I recently got to talk with John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of "The John and Ken Show" on KFI AM 640 (Los Angeles), the most listened to local radio talk show in the nation, about my new California public pension study, How California's Public Pension System Broke (and How to Fix It). They were rightly outraged (as all California taxpayers should be) by the poor decisions made by legislators with regard to public employee compensation—like the decisions to increase state workers' pensions by up to 50% (and to make those increases retroactive!) in 1999, hire an additional 13,000 employees during the recession (while the private sector was forced to suffer significant layoffs and other cutbacks to maintain fiscal responsibility), and increase benefits without changing benefit formulas by expanding the definition of who is considered a "public safety" employee (which offers larger benefits and now includes prison cooks, plumbers, groundskeepers, teachers, dentists, business managers, and “audiovisual specialists”).
Listen to a podcast of the interview here (.mp3 file). (You can also listen via streaming audio from the John and Ken podcast page here—scroll down to "Tax Revolt 5PM (6/3): How to Fix California's Pension Crisis.") My part starts about 2:30 into the clip and, with the commercials edited out, runs about 15 minutes long.
For a historical look at how a number of state and local governments got into their public pension problems, see my earlier pension study, The Gathering Pension Storm: How Government Pension Plans Are Breaking the Bank and Strategies for Reform (Full Study | Policy Summary).