For a variety of well known reasons, many public and private pension plans are underfunded. The effect of underfunding is a long and drawnout process, because the plans can consume their assets (for a time). to meet current funding. Eventually this gambit runs out as we see in this posting. http://www.pionline.com/article/20120419/REG/120419842/in-apparent-first-a-public-pension-plan-files-for-bankruptcy
The Federal Reserve policy of zero interest rates is having a large future effect on the ability of pension funds to meet their obligations. A large fraction of pension fund earnings comes from interest. Plans to refinance mortgages and extend low student loan rates will also hit pension fund earnings hard.
The good news: The effects of these ruinous policies won't be felt until well after the next election. If all of us had the planning horizon of a politician, life could be much simpler.