There’s no better columnist on public pension and retirement issues than Governing magazine’s Girard Miller.

I’ve found him fair and easy-to-understand. And as a financial advisor he has an expertise that adds depth to his coverage. I learn something new in every article he writes and have quoted him in my own stories.

A recent Miller piece does something I’ve always wanted. It’s a fact check on a dozen claims made all the time by both sides of the public pension debate. Among the statements Miller addresses:

• “The pension mess was caused by greedy people (from the other side), not us.”

• “There’s no crisis. The stock market will recover and then there is no problem.”

• “My pension contract is protected by the Constitution and can’t be violated.”

• “The solution is to replace pensions with 401(k) plans, like the private sector.”

Here’s Miller’s conclusion:

State and local government retirement systems can be fixed, but it will take more than slogans and Band-Aids. Unfunded liabilities cannot be wished away, and it will take at least a decade of painful changes to benefits levels and higher contribution rates from both employers and employees. The longer we wait, the worse it gets, especially for the next generation. Let’s stop looking for easy answers at the other guy’s expense, and get to work on the repairs.

The piece is recommended reading and worth saving this year when pension changes will continue to see headlines locally and statewide.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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