I asked what’s objectionable, morally or ethically, about the idea of honoring all pension obligations for past service, but renegotiating the future pension benefits that will be based on future service, much as salary and other terms of employment are renegotiated. Your answer: The state constitution forbids it.
I asked whether these pension deals were ever good deals for taxpayers – transparent, market based and actuarially responsible -- and if they remain good deals for taxpayers today. Your answer: Doesn’t matter. The state constitution renders such speculation moot. [I never said this].
We agree that irresponsible legislators turned a potential problem into a looming crisis by skipping pension payments to in effect pay their bills with money from the future. And that now the future is here, so we’re going to have to raise taxes to make good on our obligations.
But at the suggestion of a compromise re-definition of those obligations going forward, in order to minimize the potentially metastatic impact of significant tax increases on citizens and businesses, your answer remains the same. And your allies on the comment threads rage that any other answer amounts to teacher bashing, union bashing and a Wisconsin-esque attempt to divide working people.
If these truly are the battle lines, I’m afraid this policy fight’s going to get ugly.
For an in-depth discussion about constitutionality, please read "Illinois Pension Reform... Is Without Legal and Moral Justification"