First, let us not forget that one of the main causes of the budget crisis and lack of revenue in Illinois is the State’s erratic and irresponsible annual contribution payments to the public pension plans (National Institute on Retirement, May 2011). Add wide-spread corporate financial corruption that created the financial crisis of 2008-09 and; thus, there are rampant foreclosures, stagnant unemployment, and the outsourcing of jobs while tax breaks for the wealthy persists.
Combine corporate-backed legislators that use selected instances of doom and gloom forecasts to seek radical changes to the defined-benefit pension plan in Illinois, and the deceitful practice of corporate financial firms that attempt to peddle a defined-contribution savings plan (or 401(k)) as the panacea for the State’s budget deficit so that corporations and investment firms can continue to profit from this predicament, and we have a larger injustice to address.
The State’s focus should be on the “fundamental disconnect” and a long-term economic policy by promoting structural reforms (American Enterprise Institute, June 2011) and not on any unwarranted modification or elimination of pension benefits perpetuated through corporate, fallacious deflection and blame.
What continues to be at stake is the protection of the financial future of the majority of citizens not only in Illinois but in this entire country.
Corporate/legislative attempts to shift the blame and the burden of financial deficits to the middle-class by eliminating fundamental state services and diminishing crucial retirement securities while CEOs and wealthy Americans continue to not pay their fair share create a travesty of justice (Communications Workers of America, 2010).