Pension Bashers Admit Push to Slash Retirement Security in California has "Gone Flat"

January 14, 2013

For Immediate Release
Monday, January 14, 2013
Californians for Retirement Security

Pension Bashers Admit Push to Slash Retirement Security in California has "Gone Flat"
Crane, Riordan, Nation Say "Groundswell" is Over on Conservative Website

SACRAMENTO -- For the first time, the state's leading proponents of slashing retirement security are admitting their efforts to privatize public pensions aren’t going anywhere in California.

In an article published in the conservative online magazine Human Events (which also features articles from right-wingers Grover Norquist, Chuck Norris, and Pat Buchanan this week), former Schwarzenegger economic advisor David Crane, former Los Angeles Mayor Republican Mayor Richard Riordan, and failed congressional candidate and ex-Assermblyman Joe Nation all agree that state and local "reform" efforts are failing for a variety of political and legal reasons.

"Today pension reform gets little notice in California," notes the article. It cites "stiff court challenges" that are scaring off municipal efforts and that statewide legislation and initiatives to reduce retirement security have "stalled out."

"At the state level there’s nothing going on,” admits Crane. He also downplays the estimated $60 billion cuts in benefits to California budget employees that were the result of the pension reduction law passed by the Legislature last year and now in effect, saying the state will need to "look elsewhere" for savings.

Riordan notes that he was "naive" with his effort, adding that he will be on the sidelines in any new pension reform efforts. “Right now I’m a little bit radioactive,” he says in the article.

Dave Low, Chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, a coalition representing more than 1.1 million teachers, police officers, firefighters, school employees and other public workers, says he is not surprised by the comments on the right-wing site.

“Californians know that public employees' pension benefits will be cut by billions of dollars because of the new state law. In addition, public employees have taken furloughs, pay cuts and have made significant sacrifices in their retirement at the bargaining tables in more than 280 jurisdictions around the state," says Low. "There will never be enough cuts to satisfy those who want to privatize retirement security, but it's pretty clear that even they know their efforts have run out of steam in California."

The full article can be found at this link:

Still, California’s middle class workers shouldn’t feel too secure. Billionaires like former Enron Executive John Arnold are funnellingl money into pension gutting efforts. The Wall Street Journal last month unmasked Arnold as a six-figure donor to a secretive advocacy group seeking to overhaul pensions in Rhode Island. Despite calls for transparency, the group has refused to publicly disclose its donors.

The Arnolds already have helped bankroll pension reduction efforts in California, including ballots measures in San Diego and San JoseIn 2011, Arnold gave six-figures to the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, a group trying to gut pensions with changes including forcing public employees into risky 401k-style retirement accounts.