Scrap Public Pensions

Scrap Public Pensions

There has been one budget deficit after another - in one state after another due to runaway Pension Debt. And as much as I would like to say that the main problem is abuse, it isn't. Yes it is true that pension abuse is rife in some places including Illinois. But the real issue with Public Pension Systems are that they are unsustainable because benefits are more generous than those received by workers in the private sector.

Why government officials persist on doing nothing is obvious though. They want to protect what they have and let's face it the average career politicians meander in and out of multiple pension funds within the system and that allows them to piggy-back payouts. Regular everyday government workers, however, aren't so fortunate. Especially when they are made to feel as if their pensions are as ill-earned as the those legally gaming the system.

Fair? No and yes!

Why? Because they are aware of those playing the system and instead of voting against them every chance they get they make the mistake that a vote for them is actually helping preserve their benefits. But here's some truth for those people - those officials really don't give a shit about you and are only looking to protect their own stash. You are just a necessary pawn in their scam.

Politicians certainly know how to use the right buzz words in front of their labor supporters, but how many times have they come back asking for concessions over the years? How many raise have they had to forgo? But like the the fools their leadership (who are some of the worst abusers of the multiple pension dip) already think they are prove it by supporting the endorsed labor union candidate.

It's a great con game but one that has finally backfired as public pensions have now become too unsustainable to continue! And if the truth be told the time has come to scrap public pensions entirely. They need to be replaced with a more equitable (to all) plan that requires one last sacrifice. Agree to a guaranteed pension system based on the private sector model.

Look, free health care is great to have but shouldn't be extended to the entire family okay? And quite frankly most people in the private sector contribute something to their health benefits. About the only ones getting off on the cheap are single employees. So that has to be non-negotiable. Pension returns based on the market, whether aggressive or conservative, are also common in the private sector. The more conservative the more secure - but every investment carries some risk. The company (the State) must put in a guaranteed annual contribution and then you will have the option to contribute an additional amount up to the maximum allowed by law - and I don't think that should be negotiable either.

As for double, triple and whatever amount of dipping that can be achieved - time to knock it off! ONE RETIREMENT ACCOUNT per person - no exceptions. State Employees and Politicians (upon election) alike will be given one master account number for the life of their employment and retirement. No piggy-backing of any prevailing benefits and no late career pay boosts to spike one's retirement account mandatory!

Don't like it? Too bad - taxpayers should not have to contribute a dime towards your government job beyond the minimum. What you do with your earned monies as they relate to your retirement are up to you - but don't think taxpayers don't already know that your salaries are probably better than what they get - so don't B.S. them okay! Besides your salaries are public record.

Now I am sure that the People of Illinois are grateful for those who put in the honest day's work. What they aren't grateful for, though, are the piss ants who take advantage of the system day in and day out. Especially some of the mokes in the Illinois Secretary of State's Office who seem to be on a perpetual lunch in their cozy patronage jobs.

And you know who you are don't you?

Matter of fact that's part of the problem isn't it? I just wonder how people like you look around or into the eyes of those colleagues who are plugging away doing their jobs all the while knowing that they know who and why you are there? Maybe one day a few of these co-workers will spill their guts as to why their agency is so inefficient or tire of working two jobs while getting paid for one. I don't know maybe everyone is a patronage hire. Who the hell knows anymore.

But one thing is certain - public pensions are in deep trouble and even the Civic Federation sees sustainability as a problem for the Chicago Public Schools Pension Fund. And they are not an exception to the mess as all the funds are woefully underfunded. Projections for the future aren't any better either.

So while I feel sorry for those workers and retirees who claim they aren't part of the problem and are being unfairly treated I don't think we can ignore the fact that there are those who are in fact part of the problem in a very big way. Such as the Double Dipping Docs at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine.

Sure, abuse isn't the whole story here but it is rife just the same in an archaic pension system that has failed to keep up with the times. It is high time for a major reform of the Illinois Pension Fund Systems.

And the best way to do that is to scrap public pensions!


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  • 1. Even Cullerton agrees that the state doesn't have to provide free health benefits. If any are mandated by union contracts, at the next renewal date, just put the employees into the Health Insurance Exchange.

    2. Vested rights in pensions pose a different problem, especially given the constitutional provision, but the private sector contract law (and ERISA) is that you earned what you earned, but anything forward is not a contract right, and you can be put in a 401(k).

    3. I mentioned earlier that Detroit should be a lesson to those relying on a state pension clause.

    4. As you note, the real issue with double dipping is the pensions, not the RTA and Tribune worried whether a township is a municipality under some clause of the RTA Act. There should be only one system in the state. Again, I don't know how they can unwind the current multiplicity without violating vested rights, but someone should look into it.

    5. On the CBS story, what's going on there was better explained by a Daily Herald story on College of Du Page. The explanation there is too complicated, so I'll just supply the link. Since it involves the state university retirement system, I assume this is the same deal. Aside from whether a 78 year old should be practicing as a doctor, obviously no doctor is going to work for $80,000 a year. So, whether it was the unintended consequence over which the adjuncts were crying to the Daily Herald, or this one not explained by CBS, that's what you get with "reform" in this state.

  • In reply to jack:

    I hear you Jack. (1) Now I know what Cullerton has intimated but the question is will he act with his comrades? (2) Agreed probably the hardest thing to get around but do we wait for insolvency? (3) Yes, Yes, Yes, (4) Totally agree this multiplicity is what's driving this horseshit and someone better figure it out. (5) Same animal that State University Retirement System. Dunno about the doctor at 78 shouldn't be practicing, mine is 80 something and still sharp as a tack. I guess that must have some safeguards though kind of like aged drivers and increased testing. However, my doctor would not operate on me at this point and is only doing the general check-up / prescription work these days. I mean come on if he is useful why send him home to die?

    As for reform in Illinois? Oxymoron!

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    The only one needing a reply is (1) which gets down to whether the Senate proposal that didn't match the House proposal was serious or just a blocking mechanism.

  • In reply to jack:

    I think that is obvious but what the hell - I think it to be the latter rather than the former.

  • I just gave the Civic Federation report a brief scan. While pensions are obviously a problem, it gives some credence to the union view that it got worse as a result of pension holidays, there needs to be a better accounting of TIFs and TIF surpluses, and CPS is hiding spending itself into the ground by raids on reserves and the like. I don't know when Chicago is going to become Detroit with dogs roaming the streets and reproducing in vacant houses (see today's Trib.), but the problem is sure bigger than closing 50 schools and all the flack that took, including various lawsuits financed by CTU that had no legal merit, but got them publicity.

  • In reply to jack:

    Sure goes without saying that these "holidays" just compounded the problem for all the pensions not just CPS. I too would like to see some transparency on those TIFS - that is a con game. As for Chicago becoming a Detroit? Could be sooner than later with the animals shooting each other up with reckless abandon.

    Your last sentence is 100& Boffo and spot on.

  • fb_avatar

    Well put. The harsh language you use is exactly what's appropriate. The numbers are insurmountable--far worse than the pols are saying. We are covering the details of the pension fiasco at WirePoints.

  • In reply to WirePoints:

    Thank you Wirepoints. Yes I believe the proverbial poop has hit the fan in regards to the weight pension and its debt is drowning taxpayers. Compounding the problem that debt has left public services and infrastructure neglected and in disrepair. And it can only get worse. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.

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