As if the news on state and local pensions weren't bad enough, a report out today by Wilshire Associates estimates that our pension funds collectively earned just 1.15 percent on their investments in the fiscal-year ended June 30. This comes at a time when most funds are projecting annual returns of from 7.5 percent to 8 percent. In other words, they fell well short of their investment goals. With funds already paying out more than $200 billion a year in benefits and 14.5 million government workers accruing new retirement credits every day, the poor investment returns mean that unfunded state and local pension liabilities continue growing larger, and the cost of fixing them gets steeper. Meanwhile, the number of beneficiaries keeps growing relative to those working and (in states where it's required) contributing to pensions.