STATISTICS have about as much cachet as the average telephone book. They're both such necessary things, but they're dreadfully dry.
But in July, the Bureau of Economic Analysis is changing how it measures the nation's Gross Domestic Product, and that could shed much-needed light on a national scandal - the underfunding of state and local pension plans.
As part of its tweaking of the GDP formula, the bureau will adopt a form of accounting - another deceptively dry discipline - that measures pension plans using the present-day value of future benefits promised by employers.
"This change, called accrual-based accounting, likely will spotlight the unfunded promises in government pension plans," one story said.
The old measures "just sort of measured the cash flow," said Brent Moulton, associate director of national economic accounts for the bureau.
"It's now been recognized both by economists and accountants . . . that you need to take the present value of those future obligations."
Still not interested? Quite understandable.
Just remember: These promises are kept with your money, your children's money, and your children's children's money - at the expense of funding other needs.