The Swiftboating of David Crane?

The Sacramento Bee, 5/11/11.

John Ortiz

Is former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chief pension change advocate getting smeared by the unions? He thinks so.

David Crane, who was an economic adviser and big-time pension system critic in the Schwarzenegger administration, tells The State Worker that it’s “painfully ironic” that he has been taken to task as a public employee basher.

That charge is among several outlined on, a Californians for Secure Retirement website that skewers Crane and several other public figures (sporting digitized goat horns) who have called for changes to the system. Crane is referred to as the “Scapegoater-in-Chief.”

Here’s the rest of what Crane’s emailed rebuttal, sent via Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger’s former press secretary. (McLear recently launched a Sacramento-based communications consulting firm, the Ginsberg McLear Group, with Josh Ginsberg, Schwarzenegger’s political director.)

Throughout the pension discussion I have gone out of my way to state that public employees should NOT be scapegoated. E.g., in a February SF Chronicle op-ed I wrote:

“State workers aren’t the villains in this drama. The average annual pension earned by a retiring state employee in 2010 is less than $40,000 – hardly extravagant. No, the villains are the politicians who benefit politically from promising but not funding retirement benefits and the public pension fund officials who hide how much is really needed to meet those promises.”

And just last (month) I repeated that same point on Fox Business, probably to an audience that didn’t want to hear it.

In fact, current and future public employees — along with college students paying higher tuition costs, taxpayers paying higher taxes without getting more services for those higher taxes, and citizens suffering cutbacks to services — are all victims of all those unfunded obligations because solving the problem requires shared sacrifice.

I’m more than happy to defend my positions on pension fund accounting and politicians not funding promises they make with the future’s money, but I don’t know how to defend against attacks for things I don’t do.

Click here for Crane’s item in the Chronicle.

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