Pension Funds Recovering – It Wasn’t Unions After All!

Do you remember the big buildup of stories in the right-wing press, and all the “reports” and “studies” from right-wing and Wall Street-funded “think tanks” and “institutes,” all warning that public-employee unions and were causing pension fund costs to soar? They all claimed that all the cities and states would be bankrupt because of the outrageous pay and benefits that government workers receive?
Remember that?
And remember how it led to a campaign in several states to gut union rights, and gut public-employee pay and benefits?
And have you noticed that the whole things has sort of gone away? It isn’t in the news now? All those stories that were in the press and all the “experts” who were on the talk-radio programs have quieted down?
It was almost like it was a marketing campaign for a movie of a new Apple iPhone, wasn’t it?
That’s because it was exactly that. It’s called “Shock Doctrine” tactics.
Anyway, in the news: from July, California pension funds post big annual gains,

California’s biggest pension funds reported that a booming stock market and private-equity gains helped them post their largest returns in over a decade.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System pension fund grew 20.7% in the fiscal year ending June 30, its best return in 14 years. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System fund, known as CalSTRS, increased 23.1%, the best it has done in a quarter century.
Both pension funds, which rank as the two largest in the nation, have been in a period of recovery since massive losses during the financial crisis.
… Both pension funds benefited from the stock market’s revival since the depths of the financial crisis in March 2009, when major stock market indexes fell to 12-year lows.

20.7% gains. GOSH, maybe it was the recession and not public-employees that made pension returns look so bad! Ans when the stock market went back up, the whole “problem” turned around.
Today, Washington Post, State, local pension funds continue to recover,

State and local pension funds continued to recover this spring from the depths of the Great Recession as their gains from investments and from higher annual taxpayer contributions lifted their holdings to their highest levels in three years, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.
The assets for the nation’s 100-largest public-employee pensions systems rose more than 1 percent during the second quarter, to $2.8‚ÄČtrillion, the Census Bureau said. The increase contributed to a nearly 18 percent gain in holdings over the previous year.

18% returns nationally. The Post says credits reforms requiring employees to put more in, but that would have nothing to do with the returns the funds are getting today.