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  • Chicago And Illinois – Home of the Unions

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on April 12th, 2011 (All posts by )

    Sigh – compared to Indiana and Wisconsin where the legislators are “on the run”, in Chicago and Illinois it is just the usual “tax and spend”. Unions here don’t have to worry about any pesky regulations or laws that might limit their behavior because they own the city and the state and can pretty much do as they please. I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that Illinois has among the most under-funded pensions in the US and that our governor is making noise about having the Federal government backstop our pension obligations, as you can see here:

    Gov. Pat Quinn included the backstop proposal in the 2012 state budget he released last week. Critics said it would amount to a federal bailout of underfunded state pension programs and pronounced it dead on arrival in Washington. “Hell no–not happenin’,” a House Republican aide said.
     
    But one expert said policymakers could consider the idea in the future, as states lobby Congress and the White House for help in tackling their growing pension obligations. A federal guarantee would allow Illinois and other states with fiscal problems to sell pension bonds at lower interest rates.
     
    Illinois faces an $80 billion pension shortfall. Quinn’s proposed budget said “significant long-term improvements will come only from additional pension reforms, refinancing the liability and seeking a federal guarantee of the debt, or increasing the required state contributions.” Quinn claims previous state pension reforms will save Illinois taxpayers billions of dollars.

    While the Federal government backstop of state pension debt went nowhere, it clearly is a strategy that will be tested at some point in the future, since Illinois has not implemented any of the policy changes necessary to sufficiently fund our obligations or reduce future requirements. Our unions will be on the vanguard of bankrupting Illinois to the point where there is no choice but to apply for Federal aid while the state is flat on our back.

     

    6 Responses to “Chicago And Illinois – Home of the Unions”

    1. Lgbpop Says:

      Illinois is as bankrupt fiscally as its politicians are morally. I’m sorry to say, I have no sympathy for its residents who keep voting these people into office who then turn around and mismanage the public trust the way they do. I hope to God the federal government has the backbone to tell them to sleep in the bed they made.

      If it’s any consolation – I wish the same for California and New York, whose residents voted for more of the pitiful same seemingly in the belief that the other states (through the federal government) will bail them out of their spendthrift ways.

    2. Cousin Dave Says:

      Should it become absolutely necessary, then I will write my Congressmen and insist that the bill that does it also revokes Illinois’ statehood. It can revert to territorial status and have a territorial governor and legislature appointed. Or perhaps make it a protectorate of Indiana. The territorial government will be authorized to make any and all fiscal changes as needed to solve the problem; union contracts won’t be a problem since the entity that agreed to them — the state government of Illinois — no longer exists. At some point in the future, the people of Illinois can write a new state constitution that absolutely guarantees that this will never happen again, and then they can apply for new statehood. The same applies to California and any other state that comes to Washington with its hand out because of their irresponsible fiscal management.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      I think the sign about the weekends is revealing.

      Only a minority of people have the luxury of working just a 40 hour week. Virtually no one who makes over $60,000 a year works a mere 40 hours. At the other extremity, low-skill workers often have to stitch together two or more jobs and work 50-60 hours a week just make ends meet. Farmers, of course, consider a 40 hour week “banker’s hours.” Really, only people who have jobs protected from competition by law can really count on a 40hr a week.

      We should also thank the unions for the entire temp-worker phenomenon as well as the proliferation of “part-time” jobs. In order to protect their own cushy statues, unions have supported laws that make full-time, permanent workers disproportionately expensive per hour thus creating powerful economic incentives for employers to use temps or part-timers whose hours don’t trigger the expenses. As a result, many people have to stitch together several jobs at a time and look for a new part-time temp job every few months.

      Thanks unions!

    4. Michael Kennedy Says:

      California has had a significant change in population the past 30 years. Many white working class and middle class people have retired or left the state. They have been replaced by a large Hispanic group that has not assimilated as the smaller Hispanic immigration sector did in the 40s and 50s. My wife taught elementary school in the Hispanic part of Los Angeles in 1962 to 1965 while I was in medical school in east LA. The families came to parents’ night at school, often with the child translating for them. She learned from a few experiences that she had to be careful describing a child’s deficiencies lest the child come to school black and blue the next day. Hispanic family structure was intact. The illegitimacy rate was the same as Anglo. The families were very focused on education for their children.

      That is no longer true. My closest friend in medical school was one of ten children. His mother did not speak English and made her own tortillas. Of his nine siblings, eight had college degrees and about half had graduate degrees. A Mexican-American surgeon named Francisco Bravo founded a clinic in east LA in the 1940s. He funded scholarships for Hispanic kids to go to college and medical school. The medical school scholarship, which was paying my friend’s tuition, need not be repaid if the recipient practiced in an area with 25% Spanish surnames. Down the street from USC medical school, there is a magnet high school named for Francisco Bravo. There are very few, if any, like him anymore.

      I don’t know about Illinois as I left in 1956 to go to college in California. I do know that my family, with the exception of my sister whose husband is a retired policeman, have moved to distant suburbs to avoid crime. My sister lives in Beverly where there are muggings and shootings within a few blocks every week. That is certainly different from 1956 but I don’t know about the population shifts.

    5. Paul Milenkovic Says:

      “We should also thank the unions for the entire temp-worker phenomenon as well as the proliferation of “part-time” jobs. In order to protect their own cushy statues, unions have supported laws that make full-time, permanent workers disproportionately expensive per hour thus creating powerful economic incentives for employers to use temps or part-timers whose hours don’t trigger the expenses. As a result, many people have to stitch together several jobs at a time and look for a new part-time temp job every few months.

      Thanks unions!”

      If you want to make real progress against the stifling effect of unions, I think you need to persuade union members or at least people in lines of work influenced by unions. The case can be made that the union is taking a tax from your paycheck and lead to the day when you will be laid off. Not only are unions not in the broader public interest, they may work against the interests of the very people they purport to represent.

      So, how do you make that case to the workers involved? Tell them their pay is being cut 8-10%, and if their union even thinks of a strike, there is a contingency plan to bring in National Guard soldiers, not as peace officers but as actual replacement workers for your job, collective bargaining is now subject to severe restrictions, police and fire are singled out for exclusion from this new arrangement because those guys have the badges, guns, and breaking-and-entering equipment, and oh, that 1-2% of your salary taken out of your paycheck? You get to keep that now, and (announcing this on Friday), have a nice weekend!

      Those actions made a lot of people around here very, very happy, but they made a lot of other people very upset, many of whom would have been otherwise sympathetic to a case that the day of unions has passed. That is until now.

      Is everyone around here so focused on the end (free labor markets) that any means to that end is free from any scrutiny or critique?

    6. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Pul, apparently some unions were signing contracts with municipalities that did reduce benefits and wages but guaranteed that the union dues would still be deducted. They were selling out their members. I provided a link several days ago.