Pension proposal brash, not brave

Posted1/8/2012 6:33 AM

This is in response to the "Our View" editorial on Jan. 2. The Herald lauds Rhode Island for bravely passing pension reform that includes extending the retirement age and reducing benefits for longtime, dedicated public servants. The Herald then suggests that our Illinois General Assembly should adopt the same bold, brave measures.

What the Herald seems to misunderstand is that such pension reform is brash, not brave. Brash is an Illinois government which not once but twice breaches its fiduciary duty to government workers. First it creates this pension crisis by knowingly ignoring its obligation to fund pensions for years. Now it expects public servants to accept being victimized a second time by making them bear 100 percent of the burden in solving this crisis?


What a brilliant and brash media scheme it is for Illinois politicians, with the help of those like the Herald, to steamroll all public servants in order to escape any and all culpability for creating this pension mess to begin with. The Herald brashly ignores the fact that changing the pension rules midway through the careers of many public servants is not only unconstitutional, but an indisputable breach of contract, if not grossly unjust.

The Herald tries to justify its position by saying that despite these valid arguments against pension reform, the need for pension reform cannot be ignored. What kind of logic is this? That's like saying that it is acceptable to put a crime victim in jail, instead of the convicted criminal, because we can't ignore that someone has to be jailed for the crime. How can pension reform that absolves the state of Illinois of any responsibility be called brave? I don't know what you'd call it, but I call it brash.

Mike Fanella

Arlington Heights

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