Think Tank Plans

After doing the blog on the hypocrisy of the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems (NCPERS) advocating for Defined Benefit plans in the public sector while they themselves provide their employees most of their pension benefits through a 401(k) plan I got to wondering how other think tanks were compensating their employees.  Augmenting the hit list provided by NCPERS I researched 24 think tanks on http://www.guidestar.org for their 990 forms and http://www.efast.dol.org for their 5500 forms for a comparison (all forms are here).

Two things stand out.

1)  these places pay pretty well judging by the salary of the highest paid official from each:

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2) None are putting much, if any, faith in Defined Benefit plans for their retirements:

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The 24 break down this way:

  • 11- no plan
  • 12 – 401(k) as primary plan*
  • 1 – Defined Benefit Plan only and benefits under that plan (Massachusetts Taxpayer Foundation) have been frozen since 2010 allowing the plan to get to full funding.

The people who, in theory, know more than us have effectively abandoned Defined Benefit plans.  Even the primary advocate of Defined Benefit plans in the public sector (NCPERS) has only a token DB plan that could just as easily switch the $20,000 annually being deposited into it to the much larger 401(k) plan that they maintain.

Could they all be jealous of public sector workers and their super-underfunded Defined Benefit plans?

.

.

.

* The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research maintains both a Money Purchase and 401(k) Plan while the Franklin Center terminated their 403(b) plan in 2015 and started up a 401(k) which might be a 401(k)(10) issue.

38 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on December 25, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Hey SMD is this possible is JB correct does Ed Ring really advocate DBP??

    Reply

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 26, 2016 at 5:07 am

      Sort of. He also advocates very material reductions in formulas for new and legacy members.
      And changes in management to get more financial expertise and less conflict of interest.

      If they can’t do it right, then yeah, he wants to get rid of DB. So…

      “Defined Benefit Pensions are superior (if done right.)”
      Damned by faint praise.

      Reply

    • Posted by Tough Luck on December 26, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Does anyone know if ER draws a separate salary from his Union Watch post? Could it be his total take from his think tank work is more than what is listed for the California Policy Center gig?

      Reply

  2. Posted by Anonymous on December 25, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    http://californiapolicycenter.org/author/edring/

    Wikileaks must have hacked this website and posting inaccurate/misleading information.

    Reply

  3. Posted by skip3house on December 26, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Under our State Constitution every dollar of pension payments which is over and above what was set aside while that retiree was working is a debt or obligation that was never approved by voters as required by the state Constitution. RepudiateNJ dot com

    ===========================

    You can view the full story at the following URL:

    http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/01/10/op-ed-deeper-debt-waiting-for-taxpayers-due-to-pension-irresponsibility/

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2016 at 9:22 am

      Any SC ruling is based on legal opinion/interpration of individuals at a point in time. As those individuals change so can the rule of law. Bottom line the State has been allowed, through AG opinion, to circumvent the debt limitations clause by continually issuing conduit debt using autonomous quazi governmental entities. Most recent example being the proposed $300m State House renovations using NJEDA to issue the bonds. OK voters pipe up?

      Reply

      • Posted by skip3house on December 26, 2016 at 10:34 am

        Didn’t we see where all these type ‘loans’ have on top in big print,..’..Not Guaranteed by State of New Jersey…’….?

        Reply

        • Posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2016 at 10:47 am

          Sure does, also says subject to legislative appropriations just like the pension payments! So where does that leave us?

          Reply

  4. Posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2016 at 11:27 am

    For all pensions to existing retirees over $50,000 per year, whenever necessary, reduce the pension payout by an amount proportional to the amount the existing pension assets are underfunded. Restore them – but not retroactively – whenever and to the extent the funds move back towards being 100% funded. This can be accomplished by declaring a fiscal emergency.

    SH from SMD link posted above. And to a prorated reduction in ALL non voter approved conduit debt based upon the ratio of State pension funding/unfunded liability, seems fair?

    Reply

    • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 27, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      “For all pensions to existing retirees over $50,000 per year, whenever necessary, reduce the pension payout by an amount proportional to the amount the existing pension assets are underfunded.”

