Talk about being held with the bag, the daily paper in these parts are now reporting that the Milwaukee County Pension Fund is going bad, in a real bad way:
The Milwaukee County Pension Board got a sobering assessment Wednesday of the lagging economy's impact on the pension fund - and some dire speculation on how far south it might go this year.
The county fund lost $56 million in January, a 3.4% drop, to $1.55 billion. The reduction in the fund's value comes on the heels of a $50 million drop for the fourth quarter of 2007, which lowered last year's growth yield to a lower-than-expected 6.3%.
The economic slowdown is hitting or will affect nearly all sectors of the
economy, according to Terry Dennison of Mercer Investment Consulting.
He warned that the county's pension system, which relies on county taxpayer contributions to stay afloat, "could implode" if things spiral down as he fears they may.
"This is not a typical recession," Dennison told the Pension Board. "This one has the elements of system failure. . . . It's spread into everything now."
So the County's Pension Fund drops $100+ million in the last four months, there is talk of major recession (thanks for nothing, Bush), but this doesn't worry County Executive Scott Walker:
County Executive Scott Walker said he was more concerned about potential state budget cuts than he is about the problems with the pension fund.
County Auditor Jerry Heer said the pension fund was in better shape than some board members suggested. The county has taken steps to stabilize the pension system in the wake of the 2002 county pension scandal, he noted.
Okay, Mr. Heer, but what about the pension scandal that just surfaced last year? What did Walker do about that, besides nothing?
Why do I keep thinking about the phrase, "Nero fiddled while Rome burned"?