PBS Punts

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has recently been doing a series on public pensions in peril which seems to have kicked off around the time that Fox Business began their Pension Crisis: The Gathering Storm series.  PBS put up an infographic,  looked at a global perspective, and focused on Illinois and California providing valuable coverage of the next major bust (which will be on a scale that will dwarf the predatory lending fiasco of the last decade).  However the series will end because the funder has been linked to an agenda (which presumably anyone who funds or advertises on public media needs to be devoid of).

There is a real public pension funding crisis yet PBS viewers will not be told about it just as 110 years ago the public did not hear about Standard Oil except from Ida Tarbell or 10 years ago the public did not hear about MBSs or CDOs or CDSs until the housing market imploded.

From The Watchdog That Didn’t Bark by Dean Starkman:

What industrial concentration was to the muckrakers’ era, financialization is to ours.  Both phenomena were equally baffling to the literate citizen.  Both demanded an explanation.  Both had been brewing for decades.  Both were marked by institutionalized lawlessness perpetrated by increasingly brazen brand-name firms.  Both were widely known among legislators, lawyers, clerks, cops, bartenders, and prostitutes – just not the public.

The public pension crisis and the actuarial machinations to keep it hidden fall into that pattern almost exactly (except for that ‘bartenders and prostitutes’ part which is a stretch) except that in the past donors and advertisers paid media outlets to cover other issues in lieu of those they were looking to distract the public from whereas now you can’t even bribe some media outlets to cover issues of importance to the public.

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