Note added at 7 p.m. Not so fast is this the end of the story. Apparently the problem is a bit more complex and requires a clear statement from PERS about what is going on. According to PERS' website, the 2005 financials include the December earnings rate for the variable at 13+%. Since the December earnings are typically within a fraction of a percent of the earnings paid out after end of year accounting, it is somewhat disconcerting to see a 5% difference between the stated December penultimate earnings figure and the actual figure of 8.39%. While I'm certain there is an explanation for this huge divergence, PERS has some big explaining to do. My note above still stands - the variable earnings are supposed to be actual earnings on funds more aggressively invested than the regular Tier 1 fixed account. This year something doesn't add up. Hopefully my contacts at PERS can provide some guidance on this disparity.
Note added even later: My bad. The original statement stands. PERS shows at its variable listing that the 2005 December earnings are indeed 8.29%, not the 13+ I reported earning. I apologize for the confusion. The variable really *did* earn less in 2005 than the regular for the reasons noted above.