It has been well known since the 1990s — the exhorbitant pay, benefits, and pensions given to public employees through corrupt and unrealistic contracts — would some day be seen for what they are: unaffordable. I say “well known” — obviously that doesn’t mean well known by most taxpayers. Republican elected officials who claim to side with common sense economics have known plenty — most have just been too chicken to say anything. Myriad interest groups and think tanks have known too — they just rarely reach enough people to make much of a difference.
Here are a few links to and excerpts from articles I wrote five years ago!: (A note — for the latest on this issue in Illinois, the Illinois Policy Institute is doing great work that can be found here — this article posted just yesterday: Illinois Pays Millions in Pension Benefits to the Dead.)
Economic reality will sooner or later be forced upon Illinois state pensioners. I’ve been reading articles about the public employee pension crisis for well over a decade, and now that the rest of the economy has tanked, the issue is finally getting serious attention.
While we regularly ignore the federal Constitution — we’re supposed to believe that one sentence in the state constitution guaranteeing personal retirement benefits for public employees was chiseled on a stone tablet by the Hand of God and delivered to us by Moses.
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Here’s a simple news flash for anyone paying attention to this underfunded state pension controversy: the beneficiaries of the system had an obligation to get the political job done of funding them. They failed. Because they failed, they now cannot expect future taxpayers to make up for their mistakes.
Let me repeat what I’ve stated previously: If it’s not funded in real time, it’s not a pension system but an intergenerational wealth transfer system.
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The state pension system is a complete joke – and rank and file taxpayers (that is, non recipients of such insider excess) – have no fault and no responsibility for the system’s fix. In fact, the only fair reform is to allow the thing to go into bankruptcy. Then, the actuaries need to be brought out of the subterranean bunker and be made to perform honest mathematical calculations in the light of day so there can be some citizen oversight.
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[I]f more public employees were acting as adults in this matter, they would already be calling for the immediate cessation of payouts to current retirees that are above what the actuarial tables would allow.
Anyone still contributing to the pension fund is having money stolen from them now because current retirees are getting more in benefits than future retirees will ever see.
This country won’t survive if the taxeaters continue to believe they have a “right” to my tax dollars.
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Taxpayers are already facing the burden of massive government debt and only irresponsible people talk about bailouts using mild language. […] [A] rise in pitch is required for two reasons.
One is that the immoral and irresponsible taxeaters will only be encouraged if our side uses only highbrow and “reasonable sounding” talk and a calm demeanor to discuss this latest effort to steal from future taxpayers.
Two is that the public is swimming in an era of informational flood-tide. If some loud noises aren’t made or some bright flares aren’t fired off, not enough people will see the seriousness of the crime attempting to be perpetuated.
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The bankruptcy laws were established originally as a way to get out of difficult circumstances. If something can’t be saved, it shouldn’t be saved. If a bill can’t be paid, other forms of punishment or restitution are in order.
The state pension debacle belongs solely to state employees. State taxpayers have done enough – in fact, they’ve already done too much. […] No public pension plan is too big to fail.
Image credit: www.thepulse2016.com.