Illinois Legislature: Pension System Gaming Is Absolutely Criminal

Illinois Legislature: Pension System Gaming Is Absolutely Criminal

The Illinois Legislature has been the driving force behind the state's financial collapse. Ironically, the people of Illinois have stood largely silent and have continuously reelected lawmakers that have displayed little or no concern for representing their constituencies versus lining their own pockets. The Chicago Tribune has put together an eye-popping investigative series on Illinois Lawmakers manipulated the system and voted themselves outrageous pension benefits. Emil Jones, for instance, enjoys a lifelong spike in his pension because of a bill he sponsored!

Now, one would think that such action amounts to at least the usual conflict of interest in which our politicians routinely engage in,  however I have a much different take. I believe that what Emil Jones and his fellow lawmakers did was nothing short of being absolutely criminal!

You know, people all over the country are pissed as hell at the Wall Street fat cats for how they operate under the radar, but why do they not show the same anger towards politicians doing the same thing? I mean, is there some sort of a difference here? I don't think so! As such, I am again asking the good people of Illinois to stop supporting the Machine / Combine Politicians and start finding suitable opposition candidates who are committed to representing you.

As you can see, I am not asking you to abandon your personal political ideology. Advocating one political party over another just isn't anything I desire nor is it my intent. My only concern is that people elect candidates who hold their values above that of themselves. Yes. I realize that that may be a difficult task given the rampant corruption in Illinois. But the time has come for We The People to fully engage the system before the whole thing goes down the drain.

Besides, without greater participation than what we have now - we will never be able to forge substantial change. As it currently stands, Illinois politicians have the advantage because they have more or less perfected their game plan to alienate voters. Low turnouts only benefit the status quo.

Surely the people must see that Illinois Lawmakers covet the public trough. What else would explain why they must continue to find new and ingenious ways to replenish it by adding new fees and taxes instead of doing the right thing politically. The bottom line is that Illinois politicians refuse to seriously address the need for "Real Reform." Yeah, Yeah I remember when Governor Quinn tried to smoke us back in January when he announced that Illinois was finally enacting more reform measures. Unfortunately every reform bill passed to date has been meaningless given the loopholes stipulated therein. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Real Reform cannot hinge on adding exclusions and exceptions! Yet that is exactly the sort of shell game we have been given for decades. And not only has that scam been played over and over again, but the residents of Illinois have allowed themselves to be victimized by the representatives they elect without so much as a whimper.

And unless there is larger outcry from the people of Illinois, Lawmakers will not abandon the their only solution - which is to enact legislation to increase taxes and fees again and again.  Strangely, though. All those increases never see the monies collected being used for what they were intended. Instead, those monies are used to perpetuate their own perks and benefits. Everyday people, meanwhile, must accept the closure of more human services, the diminished support of education, state infrastructure, etc., etc..

Let's also make something else abundantly clear here. The misuse of public monies is just not limited to the Illinois Legislature, although they are the biggest culprit. The truth of the matter is that nearly every city, village or town has politicians who are adherents to the Machine / Combine Politics philosophy. The thievery of public funds is rampant and the amounts are staggering. I suppose people might say that misuse of monies and/or political corruption may be inevitable, but it still maddens me to no end that we are being denied the basic services and infrastructure from the taxes we have already paid. And let's call an ace an ace here - in some cases we have already paid multiple times for the same thing!

As it stands right now - Illinois has become one hell of a shit hole to live in. The middle class has been bled dry, the poor have gotten poorer and still politicians show no shame or restraint as they take more and more. Politicians are senselessly raping its people. And if you think about it real hard, it isn't so much the fact that the State of Illinois isn't generating cash - it is because they continuously divert that cash to support themselves and a bevy of political insiders. Exactly how many times must we read about another ousted politician who has gotten recycled into yet another high paying state government job and/or appointment? That, by the way, is just another way politicians continue to game the pension systems at our expense.

