K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: California Pension Math Test

The Wall Street Journal

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has a well-deserved rap as a taxpayer drain. So to rehabilitate its image, the pension fund has produced a “study” purporting that public-worker pensions are California’s biggest jobs generator. As if Californians needed more reason to doubt the pension behemoth’s math.

According to the 14-page analysis, “CalPERS benefit payments and investments in California are essential to the state’s economy” (Calpers’s bolded emphasis). For instance, Calpers “supports” 1.5 million jobs in the state. That figure includes every job at a California business in which Calpers invests including the 664 companies in its public equity portfolio like Google, GOOGL -1.63% Apple AAPL -0.74% and Walt Disney. DIS -0.65% Who knew that the public pension fund was essential to the survival of so many successful California public companies?

Calpers also notes that “the economic impact of CalPERS benefits far exceed initial taxpayer contributions.” Lo, the fund claims to return $10.85 in “economic activity” for every dollar taxpayers contribute, which would make public pensions the best government stimulus of all time.