As more Americans wake up to the mess that’s been made of the government at the state and federal level, one thing has to be driven home: Solutions already exist to fix nearly every problem. The reason not enough people know about the solutions is because most of the big media prefers to ignore the policy thinkers and instead listens to vapid politicians.
There are state issue think tanks from coast to coast – a good list can be found at the State Policy Network. The nation’s premier state issue think tank is located in Chicago – the Heartland Institute. There are a handful of federal issue think tanks as well, and our personal favorite by far is the Heritage Foundation.
But there are solutions to be found outside of the think tanks as well. Bill Zettler is a free-lance writer and consultant specializing in public sector compensation. I’d call him a one-man think tank. Bill is a private citizen who has spent years studying public sector employee pay and pensions. Few people, if any, know more than Bill when it comes to the Illinois pay & pension mess.
Like most of the think tanks, however, Bill’s work doesn’t nearly get the attention it needs to get. That’s why I keep re-highlighting his work, and encouraging everyone to read and learn what he is teaching.
Of course our political leaders need to attend the Zettler School of Pay and Pensions. But so do reporters for the large media outlets in Illinois. Short of that, the Tea Party and 9/12 Patriot groups need to get a hold of the Bill Zettler solutions and turn up the heat on those they elect to enact true reforms.
I guess it’s OK though; it’s for the kids.
What the next governor should do.
The next governor should campaign on the theme “Hit the reset button on pensions.”
Let’s take all public retirement benefits back to where they were in 1970 when the pensions were guaranteed. Get rid of early retirements, get rid of free health care and let’s start over from that point.
How could the public employees complain? That is what was guaranteed, so that’s what you will get. All the upgrades and increases folded into the plans in exchange for political contributions since then will be reversed.
In February this year there were two non-binding referendums on funding public pensions.
Here is the exact question asked: “Shall the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor take immediate steps to implement meaningful pension reform which will relieve the unsustainable burden on local taxpayers?”
By overwhelming margins of 87% and 91% voters approved implementing “meaningful pension reform.” In November at least 12 more communities will vote on this exact issue. I predict that the outcome will result, once again, in overwhelming approval of “meaningful pension reform.”
That should prove beyond a doubt that comprehensive pension reform is supported by a large majority of Illinois taxpayers and any successful politician is going to be out front in implementing this most important of reforms.
Up next: Part 2.