The political debate over pension benefits for public employees has become more strident than ever.

Individual opinions tend to be tied to the personal politics of the individuals in question. But how informed are those opinions? The burden of pension obligations on local and state budgets is hard to overstate. Much of the political debate is fueled by the massive dollar figures, in the hundreds of millions and billions, related to pension liabilities and the assets in pension funds.

Just what are individuals in public defined benefit pension programs getting when they retire?, a website run and funded by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, wants that information disclosed. To that end, they've built an interactive pension calculator tool that allows individuals to calculate the monthly retirement benefits public servants get when they retire.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.