Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pension Analyses and Commentaries Most Viewed in 2013

10. Illinois Pension Reform Is Without Legal and Moral Justification (Dec. 1st) 

To possess a right to a promised deferred compensation, such as a pension, is to assert a legitimate claim with all Illinois legislators to protect that right. There are no rights without obligations. They are mutually dependent. Fulfilling a contract is a legal and moral obligation justified by trust among elected officials and their constituents… Click Here. 

9. A Response to Today's Chicago Tribune Editorial about So-called “Pension Reform” (Nov. 20th

…What is needed to solve the budget problems in Illinois is a better revenue base to pay the state’s self-induced debts. What is easier to do is to evade serious problem solving of the budget issue and to incriminate the state’s public employees… Click Here. 

8. On the Convening of the 98th Illinois General Assembly Today and Senate Bill 1 (Jan. 9th)
…I listened to the speeches re-nominating Michael Madigan as Speaker of the House by five sycophantic members of the House of Representatives. I listened to their gushing platitudes and absurd hyperboles, and to the polite applause that followed… Click Here.

 7. On Breaking a Contract or So-called Illinois “Pension Reform” and Giving the Money to Corporations (Oct. 5th)
"The power of changing the relative situation of debtor and creditor, of interfering with contracts, a power which comes home to every man, touches the interest of all, and controls the conduct of every individual in those things which he supposes to be proper for his own exclusive management, had been used to such an excess by the state legislatures, as to break in upon the ordinary intercourse of society, and destroy all confidence between man and man…” (Chief Justice Marshall)... Click Here.
6. Governor Quinn met with labor union representatives about so-called “pension reform” last week (Oct. 15th)

…The promise to honor commitments and pay for the public employees’ pension is of “sufficient importance” to all citizens of Illinois. To pass pension reform is “an unequivocal manifestation of intention not to perform… legal duties…under a contract… When there is a duty of immediate performance of a promise, failure to perform in full is a breach…” (Professor of Law, Emeritus, Claude D. Rohwer and Professor of Law, Emeritus, Anthony M. Skrocki, Contracts in a Nutshell)… Click Here. 

5. Beware of the Trojan Horse that is SB 2404 (May 17th)

…Though there are thousands of retirees across the state who will sink deeply into abject poverty without their compounded COLA, partially-paid-for health care or both, Cullerton and the Coalition of Unions are offering a choice for us to keep our compounded COLA, which is constitutionally guaranteed, or diminish this benefit voluntarily for “access” to a state health care program (that is under payment revision) and one that we will most likely have to subsidize fully before long... Click Here. 

4. 12 pragmatic and legal reasons to reject Illinois pension reform (May 17th)

…“Most states… cannot readily reduce their existing pension obligations to their employees in an effort to solve a fiscal crisis, and until recently few even tried… It is worth noting the inequity inherent in cutting pensions promised to state and local public servants based on alleged underfunding that was substantially caused, in many cases, by funding ‘holidays…’ [Approximately $15 billion was stolen from the Teachers Retirement of Illinois. This amount does not include the possible investment income that would have been earned]” (Douglas L. Greenfield and Lahne, Susan G. (2012), How Much Can States Change Existing Retirement Policy? In Defense of State Judicial Decisions Protecting Public Employees’ Pensions)… Click Here.

3. Constitutional Issues Concerning Senate Bill 2404 (May 8th)

…Approximately 35,000 retirees are being deprived of an earned and promised benefit. They were not represented at the table when Cullerton and the Coalition made their agreement. They were excluded from the process that affects them. It’s ironic that it is the legislators who owe the outstanding obligations and not the public employees and retirees, and that Cullerton and the Coalition have decided public employees and retirees will provide consideration for the debt. Click Here.

2. Madigan’s and Cullerton’s letter is an example of hypocrisy and irony (July 30th)

“…We write to inform you that [if and when you pass 'pension reform'] we will file a lawsuit challenging [your unconstitutional actions, for they are] purely political, [opportunistic] and an unconstitutional attempt to coerce [public employees] to comply with [your] demands. This matter is of fundamental constitutional importance, as ['pension reform'] threatens [retired and current public employees’ earned rights and benefits]. The Illinois Constitution protects [these rights and benefits…]” Click Here.

1. Illinois Senate Bill 1, the So-called “Pension Reform” Bill (or Attempt to Break a Constitutional Contract with Public Employees and Retirees) (Dec. 2nd)

SB 1 is a foul, insensitive attack on public employees’ and retirees’ rights to constitutionally-guaranteed benefits. An unconscionable challenge of those rights and benefits is a serious threat, not only to current public employees and retirees and their families but, to every Illinois citizen. A pension is a contract. Breaking a contract can never be legally or morally justified… Click Here.

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