Rudolph Atallah, senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, testified at a House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on “The Growing Crisis in Africa’s Sahel Region.”
On the heels of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the United States, Energy & Environment Program Associate Director Mihaela Carstei joins CTV to discuss the Keystone Pipeline project that would transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in the Gulf coast of Texas.
The British-North American Committee Public Sector Pensions Report warns that the true costs of public sector pensions are being significantly understated by the U.S., UK and Canadian governments.
In the UK, where unfunded schemes predominate, public sector pension liabilities are already equivalent to 85 percent of GDP. This is three times higher than in North America, where the majority of public sector schemes are now funded to meet all or some of the cost of anticipated future pension liabilities. In the U.S., the same figure is “only” 28% of GDP, and in Canada, it is 27 percent. BNAC’s report found that all three countries use interest rates in their pension calculations that are higher than their own sovereign market-based interest rates as required by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSAB) Standard IPSAS25. This results in liability calculations below the market rate calculation.
The BNAC study makes three recommendations:
- Transparency of costs in public bodies’ reports to taxpayers, particularly in calculation methodology, should be the first priority of all three governments.
- Pension liabilities promised by a public body should be valued (and charged for) at sovereign market interest rates. Any other interest rate is likely to understate the true cost of pensions and distort reporting between unfunded and funded pension schemes. This recommendation is in line with IPSAS25.
- Consideration should be given to amortizing or monetizing net public pension liabilities, so that intergenerational transfers between taxpayers are explicit.
- Dodging the bill: The great public-sector pension rip-off – Economist
- Public-sector pensions: Unsatisfactory state – Economist
- UK public sector pensions burden worse than in US – Telegraph
- UK's debt will quadruple unless drastic steps are taken, says S&P – Telegraph
- Dark pension cloud hangs over UK as US emerges from sub-prime storm – Telegraph
Photo by Flickr user Robert Stokes under Creative Commons license.
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On May 22, the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative will hold a discussion on the history of cyber critical infrastructure protection in recognition of the 15th anniversary of Presidential Decision Directive 63 (PDD-63).
On May 23, the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Peace and Security Initiative at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security is hosting a panel discussion on new developments in security cooperation among the United States, its European allies, and the Gulf states, and how they are likely to evolve in the coming years.
On May 30, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center will release a new issue brief, The Kaleidoscope Turns Again in a Crisis-Challenged Iran, a discussion of Iran’s upcoming presidential elections.
From June 13-14, the 2013 Wrocław Global Forum will bring together over 350 top policy-makers and business leaders to explore the region’s impact as an actor in Europe, as well as its crucial role in the transatlantic partnership and on the global stage.