Category Archives: Retirement Security

Phil Barbell Pension Presentation

Phil Barbell gave a a presentation to the Alaska State Senate Leadership outlining the state’s public pension system Alaska Retirement Management Board. His presentation aims to provide legislators a clear understanding of Resolution 2011-23 and its attachments approved by the Alaska Retirement Management Board, as well as other exhibits helpful in understanding the dynamics of the unfunded liability.  A PDF of his presentation is available at this link.

Unions Make the Middle Class

Without Unions, the Middle Class Withers

A study released by the Center for American Progress American Worker Project reveals the importance of unions in creating and keeping a strong middle class.

Why should anyone—especially those who are not union members—care that union membership is at record lows and likely to fall even further? Because if you care about the middle class, you need to care about unions.

Critics of unions claim they are unimportant today or even harmful to the economy, but unions are essential for building a strong middle class. And rebuilding the middle class after decades of decline and stagnation is essential for restoring our economy.

Unions make the middle class strong by ensuring workers have a strong voice in both the market and in our democracy. When unions are strong they are able to ensure that workers are paid fair wages, receive the training they need to advance to the middle class, and are considered in corporate decision-making processes. Unions also promote political participation among all Americans, and help workers secure government policies that support the middle class, such as Social Security, family leave, and the minimum wage.

[Directly excerpted from the Center for American Progress American Worker Project on April 17, 2011. Download the complete study Unions Make the Middle Class.]

Wisconsin Pension Plan Among Most Secure

The protests in Wisconsin over public workers’ pay, benefits and collective bargaining rights have underscored a dilemma facing many states: the cost of public pensions and how cash-strapped governments should pay for them. But the turmoil overshadows a salient point: Wisconsin may have a budget deficit, but its pension system does not.
Studies show that Wisconsin’s state pension program is one of the most solid in the country and has enough funds to cover the promises made not only to current retirees but to those in the future.

[Directly excerpted from Stateline on March 22, 2011.]

Blueprint: Creating Jobs and Strengthening the Middle Class

While Americans continue to look for jobs, the economy itself has been growing for six quarters. Instead of creating jobs to put millions of Americans back to work, big banks and corporations continue to amass wealth at the taxpayers’ expense. As industries that once employed vast swaths of our population continue to disappear, and as other nations continue to move full speed ahead in the race to a new green economy, advancing policies that promote and invest in green jobs here at home is more critical than ever.  The demand is clear.  In fact, a recent Pew Research Center poll shows that 84 percent of respondents cite the job crisis as their top priority, significantly outpacing worries about the budget deficit and health care costs. Americans desperately want to see real investments in job creation, and they want to see it now.

As part of Progressive States Network’s Blueprint for Economic Security 2011, we have identified three common-sense, progressive solutions to create jobs and strengthen the middle class: Green Jobs Workforce Development programs, Energy Efficient Schools and Buildings, and innovative Financing Mechanisms that leverage public and private investment in clean energy and energy efficiency. These policy solutions are part of legislation that has been proven to create and sustain jobs, made our work and living environments healthier, and spurred economic growth for our communities, including options to provide financing without delving into state budgets.

[Directly excerpted from Progressive States Network on February 23, 2011. Click to read the full report.]

Repealing Health Reform’s Maintenance of Effort Provision Could Cause Millions of Children, Parents, Seniors, and People With Disabilities to Lose Coverage

A number of Republican governors have asked Congress to repeal the maintenance of effort provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which generally requires states to hold coverage steady in their Medicaid and CHIP programs until 2014. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a paper that highlights the harmful effects such a repeal would have on children, working parents, and the economy.


[The full paper, released on February 10, 2011 from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, can be downloaded here.]