      Ed was talking specifically of California, but I wonder if this concept is in the future for other systems (like… New Jersey?)

      Mark Glennon, of Wirepoints suggested something similar, as have other columns or commenters.

      Is it fair? Probably not. Is it even workable? Somebody who doesn’t have the initials TL should do the math. (Or initials ER. while looking for data I saw several samples of Ed Ring math. GIGO all the way.)

      Couldn’t find any helpful data. From memory, the average CA pension is $31,000. The median is much lower. I believe I read something like over 75% of CalPERS pensions are under $35,000 (ish) per year.

      How hard would we have to hit those $50,000 and over pensions to make a dent?

      Reply

      • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 27, 2016 at 6:21 pm

        Also…

        “This can be accomplished by declaring a fiscal emergency.”

        If only!!

        May be a fiscal emergency… and a constitutional amendment.

        Reply

      • From memory, the average CA pension is $31,000. The median is much lower. I believe I read something like over 75% of CalPERS pensions are under $35,000 (ish) per year.
        Now try posting the “average” from full time employees with 30 or more years of service, and have retired in the last 7 years, would look like the CHP- over $100K on “average”, at age 54….

        Reply

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 28, 2016 at 12:16 am

        • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 28, 2016 at 12:23 am

          The question was how many pensions are actually over $50,000. If haircuts are needed, should those under $50k be shielded…

          That’s all.

          Reply

          • Posted by Anonymous on December 28, 2016 at 7:39 am

            Good point. I wonder how those in the military making over $50k in retirement would welcome a haircut? Especially considering they were mostly bald during their career.

          • Posted by skip3house on December 28, 2016 at 10:25 am

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          • Posted by S Moderation Douglas on December 28, 2016 at 2:58 pm

            If this gives you some idea, in 2012…

            ” the mean CalPERS pension is $26,000 per year and the median CalPERS pension is only $18,000 per year.”

            If the median was $18,000 (plus) then a very small portion of pensions must be over $50,000. Not enough big money pensions to cut. Haircuts would surely go to those under $50,000 also.

            In Illinois and New Jersey, also?

  5. Posted by Theodore Konshak on December 26, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I was disappointed. I was hoping you’d list the Pension Rights Center in Washington, D.C. or AARP.

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 26, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      And probably some others. What I find interesting is how the term “vested interest” or “special interest” is bantered about. Like public employees’ unions are the only one with such a vile position. Everyone has such a position, directly or indirectly, whether their source of payments are derived from consumer’s, in the case of government referred to as taxpayers.

      And yes, within reason and with limitations, we have free choice of what we buy, where we buy it, and where we live. Free market doesn’t stop with State or Country boundaries.

      Reply

    • Pension Rights Center net revenue: $974,905. President Karen Ferguson – $68,000 salary, VP Karen Friedman – $102,000 no plan

      AARP – 1.4 billion in revenue; Highest paid – Addison Rand – $1,628,832 with another 18 averaging about $450k. Plans:
      001 – DB plan for 4,662 participants with total assets of $700 million and 120% funded.
      002 – 401k plan for 3,000 participants with total assets of $400 million.
      003 – 401k plan for 10 Puerto Rico employees with total assets of $750k

      Reply

  6. Posted by Anonymous on December 27, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Let your fingers do the walking it’s a sample;

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/AARP

    Reply

    • Posted by Anonymous on December 27, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      This autocorrect is like listening to a politician talk, you never know what the heck they’re going to say…..

      fyi, sample s/b snap

      Reply

  7. Posted by Theodore Konshak on December 27, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    And what are the future investment return and other assumptions of the AARP DB plan? Are they comparable to those used by public sector pension plans?

    Reply

  8. Posted by Anonymous on December 27, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    Impending Trump appointment awaits, possibly advisor on ethics or something relative to his expertise;

    http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2016/12/ex-nj_assemblyman_guilty_of_53m_fraud_to_be_senten.html#incart_river_mobile_index

    Reply

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