A writer must “know and have an ever-present consciousness that this world is a world of fools and rogues… tormented with envy, consumed with vanity; selfish, false, cruel, cursed with illusions… He should free himself of all doctrines, theories, etiquettes, politics…” —Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?). “The nobility of the writer's occupation lies in resisting oppression, thus in accepting isolation” —Albert Camus (1913-1960). “What are you gonna do” —Bertha Brown (1895-1987).
Every interview, every article, every editorial, 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 this General Assembly. The state's
pension debt and revenue problems need to become our legal and moral emphasis.
Breaking a constitutionally-guaranteed contract (or reneging on pension
benefits and rights that were earned!) with the state’s public servants is the
wrong focus! To reiterate, this flagrant disregard for the State and U.S.
Constitutions will not address the State’s incurred unfunded liability or its
For several decades, Illinois policymakers have
consistently failed to make the annual required contributions to the state’s
pension systems, primarily because they could pay for services and their “pet
projects” without raising taxes by stealing money from public employees'
pensions. Moreover, in 1995, policymakers created a flawed re-funding schedule,
and they have refused to correctly amortize the pension systems’ unfunded
liabilities since then.
Instead Illinois policymakers have favored corporate
interests rather than the interests of their citizenry and; thus, they have
sabotaged the public employees’ retirement plans and the State of Illinois’
future economic solvency through mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility.
State policymakers left us with a fiscal disaster, and so-called “pension
reform” or breaking a constitutional contract will not resolve today’s $100
billion unfunded liability.
Instead of protecting public pension rights and benefits,
which have a legal basis under Illinois State Law and the U.S. Constitution; instead of restructuring the
state's revenue base to pay for the state's growth in expenditures and its
recklessly-accumulated debts and obligations, current policymakers have chosen
to diminish the public employees' constitutional rights and their benefits,
even though revenue restructuring and pension debt re-amortization are the best
legal and moral solutions.