Monday, January 14, 2013

Take note politicians and pundits in Illinois: “You’re such stupid Gets”

We are tired of members of the Illinois General Assembly who lack ethical responsibility and moral courage and are willing to challenge the State and U.S. Constitutions. You, so-called representatives and senators, are ordinary liars and thieves!

We are tired of incompetent, skewed coverage regarding the Illinois public pensions’ unfunded liability. We are tired of hearing about possible downgrades from bond agencies, agencies that ironically led us into the previous Great Recession, and we are tired of liars and thieves who blame the public pensions for the state’s self-manufactured fiscal morass.

We are also tired of the media’s omission of the most significant facts about public pension debt and anyone who talks or writes about cuts to services and the siphoning of the state’s money from education, public safety and human services because of “failed pension reform.” You, so-called pundits, are incompetent deviants!

Every article, every interview, and every legislative session about Illinois public pension reform should begin with these statements: The public pension systems were not and are still not the cause of the state’s budget deficits. The state’s budget deficits were triggered by past policymakers’ corruption, arrogance and irresponsibility and are currently perpetuated by some members of the 98th General Assembly. The state's pension debt and revenue problems need to be resolved! Breaking a constitutionally-guaranteed contract (so-called pension reform) is immoral and illegal and the wrong focus.

Who is unequivocally reporting and discussing (besides the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and a few bloggers) that the state’s public services had been paid primarily by money stolen from the state’s public pension funds for several decades?  

Who is truthfully reporting and discussing (besides the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and a few bloggers) that these payments, meant for the public pension systems, were stolen from the public employees’ pension plans and that public employees had financed health care programs, education, public safety, park districts, and street repairs… for several decades? 

Who is correctly reporting and discussing (besides a few bloggers and one TRS trustee) that past Illinois legislators had stolen approximately $30 billion intended for the five public pension systems?

Who is justly reporting and discussing (besides the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a few legislators and one prominent lawyer) that it was past Illinois policymakers who were responsible for nearly one-half of the public pension systems' unfunded liabilities (approximately $48 billion)?

Who is exactly reporting and discussing (besides the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a few legislators, and a few bloggers) that the service or pension debt needs to be re-amortized with a level payment just like a home mortgage?

Who is closely reporting and discussing (besides a few bloggers and a few online newspapers) that current policymakers have provided extortive tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations in Illinois such as Boeing; Caterpillar; Sears Holdings Corporation; and CME Group Inc., parent company of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade, and they will continue to do it?

And who is accurately reporting (besides the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a few bloggers) that “Illinois is an extreme example of the implications of a failure to fix [its revenue] problems; [that] it has a flat, low-rate income tax that does not adequately capture income growth; [that its] income-tax revenues routinely lag behind economic growth, [and that it] relies heavily on a state and local sales tax that is almost exclusively applied to goods and excludes almost all other services? [...]

“Because Illinois is chronically short of the revenues that it needs to cover its expenses, it has engaged in a number of poor fiscal practices over the years. [Illinois General Assemblies] have postponed payments to vendors, failed to make adequate pension contributions or borrowed money to make [partial] contributions, securitized or sold assets, and taken other dubious actions [most recently such as [so-called] pension reform for “opportunistic and political” purposes]. As a result, [Illinois policymakers] have had a particularly difficult time coping with revenue declines... and [they] have developed a large overhang of longer-term debt and unfunded liabilities.

“…The root cause of Illinois’ problem is a revenue system in urgent need of modernization, one that cannot support the level of expenditures [and debt] that state [legislators must confront]...  If [these legislators] fail to reduce [the state’s] structural deficits and improve budget processes, it will be more difficult for [the state] to maintain needed services and to prepare for the next cyclical downturn by accumulating adequate reserves. Nor will [the State of Illinois] have the funds to fix the problems that have been identified in the funding of public pensions and other essential areas [despite some political opportunists' claims that ‘pension reform’, or breaking a constitutionally-guaranteed contract with public employees, is the resolution for the state's fiscal mess].”

Besides the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Illinois revenue restructuring is also recommended by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the National Council of State Legislatures, the Economic Policy Institute, the Center for Policy and Economic Research, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, the National Institute on Retirement, United for a Fair Economy and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. 
 


-Glen Brown


3 comments:

  1. It is ironic to me that I stopped taking newspapers as they were bad for my health. For 45 years I took the daily newspaper, teachers do, possibly more than any other segment of society. I naively thought they tried to be accurate, but when I attempted to get the Trib to correct factual errors that teachers didn't pay for their health care, I was stonewalled. Even Steve Chapman refused to correct his assertion that teachers never protested the underfunding of their pensions because he said it wasn't in their interest to do so. I told him that a little asking around would disabuse him of that idea. Correcting it would have undermined his whole column on the idea. Today it is a talking point of people who want to take away my pension and ignore my contractual rights. I began to see in my imagination the Trib catching fire in my driveway just as I went to pick it up, so I wrote them a note saying Mike Royko walked across the street from the Sun-Times to the Trib, and I was walking the walk from the Trib to the Sun-Times. Then I began noticing the Sun-Times joining in the chorus to take away my pension telling one side of the story. And recently on the front page there was an image more memorable than any paragraph telling the citizens of Illinois they as individuals were owing money on our pensions. It was designed to turn every citizen against a small group of people, the pensioners. Shameful propaganda. I never thought I would ever stop taking my daily newspaper, but I have. They are bad for my health and they have built a climate of hysteria. Today it is witch hunting.

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    1. Corporations and their minions don't care about you or I or what we have to say. All they care about is money and if they have to toss the likes of us onto the human garbage heap they are creating in their quest for the almighty dollar they will. Don't make the mistake of thinking they care about anything except profits/money.

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  2. Corporatists are alive and well in Illinois. The history of our State has been one of excessive greed and shameless hypocrisy, of corruption and oppression, of extortion and domination, of exploitation and deception, of selfishness and subjugation, of poverty and unemployment and inequitable taxation, of protection for the wealthy and their powerful interests, of exorbitant wealth for the few and scarcity of wealth for the many: government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations.

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