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