Republican legislators and the bankrupt state employee pension system

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Have you heard from your Republican state legislators about the bankrupt state employee pension system lately?

While I haven’t heard anything from my state representative on the issue, I have heard from my state senator. He is Sen. Chris Lauzen, and he serves on the governor’s Pension System Modernization Task Force.

I’d bet money most Illinoisans who are represented by Republican legislators rarely if ever hear anything from them about one of the biggest – and growing – scandals.

Bill Zettler has been documenting the insanity for several years now. You can read Bill’s work here. His work has been printed in national publications and he has received attention from the Chicago media.

Again, I want to bring to your attention the fact that this Illinois pension scandal is mirrored in many other states. The tax eaters and their legislative enablers have been digging future taxpayers into a hole for decades – and only recently have they given signals that they might understand it’s time to stop.

Two great websites chronicling this increasingly familiar tale are:

Pension Watch

PensionPulse Blog

A couple of recent excerpts from those sites follow. (Emphasis added.)

From PensionPulse Blog:

Where is the Public Outrage Over Pensions?
“You might be reading my blog wondering where is public outrage over pensions?

..Maybe because they know that the … governments are on the hook to pay out pension benefits even if the public pension plans are severely underfunded. Why make a fuss when you know the government will come in and shore up the plan?

Of course taxpayers might want to pay closer attention to what is happening with public pension funds. Because when it comes time to foot the bill, they are going to be on the hook to shore up these plans…

[I]f you look at what is going on right now in California, you are getting a glimpse of what will happen across most of the developed world. In California, public pensions are drawing scrutiny amid its crisis

In California, Schwarzenegger [told reporters], ‘[E]veryone understands we are running out of money. We cannot continue promising people things that we cannot deliver on.'”

Click here to read the entire article.

Linked from Pension Watch:

Let’s not waste a good pension crisis

“President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, told the New York Times soon after the election: “Rule 1: Never allow a crisis to go to waste.” And, sure enough, the administration has been using the international financial meltdown as an excuse to do what that crowd has always wanted to do: socialize ever-larger chunks of the economy.

Those of us who understand the nature of government aren’t surprised that politicians use various crises, real or imagined, to increase their power, influence and financial well-being.

Those of us arguing for limited government ought not let a good crisis to go waste, either. The biggest such crisis involves government employees and their absurd pension benefits.

This mess is starting to enter the national dialogue because of the debt that will be borne by our kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, unless we can stand up to the ravenous public-sector unions and bring matters under control…

Those of us interested in sound and limited government should not squander our opportunity now by embracing half-measures that kick the can down the road. Let’s not waste this crisis.”

Click here to read the entire article.

The Daily Herald reports that Illinois’ public employee pension system is at least $54 billion dollars in the hole.

With that number in mind, one final question for today. Don’t you think you should have heard from your Republican state legislator on this issue by now?

©2009 John Francis Biver

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