Promises Premises

Last month, the Pew Center on the States published a report titled “The Trillion Dollar Gap” that highlighted the apparent chasm between the potential obligations of the assorted pension and retiree health-care programs of the 50 states, and the money set aside to pay for them. In some respects, the portrayal was better than it might have been: For one thing, the analysis was based on plan year-ends that predated the Q4 2008 meltdown, and it focused only on state programs, rather than the assortment of local government programs.

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