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Keeping retirement weird.

December 28, 2013

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My grandson setting the holiday table.

It is Saturday morning.

Slowly the family leaves.

Back to Brooklyn.

Our little Logan Square house has been bulging with family for the last week.

Ulysses is no more used to the sound of a five and ten-year old that I am. Showers and toilet-use must be carefully coordinated. The choreography of family members preparing meals would put Jerome Robbins to shame.

I have loved every minute of it.

Except  for when the dozens of Post-it notes that have been turned into sketch books with pages scattered around the house inevitably find their way to the bottoms of my stocking feet.

Of course, the grandkids opened presents on Wednesday. We had extended family over yesterday for more, filling the house with even more endless screeches and laughter.

Anne is already asking, “When are we seeing you again?”

Retirement means our schedule is flexible. Their’s? Not so much.

Last night the news came that the Illinois General Assembly’s efforts to turn seniors into paupers is headed for court.

The Illinois Retired Teachers Association’s lawyers have filed suit in the Cook County Circuit Court claiming that the law is an unapologetic violation of the Illinois constitution’s protection clause.

The clause states “membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Does this language seem ambiguous to you?

Me neither.

As unambiguous as the words, “It’s time for bed,” delivered to a five year old.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Governor Quinn, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and the Board of Trustees of the Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois, are all named as defendants.

Our house will be much more quiet late this afternoon after I return shuttling  the last of the family to O’Hare.

Ulysses will climb back into his designated chair.

We will choose from among the left-overs to reheat for dinner.

Maybe we will catch a movie.

More lawsuits are coming over the next few weeks.

I have no intention of sitting around waiting for some judges, who were exempted from the law, to decide how the rest of my life will be spent – or how often I can afford to see my grandchildren.

Specific legislators voted for this bill. A governor signed it. They are all up for re-election.

The kids have left.

The smile is off my face.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2013 10:33 am

    I too have been enjoying much of the same at our house. Grand kids, family, friends, great food and family traditions—-life can be grand but the cloud of the uncertainty of “pension reform” does take a toll. At a 75th birthday party for a dear friend and former secretary to the department I retired from I had a brief conversation with a former CPS truant officer (when they had such a thing). He said that he tried telling the governor’s office that the officers/administrators of the five pension funds should be sued. There was no response from the governor’s office. He said that they (those in charge of the pensions) all have/had insurance that covered them for breach of service and when they decided to go along (wink and a smile) with the financial shenanigans that lead us to where we are now they failed to meet the obligations of their positions and should be sued for malfeasance. He said that all our pension losses can’t be recouped but it sure would help. You are more on top of this than I what say you?

    • Anon permalink
      December 28, 2013 5:08 pm

      Interesting concept! I read somewhere that the pension laws covering private pensions DO NOT apply to public sector pensions. However, some other law or regulation covering public pensions might well apply.
      My confidence in the private sector pension laws is kind of low. At the former Hostess Bakeries, I heard the following happened. First, management demanded the bakers accept a package that amounted to less then minimum wage. Lowering the pay and then demanding the bakers pay ALL their own medical insurance, (it had previously been split).
      They did this to force the bakers union to go on strike. Because of the strike, the management was able to declare bankruptcy to get out of pension liability, and use what was in the pension fund to pay other things. Things like huge multi-million dollar plus bonuses to a few high ranking managers “to stay on” for 6 months to preside over the liquidation of the company.
      In other words, they saw a way to divert (steal) the employees pensions and use the money for their own priorities, (pockets).
      Sounds similar in several ways to the politicians diverting the pension money for over 40 years, then voting for pension theft one day and wanting to give handouts to big corporations the next. They were thinking ahead to political donations in the next election.

      • December 28, 2013 11:44 pm

        Anon–40 years–the magic number–ALEC is 40 years old! (Remember, they were in Chicago last summer to celebrate that 40th birthday?!)
        I have been wondering, actually, how many “non-declared” members of ALEC there are (not on the list, but with them, nonetheless).
        It’s also interesting to note your statement, “politicians diverting the pension money for over 40 years.” Hasn’t Madigan been a legislator since 1971?
        (Rhetorical question.) Anyway, guess we were all too engaged in watching Watergate unfold to catch the REAL corruption & plans for stealing from the American people–all over the country.

  2. mag thompson permalink
    December 30, 2013 11:45 am

    ……and Regan with that wonderful smile telling everyone how wonderfull ALEC was going to be for us one and all.

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