In Illinois, the rich and the poor are taxed at the same flat rate, despite creating a vast inequity. The concentration of wealth through unregulated corporate profit-taking for the wealthy few and the shifting of debts being proposed as part of pension reform are at the expense of middle-class public employees and other citizens. Pension reform is an attempt to bargain away the public employees’ rights to earn a decent income, their defined-benefit pension, and their dignity and self-respect.
In Illinois, the attempt to bust the public sector unions, to create a divide among their membership, to decrease the public employees' Cost-of-Living Adjustment in exchange for "access" to precarious health-care benefits, to increase employees’ contributions and their retirement age, and to shift the burden of the state’s pension costs to school districts and, thus, property owners is an exploitation of public employees.
"Cutting benefits by raising the retirement age or reducing cost-of-living increases is no solution... That should be obvious, but there are plenty of snake-oil-selling politicians who want to do just that. There is only one way to avoid benefit cuts, and that is by raising more revenue” (Economic Policy Institute, April 2012).
When certain Illinois politicians wield power to impoverish some people by destroying their benefits and rights; when the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Civic Federation’s money not only influences the General Assembly’s decision-making policies but generates and perpetuates falsehoods and economic inequality, the people’s trust in the legitimacy of the Illinois state government degenerates into profound skepticism and resentment.
Without a doubt, corporatists are prosperous in Illinois. The Illinois General Assembly guarantees their affluence and will continue to do so. Our submission to corporatists’ corruption, extortion and oppression and our assent to the General Assembly's shameless hypocrisy, protection and perpetuation of wealthy powerful interests must be addressed.
"[Furthermore,] unions, organizations formerly steeped in the doctrine of class struggle and filled with those who sought broad social and political rights for the working class, have been transformed into domesticated partners of the capitalist class. They have been reduced to simple bartering tools. The social demands of unions early in the twentieth century that gave the working class weekends off, the right to strike, the eight-hour day, and Social Security have been abandoned” (Chris Hedges 106). This accession also needs our urgent attention.
Please also read the following blog posts:
“Unions,” July 11, 2012
“Illinois or Should It Be Called Plutocraticstan?” January 28, 2012
“Something Wicked This Way Comes – is back like Banquo’s ghosts… Civic Federation skews ‘research’ to promote destruction of pension plans for public workers” January 22, 2012
“Illinois May Be Broken but Not the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago,” August 26, 2011