weekly blog--one for the ages
If the markets remain at their current levels until June, most public pension plans will conclude fiscal year 2020 with negative annual investment returns, reduced asset values, lower funded ratios, and higher actuarial costs, according to a report from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research.
Given that the aggregate funded status of public plans has remained virtually unchanged since the last financial crisis, this downturn is a serious step backwards in their funding progress. Projections suggest that plan finances will continue to decline in the wake of the downturn, but that, overall, plans can endure and will maintain sufficient assets from which to pay benefits. However, some plans with extremely low funded ratios face an increased risk of exhausting their assets and the high cost of pay-go funding if they do.
For Italians in the 14th-century, the Black plague at first seemed extraordinary, then it became ordinary, even endemic, according to a Stanford University historian. People responded creatively to the initial waves of plague. They thought about life and death, love and friendship, sickness, and health differently. They took the moral pulse of their society, while getting down and dirty in the political struggles of the age.
Once people got used to the idea that plague would periodically return, it became an economic annoyance, a catalyst for social negotiation and an administrative problem to resolve. The arc and duration of each outbreak became a measure of the success and failure of public health, rather than a subject of great reflection.
Hospitals and charitable institutions benefited from the ongoing need to experiment with how to care and cure, and how to tend compassionately to the poor during the horrors and fears of a major pandemic.