Over the next 20-30 years, it is reasonable to expect both the P.E. ratio and dividend yield of the S&P 500 to rise fairly dramatically and, with those increases, there will be a significant increase in the nominal dollar price of the S&P 500 index. The nominal price of other sorts of equities held by the pension fund will rise in a similar fashion. And, of course, the county will have fixed its pension obligation, repaying the bonds with 2012 dollars at a low interest rate. If it sells its equity investments, the county will have sold high, used the proceeds to buy low, and then sold the purchased at a significantly higher price, a certain way to make money.