How Philanthropy Can Help Save Rust Belt Pensions

When Detroit went bankrupt, foundations and corporations stepped in to provide over $800 million in funding to help seal the so-called “grand bargain” that allowed the city emerge from bankruptcy.

Can the grand bargain model be replicated in other cities without having to go into bankruptcy first?

Howard Husock, Vice President of Research and Publications at the Manhattan Institute, argues that the answer is Yes. His new research paper, The Pension Grand Bargain: A New Reform Model for Cities, runs the numbers to show how a deal modeled on the Detroit grand bargain could potentially help save pensions and preserve public services in Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis.

I recently sat down to talk with Howard to record a podcast on this very topic. Our conversation covered:

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 1:10 – Applying the Detroit “grand bargain” to other Rust Belt cities
  • 3:30 – Wasn’t the Detroit grand bargain about the art?
  • 5:17 – Why foundations should bail out pensions – avoiding crowd out
  • 7:11 – How much money are we talking about?
  • 8:24 – How to overcome barriers to implementation?

If the audio player doesn’t display for you, click over to listen on Soundcloud.

Subscribe to podcast via iTunes | Soundcloud.

Thanks everyone for the ratings and reviews. These help other people find the podcast on iTunes and give it a try. So please keep them coming.

from Aaron M. Renn


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