Arghhh! I Hear A Posse Closing In....

As a state pensioner I read this week’s fiscal headlines with a long awaited sense of panic. Not simply because the budgetary bridge on which I walk is shaking, but because it is shaking beneath all of us. And yet my own pension planners have decided they will defend our constitutional BRICKS regardless of what happens to the BRIDGE. They point to the recent Supreme Court decision as their justification.

Look, there are all shape and size bridges in the world. Which take us from all kinds of places to all kinds of purposes. But lets remember there is one bridge — the trip from birth to death — on we are all traveling. It’s the bridge called life, and our species has been losing sight of this ineffable fact ever since Cain slew Abel.

However, here’s the problem about this larger bridge. While we’re all traveling it at the very same time – the young and the old, the pensioned and un-pensioned – our footsteps are walking different parts of it. And so the journey for those at the front end is new and long, while the journey for those at the back end is older and shorter. This helps explain why we can see and talk with one another on the bridge, yet can’t quite experience the passage in the same way.

Sometimes we call this the generation gap. In Illinois’ case right now, I call it the arrogance gap. Each set of travelers — governor, assembly, unions — won’t allow that a patched bridge is better than no bridge. And so, while the pols scramble to find funds, my pension planners need to cool the heat of an angry public by scrambling side by side with the pols.

One way would be for our various pension planners to offer a one-time freeze of benefits. Giving the pols some stopgap monies to do their patchwork with less rush and more care. Is this a solution? Hardly! But someone has to keep the bridge from falling until the repairs can begin.

And before a disinformed posse of taxpayers begins to single out public unions as the only bad guys in this crime….

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