Saturday, February 20, 2010

The public employee retirement plans theft

Lately Glenn Beck has been focusing heavily on the economic problems of the various states. We hear a lot about California; not so much about Illinois. Last night he hit Illinois hard. The state has "borrowed" (stolen) money from all its public retirement funds to support and pay for other programs. I think he showed five. That's illegal to do if you're in business. But has it helped Illinois' budget? Apparently not. How many people do you know who got out of debt by drawing cash from their credit card? I know Pinecrest in Mt. Morris is in trouble because the state can't make its Medicaid payments. Here's the letter I got from the University of Illinois:
    "Due to an excessive delay in the payment of our appropriation by the State of Illinois and uncertainty over what lies ahead, your university is facing unprecedented fiscal challenges. In the coming weeks and months, we will be taking a critical look at all aspects of our campus operations, re-examining everything from our administration to small academic units assembled years ago to meet specific needs. An extensive review process will underwrite each decision we make, and every decision will be strategic - designed to transform your university to meet the challenges of the future.

    We know that you will have great interest in our work and the resulting decisions, and we invite you to stay connected to the process. Indeed, as we explore the options available to ensure our continued excellence, you may well hear that we are reviewing your college or program. We have created a Web site called Stewarding Excellence @ Illinois as a resource for everyone in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign community. By visiting the site, at, you can stay informed of the latest information and activities, and we invite you to offer your ideas through the site's virtual suggestion box.

    A final note: we hope also you will urge the Governor and members of the Illinois General Assembly to reach an early solution to the fiscal crisis that now holds Illinois in its grip. As we move forward we pledge to you that all of our decisions on the financial challenges facing this campus and the University of Illinois overall will be guided by our land-grant mission of excellence in teaching, research and public engagement."
Unfortunately, what can the General Assembly do now but raise taxes during a time of high unemployment? A time when instead of focusing on jobs, our federal government just tried to grab more of the economy by taking over health care.

Several times, Beck said, "These people should be in jail," referring to the Illinois legislators who did this. Wonder if he meant Obama who was part of the Illinois General Assembly when some of the theft went on (although he probably wasn't there for the votes)? Beck also noted how many states and municipalities are in trouble because of unfunded federal mandates--and there will be more from EPA. No blame for the present administration for that--these go way back. But there are more to come as the EPA just by-passes Congress.

This study features Colorado and Kansas public employee retirement plans, so it's not just Illinois and California.

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