One of the way the modern conservative movement has undermined progressive goals like reducing income inequality and universal health care is by limiting democracy itself. For example, conservatives were successful in getting California to require a 2/3 vote — not a simple majority — to raise taxes, essentially letting small minorities prevent tax increases and force major cuts to public services.
Now, Illinois conservatives are pushing a similar effort in Illinois to attack public employee pensions. Illinois’s November ballot will include Amendment 49, which would require a three-fifths vote in order to increase pensions or other public retirement benefits.
ai???For decades politicians skipped payments, running up the pension debt. Now that the bill is due, theyai??i??re trying to blame teachers, police officers, caregivers and other public employees and retirees. Instead of putting in place an ironclad guarantee that politicians will pay their share going forward, theyai??i??re clamoring to change the constitution in a way that wonai??i??t do a thing to fix the funding problem,ai??? said Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, in an interview with The Southern Illinoisan.
It’s not surprising that anti-union forces are pushing for a California-style attack on public pensions in the state. Stable private pensions that allow workers to retire with dignity have been in decline (partly due to the collapse of unions in the private sector). Public pensions remain the last real backbone for retirement security for workers, and if the right succeeds in crushing them, society’s responsibility to reward workers for a lifetime of hard work will be greatly undermined.
Illinois’s voters should soundly reject Amendment 49 because it is both an attack on public workers and an attack on democracy.
It is obvious that the author has never been to a DMV or dealt with the public sector in any significant way. If the author had, it would be evident that the best course of action for a balanced budget, and reduced spending would be cutting government employee both in numbers, and in benifits. I do not work for the government, but deal with them daily. In my interactions, I see people who are fantastically underworked, and expectant of benifits and retirement packages that no one in the private sector has. Every privately employed citizen in the country has had to take on more responsibility over the last several years as employers have had to cut staff to make ends meet. The government has done the opposite, instead of cutting staff and adding to the responsibilities of the remaining employees, it has expanded its employee base, and increase spending money which it does not have and has manufactured.
California got it right, and Illinois in not far behind. not if only we could get congess the same message, things in this country and the world would start to improve.
I do not know where you find government employees underworked and sitting around idle, as you claim, BKu, but everytime I deal with a government office, it is understaffed and overworked. Especially SOME segments of governments are so thinly staffed that they cannot perform all their duties; i.e., the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife, EPA, etc.
As a retired University Civil Servant, I must take issue with BKu’s claim that government employees are “fantastically underworked, and expectant of benifits (sic) and retirement packages that no one in the private sector has.” BKu needs to go to work in the warehouse that supplies the entire campus with items – things like ALL the toilet paper, trash bags, copy paper, toner cartidges, pencils, etc. — or go be “fantastically underworked” while trying to help cook the food for 1000 dorm residents! Or go plow the snow at 3 a.m. so the students can walk safely on campus at 7 a.m. Benefits that no one in the private sector has? How about the fact that since I have the State Retirement package, I am NOT eligible for Social Security, Medicare OR Medicaid. I am at the mercy of the State Legislature when it comes to my benefits. Health care, is “adequate”, but I could choose to shop for my own, at about 4-5x the cost, more than I make!! EVERY occupation has slackers. To make a blanket statement like that is just plain wrong and ill-informed.
I have had the need to seek the help of the Social Security office in Waukegan three times in the last ten years. Without fail, they have been courteous and helpful. Their advice was sound and in MY best interest. All three times the room was filled with people waiting to see a rep. I didn’t see anyone get rattled or rude because they would be working non-stop to serve the public. Since the ‘grass is greener’ on the public side, those who think it is a piece of cake may want to send in their resumes! You will most likely work in an antiquated facility with equally antiquated office furniture and less than avant garde equipment; but that fantastic $300K salary for a clerk is worth it!!!!
With apologies to the respondents to BKu I have a question for the authors of this piece….and the answer won’t ultimately matter to this discussion.
I have become cynical in today’s political climate. I’m curious if the comments posted by BKu were planted with the goal of generating a discourse.
I am a progressive and applaud the comments posted in answer to BKu, but as I said…I have grown cynical this campaign season.
I have also become very cynical this season, especially regarding the candidates for the Presidency. But I have found the STAFFS in these government offices at all levels to be much like staffs elsewhere in the private sector: hard-working, courteous folks.
I hope somebody pays BKu to look up the word ‘benefit’ in the dictionary. Whoever paid him or her to post that comment wasted money on somebody who is not willing to take on more responsibility.