Hey AFSCME, what the hell now?

Instead of crowing about how the Illinois Supreme Court rejected the latest effort to solve Chicago's suffocating pension problems, it would be nice if AFSCME suggested a solution for funding public employee pensions--other than taxing everyone into oblivion.

Demonstrating once again that they are prepared to ride into hell on the backs of Chicago and Illinois taxpayers and the social, health and other services their tax money supports, AFSCME issued a statement celebrating the Supreme Court's decision declaring unconstitutional legislation that would help ameliorate the problem of underfund pensions. AFSCME asserted:

Politicians caused the pension debt by failing to set aside adequate contributions, in effect borrowing from future retirees to avoid raising revenue or cutting spending instead. At the same time, city workers such as librarians and truck drivers, school social workers and nurses were faithfully paying their share. They earned, contributed to and counted on a modest pension—just $32,000 on average—instead of Social Security, for which city employees are not eligible. [See footnote 1]

Two points in response:

  1. Where the hell were you, the union leaders, when those "politicians" caused the problem by failing to set aside "adequateAFSCME contributions?" You were sending the union member's dues to fund the campaigns of many, if not most, of those politicians (your Democratic allies). You could have pressured them by not funding their campaigns, but, no, you kept feeding them money to screw your own membership. Will you now withhold your contributions to the likes of House Speaker Michael Madigan until he comes up with a real, workable, compromise solution in which everyone gives up something to save themselves? No? I thought not.
  2. Once again, you offer no realistic solution to solving the problem, and prevent the city from going under. The city that your membership works for. Your relationship with the city is parasitic--you benefit while harming the very institution that keeps you alive. Eventually you kill your host and--guess what?--you die too.
  3. When the politicians diverted the money, it was to help pay for some jobs and benefits that your membership enjoys. More cops and so forth. If they had not diverted the money, it is your membership that would have been hurt. Is that why you didn't protest the diversion?
  4. You called the pensions that your members receive "modest." You say that they amount to "just" $32,000 on average. Are you actually that stupid? Here's my standard answer: I have worked for almost half a century in the newspaper, military and consulting business, and I'll trade you my pension and my social security benefits for your "modest" benefits. I'm still working, and because, at 74,  I'm self-employed, I continue to pay both ends of my social security. Your poor-mouthing your generous benefits only makes you look like fools in the eyes of people who are paying your salaries and benefits.

I'l remind everyone again that the iron-clad provision protecting your pensions from any diminishment was inserted late in the process during the Constitution Convention. It was done without public hearings and committee vetting of any significance. The delegates had the option of either accepting the last-minute provision or voting down the entire package.

And you talk about how those nasty politicians are somehow out to get you?

1. The average Chicago  pension, according to the city, is  $41,400

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