MINOT, N.D. — Pension reform can be complicated stuff. The average North Dakota citizen is a busy person and probably not up to speed on all the ins and outs of the pension reform debate going on in Bismarck right now.
That’s understandable, but it also makes them vulnerable to misleading nonsense, such as that currently being peddled by former Congressman Earl Pomeroy.
He writes about “H.R. 1040” (it’s actually House Bill 1040, “house resolution” is the terminology they use in Washington, D.C.) , which he describes as legislation that will spend “$5.3 billion dollars to convert our state retirement program, giving North Dakotans less but Wall Street so much more.” This probably leaves you with the impression that the $5.3 billion is being doled out to Wall Street.
But it’s not. That’s the cost of keeping North Dakota’s workers who are currently vested in the pension plan whole while transitioning new hires to a defined-contribution plan. It’s offensive, frankly, that Pomeroy would incorrectly characterize this good-faith move to follow through on the commitment to currently vested public workers.
By the way, our state’s pension fund is invested in stocks and bonds just like private sector retirement plans are.