The depth of the problem varies across states. Some, like Washington, has 95% of pension obligations funded, while others like Rhode Island have funded less than half. This graphic from the Pew report shows states with above 80% funding (the national average) highlighted in blue, and those below the average in gray.
|Source: Pew, the Widening Gap Report.|
So whose fault is it? On the one hand, state policymakers shouldn't have promised more than they could reasonably deliver, and now that retirees are expecting those benefits, it will be cruel and difficult to make those promises go away. On the other hand, public sector unions shouldn't have been so greedy for benefits and set us on this unsustainable path to begin with.
There is no convenient scapegoat in this case because the politicians, unions, and workers all made mistakes to some extent. Scott Walker's success in the Wisconsin recall demonstrates the public is ready for bold action to rein in the costs of public sector retirement benefits, but expect more heated political battles ahead.