Public school teachers, police, firefighters, and other state and local government employees accept their jobs with the understanding that their relatively low salaries are backed up by excellent pension benefits. In July 2019, Moody’s Investors Service estimated that U.S. public pensions are underfunded by $4.4 trillion. U.S. public pension underfunding is larger than the economy of most developed countries. For example, Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, is expected to produce $4.2 trillion in 2019 as measured by its gross domestic product. The $4.4 trillion dollars in public pension underfunding is also so large that it equals one fifth of the $22 trillion in U.S. national debt.
*This article was first published in Benefits Law Journal.