The in box. “Governor Quinn. Leave the fictional 87-year old retirees alone.”

Leave the fictional 87-year old retirees alone.

MiC is a suburban public school teacher. Today he addresses the Governor’s false math facts when it comes to teacher pensions. Tomorrow he will explain to the Governor how to fix the funding problem.

Dear Governor Quinn,

I just saw you on the news using that word “reform” again. But what really got my attention was I heard you make the claim that a person who retired in 1990 with a pension of $60,000 would have a pension worth over $100,000 today. That’s a pretty sensational talking point you’ve got there! But just like your use of the word “reform” rings hollow, you might want to reexamine this talking point. Here’s why from a teacher’s perspective:

It is entirely probable that a teacher retired in 1990. I’m sure many did. These teachers certainly could have earned their full pension even as they retired in 1990. Although not all teacher retiring in 1990 earned their full pension, I’m sure many did. To earn a full pension, they probably started inspiring Illinois’ children in their classrooms beginning in 1955, or 35 years earlier. Of course these teachers would probably be around 87 years old now, if they are still fortunate enough have lived that long.

But even if they started teaching in 1955, and were 87 years old, and still alive, a teacher retiring in 1990 with a pension of $60,000 probably doesn’t exist. Why?

To have earned a full pension, this 87 year old former teacher would have had to have earned $80,000 a year. As a teacher. In 1990.

(To all the teachers reading this: please be respectful in your guffaws.)

I don’t profess to know all the salaries paid in the state to teachers in 1990, but I think you’d be hard pressed to find a school district in Illinois that paid $80,000 to their teachers in 1990. Maybe an administrator, or a north-shore district possibly. But it would be a very rare teacher indeed. I remember my first contract around this time was for $19,000 a year.

After all, that was 22 years ago. The Dow Jones index was below 4000. Gas cost around $1.40. The Cosby show was cool. You know – back in the day. Kind of like back in 1991 when Illinois legislative salaries were $37,270 a year. Today their salary is  $67,876 plus additional compensation for any committees they chair or serve on. And that’s just for a six-month legislative session.

So if a legislator retired in 1990 and had a $60,000 pension that would be a very sensational talking point! But it would be a myth too.

So Governor Quinn, with all due respect, fix the real problems Springfield keeps ignoring. Stop the corporate give aways. Revise TIF districts. Reform Illinois’ regressive flat income tax system.

Leave the fictional 87-year old retirees alone.

– MiC

6 thoughts on “The in box. “Governor Quinn. Leave the fictional 87-year old retirees alone.”

  1. I was thinking about these numbers he used, too. They make no sense. It amazes me how people have been playing with the facts through this whole thing.

  2. Yeah, nice work. The problem is you apply logic and sound reasoning. You lose the “reformers” with logic. They only know sound bites. If you could somehow condense your idea into a four-six word sound bite, you may have a chance to effect change.

  3. I hope you sent this to Gov. Quinn & to the newspapers. And, everyone, forward this post.
    Also, please keep disabusing the general public of the ridiculous idea that IL retired teachers receive free health insurance (+dental, vision)–and FOR LIFE!! I have just had to educate several people, who were astonished at what I pay– (I’m still on the district’s group plan, because I feared this would happen w/TRS, but I couldn’t keep my dental)–and, thus, more sympathetic. KEEP TALKING and TELLING EVERYONE EVERYTHING!

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