Many economists view underfunded pensions as one of the biggest threats to the nation's fiscal health. Two votes in California Tuesday show how public sentiment is leaning toward cutting costs, even if it means taking away promised benefits.
Let's take the politics out of the debate over public sector unions and their benefits, and look strictly at the figures. When you strip away the rhetoric, you can chart two macroeconomic trends and two patterns of fiscally foolish assumptions that have put both states and unions into this mess.
Major news stories ebb and flow, rising to the headlines and then slipping out of the spotlight. But even as they fade from attention, keep an eye on this handful of long-term issues with the potential to disrupt the U.S. economy and global recovery.