How the pension thieves blame retirees for what the legislature did.

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, talks with House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, as Madigan's Chief of Staff Tim Mapes listens in prior to the House convening at the Illinois Capitol on Monday, Aug. 6, 2007, in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/The State Journal-Register, Jonathan Kirshner)

Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and then-Republican leader of the House Tom Cross conspired to create a two-tier pension in 2010.

Mark Glennon is a vulture venture capitalist who spends his days ranting against public employee pensions.

Today he suddenly discovers that the two tier pension system for public school educators in the Teacher Retirement System is unfair.

Even one of Illinois’ most radical labor activists, Fred Klonsky, who is hell-bent on defending his Tier 1 pension, has noticed the unfairness in this. (Fred’s basically a Marxist as far as I can tell, and I usually like to annoy him, but he’s right about this one.)

On the rare occasion that I notice Mark Glennon he is way more amusing than annoying.

I noticed him today because my statistics page shows that one person came to my blog because of a Glennon post. I went over to his site to see what interested one person. I’m not depending on Glennon for traffic although I’m probably boosting his today.

Glennon tries to make two points.

There has been a huge increase in the number of public employees drawing more than $100,000 a year in pension payments. The other is that Tier II teachers are getting screwed.

First about Tier II teachers.

In 2010 the Illinois legislature, without giving any thought to the consequences, created a Tier II in which teachers hired after January 1, 2011 would need to work longer and receive less if and when they retired. Their payments while working would make up for some of the money that the state legislature had failed to contribute, which resulted in a 60% unfunded pension liability. It is the largest unfunded liability in the country.

Glennon describes it this way:

In 2010 Illinois created a second, junior level of pension beneficiaries for state and local pensions. Employees hired after 2010 became Tier 2 pension participants with far lower benefits.

Illinois didn’t create anything. The Illinois legislature, directed by Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Leader Tom Cross created Tier II. And in a few years, just as we warned at the time, when the first Tier II teachers retire, they will receive a pension so small that it will violate Federal law. It will create another and even larger financial crisis for the state.

In the mind of Mark Glennon, warning that the legislature is doing something stupid makes me a Marxist, as far as (he) can tell.

Many of us said back in 2010 that creating a second tier was a really bad idea for both the teachers and the taxpayers of the  state.

But Glennon’s friends went ahead anyway.

As for the hundred thousand dollar pensions. Yep. A few older teachers who have been retired for a while are getting what they earned.

But don’t just listen to the vulture venture capitalist. Check the BGA list.

You can count the number of retired teachers on the list on a couple of hands and if you take off a shoe to count some toes.

I know for a fact that Dr. Leslie Heffez, who tops the list of state pension recipients, never saw the inside of any public school classroom. Except as a child. 

University administrators. Judges. A couple hundred retired superintendents.



But as Karl Marx once said, “Haters going to hate.”

8 thoughts on “How the pension thieves blame retirees for what the legislature did.

  1. Whenever I read Mark Glennon, I am reminded what the great Bob Knight use to say about reporters! “We all learn to write in second grade, then must of us go on to better things!!!!” (sorry if you don’t like Knight, but he was WONDERFUL to, first my late Aunt. and then my late Father, when they were going thru tough times and in Bloomington Hospital in Indiana!!)

  2. Hey Fred,

    Hmm, let’s see. Did I write any numbers about $100K teacher pensions? I wrote about the total number of $100K pensions throughout the state. I used teacher numbers as an example of the younger workers getting a bad deal. I’ve been criticizing Tier 2 reforms as long has I have been writing about pensions — no “sudden discovery” as you said. And the folks running Illinois in 2010 were “my friends”? Well, let’s put it this way. It’s not because you criticized Tier 2 that I think you’re a Marxist, as you wrote. It’s because you’re a champion of the Big Lie strategy that’s their hallmark.

    Stay classy, Fred.

    • “Stay ‘classy,’ Fred.” “Classy” as in “class” (struggle) is much less clever but far more ironic coming from “test” who I gather is Glennon, the venture capitalist in a clever disguise as the champion of all Tier II state employees: “I used teacher numbers as an example of the younger workers getting a bad deal.” That must have been scientific. It’s conceivable that as a venture capitalist, Glennon knows a thing or two about “class(y)” and “bad deals” since he seems to be an enthusiastic practitioner of both. Is “venture” as in “capitalist” a euphemism for “vampire?”

      “Marxist?” Isn’t that term long out of date? The last time I heard it was during the Reagan era to describe Bianca Jagger. Fred, you’re in great company.

      “Big Lie strategy?” What the hell is that? Is that Glennon’s description of the past three Republican “debates?”

  3. Hey Mark! I love that Fred get’s under your skin!! You are SO worthless!!!! Go home and whine some more in your $500,000 home!!! Talk about being OVERPAID for what you do!!!!!

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