NBC Pundit Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania, voiced support for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's efforts to reduce his state's pension costs Tuesday. Public worker pensions "are not sustainable in their current form," Rendell said during a forum in New York hosted by Bloomberg News. "If Gov. Christie is going after them, it's the right thing to do."
That's high praise from a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee for a Republican pol often mentioned as a future White House occupant, but Rendell has never been shy about going against the partisan grain. (Ask Al Gore about that Florida recount.) Rendell and Christie share at least two traits: burliness and bluntness.
As mayor of Philadelphia in the 1990s, Rendell was not exactly beloved by municpal unions as he struggled to cut costs and stave off bankruptcy.
At the Bloomberg forum, Rendell did say he would not go as far as Wisconsin's GOP Gov. Scott Walker, who pushed through legislation that strips away the right of public-employee unions (except police and fire) to bargain collectively.
Rendell signed a law last November that raises Pennsylvania's retirement age to 65 from 60 for newly hired state workers, and 62 for school employees - while shaving the formula used to calculate benefits. He said that the changes will save the state $16 billion over the next 25 years.
(h/ts to Alex Roarty of the National Journal and Daniel Malloy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for broadcasting the Bloomberg piece on Twitter.)