Legislative gibberish and the war on public employee retirees.


State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Kelly Burke and Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury are waging a war on retirees.

The war metaphor gets used a lot. And perhaps there’s a diminishing return by using it.

There’s the war on the working class. The war on the middle class. The war on women.

And of course, there are the real wars. The shooting kind. The twelve-year old War in Afghanistan, for example.

But read Elma’s letter in the earlier post. Elma is just one of the many Illinois retirees I hear from every day. The current assault on pensions and health care on Illinois public employee retirees is non-stop and frightening to many older folks.

Worthy of the war metaphor.

Illinois public employees are facing:

  • Potential cuts to our constitutionally guaranteed pension COLAs.
  • Crazy and unreasonable demands for evidence of dependent eligibility.
  • Huge increases to current health insurance deductible and co-pay costs.
  • Changes to the Teacher Retirement Insurance Program that may result in loss of coverage and additional increases in costs.

For the past few weeks it has been non-stop bad news.

It sure feels like a war.


Please see above article. Once again, I do not understand how contributing less into the pension fund for those working justifies lowering the COLA for those already retired.

I am retired. What “bone” are the Legislators going to throw to retirees for lowering the COLA to try to pass Constitutional muster.

– Rick Klimes

The article to which Rick refers is in the Oak Lawn Patch and includes this piece of gibberish:

Rep. Kelly Burke (36th) added that any bill has to follow the Illinois Constitution because court challenges are a very likely scenario. One possible solution to that issue that has been discussed is lowering employee contributions to pension plans, so that while they are losing on cost of living increases they are gaining in other areas. 

How stupid does Kelly Burke think we are?

What are the gains Burke is referring to?

Consideration is the term used to describe an adjustment in a contract where one party to the contract gives up something for something else of equal or greater value.

When current retirees lose our cost of living adjustment, just what does Representative Kelly Burke claim we are getting in return that is of equal or greater value?

See you at Senator Dan Biss’ office. 4:30 on Friday.

3 thoughts on “Legislative gibberish and the war on public employee retirees.

  1. All those wars you mention are all part of the same war and they are all very real. It’s not that the war metaphor has been overused, it’s that we (everyone besides very rich white men) are being attacked on many different fronts.

  2. I have seen comments from legislators previously that the “consideration” for current retirees is that, in theory, we could get a higher COLA in some years than 3% because the cap in the legislation is 4%. However, this argument will not fly, because inflation expectations today are too well-documented. In the latest (June 2013) Livingston Survey published by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, a panel of 29 economists predicted the average annual increase in the CPI over the next 10 years. The median forecast was 2.5%, and the mean was 2.39%. Computing breakeven inflation rates between yields on ordinary Treasury Bonds and TIPS indexed to the CPIU produces even lower estimates for any investment horizon up to 30 years. Also, not once in the prior 20 years has the CPI risen more than 6%. Thus, it is easy to show that in expectational terms, the proposal replaces a 3% AAI with a COLA that is expected to average perhaps 1.2% annually (one-half the % change in the CPI). No way will this obvious contractual breach be upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court, let alone federal courts, as it violates article 1, section 10 of the U.S. Constitution in addition to violating article XIII, section 5 of the Illinois Constitution.

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