Look, I don't know about the rest of you out there. But I am more than mad as hell right now. It seems to me that the majority of Illinoisans don't seem to care about how they are governed. And especially galling is the lack of concern that our elected officials have been (and continue) walking away with our hard-earned money while we get nothing in return.

Seriously folks - don't you think it is time to wake up?

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  • The fact is, most voters have no personal stake in the pensions (other than having to pay taxes for them) so they stay blissfully ignorant of the mess because they think it isn't their problem. Worse, public employee unions are who get these political crooks elected time and again so that the pols can then turn around and give them more stuff on the taxpayer's dime.

    This circular or parasitic relationship is the problem, really. This is reason number ONE why all public employee unions should be made illegal. I mean ALL of them, teachers, cops and firemen included.

  • In reply to publiusforum:

    Thanks for your comment Publius; I must say I agree with your observation beginning at "Worse, public employees." If you recall I had reservations when Quinn was elected and the part unions played. I also predicted they would be screwed afterwards. But yes - that circular parasitic relationship has made the pension system what it is.

    My only concern, though, is that I am not totally against unionization. Albeit, I do not like or appreciate that their leadership in most cases is corrupt. But as Upton Sinclair showed us in "the Jungle" - without the ability of workers to unionize they are preyed upon by unscrupulous employers. We see this happening again in the age of union-busting. So on that part I am conflicted.

    As for our broken State - the sad reality is that the average union worker isn't scamming the system - it is the Legislature and political insiders for whom temporary loopholes have been opened. Only they know of their existence and use it. I suppose on a percentage basis, I would place the mess we are in at less than 10%. But it is a big 10% just the same.

    So all in all you may just be right on the public employee unions. They should earn retirement benefits just like the private sector.

    Thanks again for commenting.

  • As usual, someone had his stock answer without any thought, so I will dismiss him as I did on his own site.

    While the unions buy votes, the corporations buy tax breaks, so that's a wash., except for the taxpayers

    The real problems are: it's good to be king, in the sense that it is not criminal if you legislate it, and the Illinois legislature has gerrrymandered itself into the Dem. members having perpetual powers for the last two censuses. Also, king in the sense of exempting itself from any campaign reform.

    The only real question is whether, in the next 3 days, they will pass a budget and the pension reform Quinn sent them. Probably not reform, but maybe something. But when Madigan forced through the sham constitutional amendment that it would take 60% to pass any more sweeteners, you know he is only engaging in fraud on the taxpayers.

    And, remember, not even the Republicans were willing to do anything about the backlog.

  • In reply to jack:

    Hiya Jack - Yes you are right, it is wash. As for "it's good to be king" - yeah that's for sure. However, just because you legislate it does NOT mean it isn't criminal - it just means you hold dominion over your actions. Hopefully there is a smart enough US Attorney appointed to replace Fitz that will go after "legislation not in the best interests of the taxpayer." So I believe there are legal remedies for over zealous lawmakers, the question though, will it ever happen here? I must admit the answer is probably no. The GOP (which are part of the Almighty Illini Combine) started the pension mess under Edgar when they passed that ridiculous plan to back-load pension payments as a means to balance the fund. So I guess there is enough blame to go around. The Dems, though have controlled this state completely for a decade already and given the latest Census will dominate for another. About the only remedy taxpayers have at this point is to blow up Springfield and start anew. Of course that won't happen in real or metaphorical terms. Hopefully the economy turns around and we can all sell our homes and leave this screwed up state.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    As far as the US Attorney, there still has to be extortion, especially after the Jeff Skilling-Conrad Black "honest services" decision, which pretty much made clear that defrauding the shareholders, or in this case, the taxpayers, isn't enough, but proof is necessary in the case you posit that Emil Jones shook down himself, which is a legal impossibility.

    That's the real reason that the attack on the unions is irrelevant to your point that "lawmakers ... have displayed little or no concern for representing their constituencies versus lining their own pockets."

  • In reply to jack:

    I definitely see your point on that, especially the legal impossibility. Thanks.

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