Rob Schwartz. A word to my followers. Be happy? Shut up? Hell no.

A word to my followers. Raise hell.


Been following you for quite awhile and I’m happy with you fighting the fight, but not with any indications of you encouraging others to be proactive when it comes to $$$.

Our pensions got “jacked.” No question. Unfair? Certainly. But what do you expect immoral, unconscionable, felonious lawmakers to do? They do what’s in their best interest. No one else matters.

So it would behoove TRS members to ready themselves for their shrinking pensions, especially in later years, to invest on their own in a 403B. If members are expecting the lawmakers to do the right thing and untouch our pensions, they are at the least naive. At most irresponsible.

What I’d like you to do is to promote self alliance, or putting some $$$ aside to cover your butt in the long run.

I have no faith in our court system and expect SB1 to remain intact. Urge your followers to be more fiscally responsible.

Please post this. 
Please comment.


Rob Schwartz


I’m hoping you wrote this with tongue in cheek.

But I cannot do as you request.

So it would behoove TRS members to ready themselves for their shrinking pensions, especially in later years, to invest on their own in a 403B.”

I mean, TRS members can invest in toilet bowl cleaner for all I care.

But, listen Rob. I have been self-reliant. I’ve worked my whole life. So has my wife. We raised a family. We paid our taxes. Y’know. Did what we were supposed to do.

I worked until I was 38 in the private sector, paying into Social Security all the while. As soon as I became a teacher, that promised benefit was taken away from me.

Just like that.

Then I paid my share into the Teacher Retirement System. 9.4% every paycheck for almost three decades. I had a contract and a constitutional provision that required my ultimate employer, the state of Illinois, to pay me a pension.

As soon as I retired the politicians voted to take away my cost of living adjustment from that pension at a cost to me of over a third of the promised benefit – if I live another 20 years. Which I most definitely plan to do.

Just like that.

Put some money aside?

Hey, Rob. I’m 65.

So, enough is enough.

And rather than follow your advice to shut up about it, I’m going to raise more hell.

As for my followers?

Whoever they are.

I hope they raise hell too.

23 thoughts on “Rob Schwartz. A word to my followers. Be happy? Shut up? Hell no.

  1. I guess I am a fool. I was a fool to go into teaching. I was a fool to stay. I was a fool to retire after 35 years. I was certainly a fool to have faith that my contractually promised retirement benefits would be delivered. But this fool is all for raising hell. I hope everyone else who has been cheated by these legislative thieves will also.

  2. A truly great movie! The Life of Brian. It almost didn’t get made until George Harrison stepped in with financial backing. I encourage anyone who isn’t familiar with it to watch it. The story of the baby born in the stable next door to Jesus. And yes I’m ready to raise hell. Wait! I don’t remember stopping.

  3. So who is this Civic Federation lackey, Rob Schwartz! I’d drop him like a bad habit if he’s a “friend”. Even if you did put money away “just in case” what is legal and fair about having your pension stolen.

  4. I think Rob means self-reliance not “self alliance.” In other words, suck it up. You’re on your own. It’s a jungle out there. Sounds like someone’s been reading a little too much Ayn Rand.

  5. Hey, Fred, thanks for the wonderful blog; I agree, we need to fight the pension theft. But, if you worked in the private sector, paid into SS, and you had significant earnings in those years, you’ll get SS also … right? Just asking. I worked for 8 yrs at a second job (while teaching full time), paid into SS, but none of my second job was ‘significant’ so I don’t qualify. Have you checked the SS website?

    1. Anon,
      In 14 states, including Illinois, Federal law forbids receiving full Social Security benefits if you are enrolled in a state retirement plan. I was fully vested in Social Security, but my benefit will be reduced from what it would have been by over 60%.

      1. Right on Fred! When people lay down to be stepped on/over, people will do exactly that! There aren’t enough hell-raisers! That’s why we’re in this position. Keep on keepin on and we’re with you.

      2. But didn’t Gov. Quinn and gang take the pension off-set away in 2009? Or as it pertains to thoses who retire after 2009. I on the other hand will have S.S. taken away twice as a survivor?

      3. Governor Quinn is not involved. It is federal law. As a member of TRS, my Social Security is severely reduced and receive no survivor benefits if my wife should die before me, which she does not plan to do.

      4. The federal law applies anywhere that a person gets a state, local, or federal (the old civil service) on work where the governmental employer has chosen not to be in social security. Some SERS are in it, some are not. Almost no TRS or SURS are given social security through their TRS or SURS employer. I have seen a (count on one hand) number of exceptions where the teacher was paid out of some federal grant that specified the teacher would be given social security on those earnings.
        All the rest of us get the Reagan “Windfall elimination”. So social security we have earned from private sector work is stolen.
        Even minimum wage fast food and Big Box stores pay social security on their employees. This just shows what a good deal the state has been getting all along.

  6. Fred,

    I don’t want you to stop the fight. I have been fight, making my calls. Encouraging others to do likewise. As Jim Valvano once said, ” Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up.’

    But some of your posts sound like whining. You can only count on yourself. And putting money aside as early as possible will help cover your butt when you (we) get screwed over.
    I strafed my 403B 30 years ago. I have had little faith in elected officials for decades. They’re all bottom feeders. I’ll be able to buffer my losses. With my investments.

    Don’t be so thin skinned, Fred. I’m on your side.

    Rob Schwartz

    1. “And putting money aside as early as possible will help cover your butt when you (we) get screwed over.”

      Um, isn’t that what a pension is?

  7. Keep it going, Fred. We support you. If we can’t count on our State Constitution and the rule of law, what can we count on?

  8. When reading this it occurred to me that it would be similar to what the pension thieves did, if a company that was contributing an agreed upon amount to your 401K or matching your contribution, then refused to contribute their share, or after you retired took the portion they had contributed out of your bank account. And it would be even worse if they then gave your money to some corporation or put it in some politician’s pocket.

  9. One more thing. I earned social security for about 6 years when young and then 30 years in TRS. I receive about half of what my social security statement originally said I would when my public employment wasn’t factored in. And don’t forget that under the new pension law people who paid into social security take another hit because the multiplier is $800 instead of $1000 (except for the portion from TRS), and that’s a $200 hit no matter how much social security you receive. Not fair at all.

  10. Putting money aside? You must be kidding. You have to actually MAKE some to put some aside. Most teachers are grateful to have enough to put aside for their kids’ college tuition! Besides that, Fred, lots of justified whining and complaining. We are being screwed royally. But we’re all so rule-following and polite and demure. That’s why we’re teachers, for heaven’s sake. You think this course of action would be taken by other professionals getting this treatment? So how do we get ACTIVE about this? Not just writing letters that fall on deaf ears, writing complaints to newspapers who are unsympathetic…….I wish action could be taken that would really make a huge statement and affect people not in our position. I often think of a statewide teacher walkout. (not that that could actually happen…..remember we follow the rules) but something that shows that we do, in fact have a powerful role in this society (state) and we do make a difference if we’re not performing our jobs.

  11. Not only are we polite and demure, but teaching was primarily an underpaid female profession. I bet there are still a few female teachers alive who had to quit teaching once they got married. I don’t think schools negotiating contracts locally helps salaries and benefits either. I bet if each DCFS office negotiated their contract locally and individually instead of statewide their salaries and benefits would be much less too,

  12. Who doesn’t enjoy a good hell raisin’?! That is exactly what this country is built on and has succeeded with. To quote the movie Norma Rae:
    Preacher ‘We’re gonna miss your voice in choir, Norma.”
    Norma ‘Well, you’re gonna hear it raised up somewhere else.’

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