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 legislators at the state and federal levels who align their interests with corporations 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 politicians’ divide-and-conquer strategies, fallacious rationalizations, distorted information and diversionary and radical “pension reform” for public employees and tax cuts for the wealthy, regardless of whether corporate welfare produces more deficits;
Because we are victims of insidious financial reforms that do not resolve the state's (or federal) deficit problems but accommodate and reinforce the enormous inequality of organizational resources of corporate 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 politicians' machinations to destroy the public employees’ defined-benefit retirement plans, even though most corporate executives will have this guarantee and will retire with exorbitant bonuses and other outrageous incentives;
Because we are victims of partisan polarization and well-financed organizational interest group politics and policies; of compromised corporate-owned media, such as the Chicago Tribune, that have been bought by the wealthy minority to shape what and how readers think about fiscal issues;
Because we are also victims of many unethical legislators 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 any public 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 representative democracy; of their inability to build a more effective protest and to launch a counter-attack against the arrogant, wealthy minority and their politicians who are waging an economic war against the poor and middle class in Illinois (and elsewhere);
And because many of the union membership are indifferent, indecisive and politically unaware, we will remain scapegoats for reprehensible problems created by the “wealthy elite” and perpetuated by their bought-and-paid-for politicians.
Until we mobilize our collective efforts against powerful economic interests, and marshal essential resources and draw upon experts in the fields of economics and law, the lucrative lobbying of a state’s policymakers to reduce a state's debt will continue by way of challenging constitutional contracts of public employees.
No matter what pension reform bill is passed, it will never be enough to address the serious underlying problems that exist. Politicians will use public employees' pensions as a diversionary tactic again because they were able to make public employees and retirees the scapegoats for the state's budget problems.