• Some GOP Leaders Soften Tough Talk on Unions Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 | 4:53 PM ET
    Protesters fill the courtyard and steps outside the State Capitol building on February 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Protesters were demonstrating against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers.

    With a wary eye on Wisconsin, Republican leaders in several states are toning down the tough talk against public employee unions and, in some cases, abandoning anti-union measures altogether.

  • The Union Fight in Wisconsin Means Trouble for Munis Friday, 18 Feb 2011 | 1:05 PM ET
    Protesters fill the courtyard and steps outside the State Capitol building on February 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Protesters were demonstrating against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers.

    The mass protests from state workers in Wisconsin and the revolt by Democrats in the state Senate should set off alarm bells for investors in municipal bonds.

  • Illinois Pension Bonds to Test Investors’ Faith Friday, 18 Feb 2011 | 12:31 PM ET

    The first time Illinois tried to bail out its teetering pension fund by borrowing billions of dollars, it ended in disaster. Nevertheless, the state is trying again. The New York Times reports.

  • Why Shareholder Democracy Is a Bad Idea Friday, 18 Feb 2011 | 11:07 AM ET

    The first question anyone should ask about a change to how elections—whether for governments or corporations—are conducted is whether the results will be better government or worse. The next question is whether the proposal make the government or board of directors more representative of the preferences of the voters or less.

  • State Pension Plans Scramble to Avoid Bankruptcy Thursday, 17 Feb 2011 | 12:00 PM ET

    State pension funds, facing a potential multitrillion-dollar shortfall, find themselves in the center of a four-way battle: Employees and retirees expect to be paid their promised benefits; the pension systems have clear obligations but may not have the resources to pay them; politicians are looking for ways to resolve the underfunding and balance the burden among retirees and workers; and state taxpayers, challenged to provide for their own retirements, resent the additional tax load.

  • Illinois Plan for Pensions Questioned Wednesday, 26 Jan 2011 | 11:11 AM ET

    Federal regulators are examining disclosures by Illinois about its unorthodox pension funding method, trying to determine whether the state misled bond investors about the risks. The New York Times reports.

  • States Warned of $2 Trillion Pensions Shortfall Tuesday, 18 Jan 2011 | 4:51 AM ET

    US public pensions face a shortfall of $2,500 billion that will force state and local governments to sell assets and make deep cuts to services, according to the former chairman of New Jersey’s pension fund, reports the Financial Times.

  • Pension Crisis to Take Center Stage in '11: Paterson Friday, 31 Dec 2010 | 11:49 AM ET

    Outgoing New York Democratic Gov. David Paterson cautioned that “everyone will suffer” if there’s a public pension meltdown in 2011.

  • Alabama Town’s Failed Pension Is a Warning Thursday, 23 Dec 2010 | 4:39 AM ET

    A struggling city on the outskirts of Mobile was warned for years that if it did nothing, its pension fund would run out of money by '09. Right on schedule, its fund ran dry. The NY Times reports.

  • Vanguard Founder Critical of Some ETF Returns Friday, 17 Dec 2010 | 3:25 PM ET

    ETFs (exchange-traded funds) may be one of the greatest marketing tools of the 21st century, but, perhaps, not the best investing tool, founder and former CEO of Vanguard, John Bogle, told CNBC Thursday.

  • Mounting State Debts Stoke Fears of a Looming Crisis Sunday, 5 Dec 2010 | 11:04 AM ET

    The finances of some state and local governments are so distressed that some analysts say they are reminded of the run-up to the subprime mortgage meltdown or of the debt crisis hitting nations in Europe. The New York Times reports.

  • Many Like Idea of Spending Cuts More Than Reality: Poll Wednesday, 17 Nov 2010 | 6:30 PM ET

    Americans are skeptical that the mid-term elections will produce much change in Washington—and one reason is their own resistance to deep cuts in federal spending and deficits.

  • Honeywell took a bold step today when it changed its pension accounting, going going to the sometimes controversial (but generally preferred by accounting types) mark-to-market accounting.

  • Is It Really a Pension? It’s a Problem Friday, 5 Nov 2010 | 10:36 AM ET

    Is Social Security a pension plan? No, but it was sold to the public in the 1930s as if it were one, and that matters. The New York Times explains.

  • US Public Pensions Face Day of Reckoning Monday, 1 Nov 2010 | 5:54 AM ET

    Wilshire Associates estimates that as of June 2009, state pension plans were just 65 percent funded, while local government plan funding stood at 74 percent. The FT reports.

  • Greenberg: Chinese IPO Bubble Brewing in U.S.? Friday, 29 Oct 2010 | 3:52 PM ET

    There’s no stopping Chinese IPOs.  Twenty-four of them this year—double last year, according to Renaissance Capital.  And investors love them: Bidding them up on average by 13 percent on the first day of trading. Why care?

  • Big US cities could be squeezed by unfunded public pensions as they and counties face a $574 billion funding gap, a study to be released on Tuesday shows. The Financial Times reports.

  • For decades, public pension funds have bankrolled the private equity industry. Now, frustrated by what it sees as expensive fees and lack of transparency at private equity firms, one state has decided on a do-it-yourself approach. The NYT reports.

  • Calpers Bumped Pay as Fund Dived Tuesday, 21 Sep 2010 | 4:19 AM ET

    As its investment portfolio was losing nearly a quarter of its value, the country's largest public pension fund doled out six-figure bonuses and substantial raises to its top employees, an analysis by The Associated Press has found.