Monday, May 2, 2011

Illinois Is Broke: an Insidious Scheme

It is unjust to attempt to “diminish and impair” the current and retired teachers’ pension.  All teachers rely on one another for their pension’s sustainability, their financial future, and their dignity. All teachers’ compensation is earned, including “deferred” pension monies. This compensation is also protected by a “constitutional” pension clause.
It is ironic that public employees are blamed for the State’s budget deficit. Why? Last year, “state and local governments gave nearly $70 billion to corporations.  [These are] massive subsidies and welfare for these large corporations… even though corporate profits have increased 60 percent, and corporations have almost $2 trillion in cash… [Corporations] are not investing this money. They are not creating jobs. They are hoarding this money that they have pulled out of the economy” (David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist). 
The State’s underfunding of the pensions for several decades, interest payments for debts incurred, subsequent tax breaks for the wealthy, the decrease in tax revenues, corporate fraud and greed, and the prior stock-market crash have caused the State’s budget problems. 
Nevertheless, teachers and other public employees have become scapegoats because media and certain devious groups perpetrate lies such as “teachers and other public employees do not contribute to their pension funds or healthcare,” and “taxpayers pay [for nearly all of the] public pension benefits.” 
Teachers and other public employees are victims of falsehood because wealthy members of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago use “questionable statistics to imply that all public-sector retirees who receive large pension payouts are representative of all public-sector pensioners, and that is the cause of [the State’s financial mess]” (Government Finance Review).  

The Civic Committee's website, Illinois Is Broke, also “fails to acknowledge any contrary data,” such as the significant recovery in the equity market; it also fails to admit that “Two-Tier TRS benefits [and the proposed Defined-Contribution Savings Plans] will not provide enough retirement income for school districts to avoid the expense of paying into the Social Security System [which will be even more expensive for taxpayers]” (State Journal Register).  
Robbing teachers of their pensions is a way for corporate CEOs “to deflect attention from the theft of some $17 billion in wages, savings and earnings among American workers… from speculators on Wall Street who looted the U.S. Treasury…, [who] stymied any kind of regulation… and [who] avoided criminal charges, [and this is perhaps the most insidious scheme]” (Chris Hedges, from The Promotion of Liberty)

-Glen Brown


  1. This is the core of it all. "Starve the Beast" is the basic technique of defunding corpoarate departments and governmental programs, services and departments to the point where they can no longer effectively function at which point the "beast" is useless and must be destroyed. The newest twist is to give the money away to friends who will corruptively repay the giver and then defund the "beast" because there is no funding left. "We would love to help you live your lavish teacherly lifestyle, but we are broke and cannot pay for your wasteful extravagences. Share our sacrifice you prodigal wretch." What you have researched and written shows that many people see "the man behind the curtain" and his manipulations.

  2. Thanks for your reply. Now come out from behind your "curtain" of anonymity and without using a faulty analogy, the fallacy of name-calling, erroneous information, and an appeal to prejudice, let's discuss the issue logically and ethically.