Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why Any Illinois "Pension Reform" Is a Devious Ruse

Because we are victims of today’s state (and federal) politics that have created an unethical “winner-take-all” economy for wealthy egomaniacs at the expense of everyone else; because we are victims of Republican and Democratic policymakers at the state and federal levels who align their interests with other self-aggrandizing thieves and who pass laws that sustain their concentrated economic privilege and power; because we are victims of deregulation and tax reductions for the wealthy minority that have resulted from organized political action by and in support of the wealthy sector; because we are victims of their divide-and-conquer strategy, fallacious rationalizations, distorted information and relentless priority on radical “pension reform” for public employees and retirees and tax cuts for themselves, regardless of whether corporate welfare produces more deficits.

Because we are victims of insidious financial “reforms” that do not resolve the state or federal deficit problems but accommodate and reinforce the enormous inequality of organizational resources of these thriving self-seekers; because we are victims of their tyranny and their lack of accountability for destroying a representative democracy and a just economy; because we are victims of their Super PACs and their vast resources of money and influence committed to reforming the rules and policies that have adversely affected the lives of the middle class and disenfranchised; because we are victims of their schemes to reallocate the state’s liabilities to teachers and school districts.
Because we are victims of their machinations, where the vast majority of workers will not receive a defined-benefit retirement plan but where most corporate executives will have this guarantee, where these same business czars will retire with exorbitant bonuses and other outrageous incentives, and where nothing has been done to change this gross injustice.
Because we are victims of partisan polarization and well-financed organizational interest group politics and policies, of compromised corporate-owned media that have been bought by the wealthy minority to shape what and how we think about fiscal issues; because we are also victims of many unethical policymakers who are clueless about “long-term retirement policy objectives” and are “influenced by projections that include unrelated healthcare liabilities or irrelevant corporate sector metrics,” and who have no desire to pay what is owed to the public pension systems that so-called “pension reform” is a devious ruse.
And because we are victims of today’s disappearing and weakened organized labor unions that were once the guardians of middle-class workers and a representative democracy; because we are victims of our unions' lack of strong leadership and their lack of sustained organizational acumen, and because of our own indecisiveness and political ignorance; because of our inability to marshal essential resources and to draw upon experts in the fields of economics and law; because of our inability to build an effective coalition and to launch a counter-attack against the arrogant, wealthy minority that is waging an economic war against the poor and middle class in Illinois and elsewhere, we will continue to be the scapegoats for the reprehensible problems created by the “wealthy elite” until we mobilize our collective efforts against their powerful economic interests, their lucrative lobbying of the state’s policymakers, and their insistence upon deficit reduction by way of public “pension reform.

-Glen Brown

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