California Pension Tsunami's Jack Dean on the Growing Wave of Public Pension Debt


At his website PensionTsunami, Jack Dean and his staff chronicle the ever-growing wave of public pension debt. "The whole idea of the pension was to provide public servants with a decent retirement," says Dean.  "It wasn't to make them wealthy, to allow them to retire younger and with more money and be able to go off and play golf while the rest of us supported them."'s Ted Balaker spoke with Dean about a fiscal mess so large that even prominent liberals like former California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown are sounding the alarm.

Interview shot by Alex Manning and Paul Detrick. Edited by Manning. Approximately 9.47 minutes.

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  1. Oh look, he’s black. Libertarians must not be racists.

    Oh wait, I’m not an idiot.

    1. What does this have to do with smoking?

    2. That is right! Libertarians disagree with Obama on political issues. This makes them racist. Anyone who disagrees with the FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT on political issues must be racist.

    3. All libertarians are racists therefore since he is black he must not be a libertarian?


      All libertarians are racist therefore since he’s black he must be an uncle tom?


      All libertarians are racist and they can’t trick me by posting pictures of black people to their websites.


      Yes, you are an idiot.

  2. Whatever we pay our public servants, it’s clearly never enough.

    PULLMAN ? Greg Royer ranks among the state’s top-paid employees, with a salary of $304,000. But that’s just part of his income. For nearly seven years, he’s also collected an annual pension of $105,000.
    At WSU, Royer, 61, has collected about $700,000 in retirement benefits while continuing to draw his salary. In recent years, he’s been responsible for overseeing some of the deepest budget cuts in the university’s history. Last year, for instance, WSU announced it was cutting about 360 jobs, axing its theater and dance program and hiking tuition by 14 percent.

    Indeed, these college administrative employees are benefiting at a time when state higher-education funding is being slashed. And most have been receiving money from a pension plan that’s underfunded by some $4 billion ? a shortfall that leaves every state taxpayer on the hook.

    Take notice, public sector. When you’ve lost the support of The Seattle Times, the writing is on the wall.

    1. It isn’t the writing that should be nailed to the wall.

  3. Yeah, Ha! Here’s my favorite:

    In an interview, Tapfer, 58, who collects a salary of $70,000 and a pension of $36,000, said he had “no inkling” that he might get rehired at the time he left WSU.

    “I’m an ordinary guy who is working for a living. I put in a lot of years, and you’re making out like I’m doing something wrong,” he said. “If you want to criticize the system, fine, but don’t criticize the individual.”

    Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

    1. I have an overabundance of hate. I can muster hate for both playa and game.

    2. “I am a retired investor on a pension, and I wished to live there as a Jew in the twilight of my life.”

  4. Wow that dude actually makes a lot of sense.

  5. Wow that dude actually makes a lot of sense.

  6. “The whole idea of the pension was to provide public servants with a decent retirement,” says Dean.

    No, it wasn’t.

    The whole idea was to allow politicians to vote benefits to public employee unions while deferring a large part of the cost of those benefits to a time when the politicians would no longer be in office and wouldn’t have to worry if the voters liked it or not.

    1. I’ll let him get away with that just because saying otherwise would cause the people he’s dealing with to dismiss him outright.

  7. The scariest part of that interview is when Mr. Dean answers the question about LA’s current fiscal solvency and basically says that San Diego, LA and San Fran are already essentially bankrupt they just won’t admit it.

    I can’t wait to see the retirees getting dragged off the golf courses when they stop receiving pension checks.

    How hilarious would it be if California does with the pension checks what they did with the tax returns and instead of checks they mailed out “IOU’s”.


    1. They won’t.

      They will take the fillings out of taxpayers’ teeth and sell state prisoners into slavery before any public employee loses one dollar of their pension.

      1. Flip that: They’ll take the fillings out of prisoners’ teeth and sell the taxpayers into slavery…

      2. Prisoners are already working for the government. Given their pay and the fact they have few options as to where they work, one could reasonably call it “slavery”. I know some might disagree but if you choose to work while in prison you have few options.

  8. A guaranteed benefit stream coupled with variable investment returns is a recipe for disaster.

    Eliminate all defined benefit pension plans and make all plans defined contribution. Problem solved.

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  10. This pension issue really is just about the biggest issue facing our country today. Combined with social security, medicare, medicaid, etc., we’re in big trouble.

    Check out the article w’ve posted on for more on this issue:…..ilout.html

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