A real reform would be to adopt a proposal by House Speaker Jim Tucker to place all new public employees in a defined-contribution retirement plan similar to the 401(k) plans prevalent in the private sector. That would still give future public employees retirement benefits without exposing the state to fiscal ruin. Defenders of the current retirement system argue that state employees deserve guaranteed pensions because they earn modest salaries. Compensation figures collected by the U.S. Department of Labor contradict that, showing that public employees as a group earn as much or more than workers in the private sector. And unlike public employees, most Louisianians don't have a guaranteed retirement at their workplace. To ask Louisiana taxpayers to continue paying for guaranteed pensions for tens of thousands of public employees is not only unfair, it's unsustainable. Legislators need to stop nibbling at the edges of this crisis. They ought to tackle it head on by adopting measures like Rep. Tucker's.