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The Pensions That Ate Illinois

The money has run out in Illinois. Despite having already mandated an income tax increase this year, the Democratic-controlled state legislature is facing the need for steep spending cuts. As Governor Pat Quinn said, “The truth is that over the past 35 years too many governors and members of the General Assembly have clung to budget fantasies rather than confronting hard realities, especially with respect to pension and Medicaid investments. . . . Today, our rendezvous with reality has arrived.”

These are the kinds of statements and spending cuts that would be denounced with words like “savagery” and “draconian” if they had been made by the other party. But the rules of the game have now changed. Illinois’ debt has climbed in recent years in large part due to ballooning pension costs, which Governor Quinn pegged at $5.2 billion for the coming year—triple the total in 2008.

The country’s bluest states—Illinois, California, New York—are among its most dysfunctional. A meaningless coincidence, obviously.

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  • Jim.

    This is why governments shouldn’t make promises like this in the first place.

  • Eric from Texas

    I would add Michigan to that dysfunctional list. The results of those problems show up other places. You can see a noticeable number of Michigan license plates on the roads of the Houston metro area these days.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    “The country’s bluest states—Illinois, California, New York—are among its most dysfunctional. A meaningless coincidence, obviously.”

    A meaningless coincidence, obviously? LOL I see by the sarcasm, that Via Meadia recognizes the Democrats for the hypocritical Blue Model enablers that they are.

  • Kenny

    Love it.

    Now the thing to do is to make sure these states do not get their snout in the federal trough.

    They incurred the debt; it is they who will have to work it off.

  • Mrs. Davis

    The RNC should seriously consider not sponsoring any candidates for any of those state legislatures. I know that in California they are a joke bringing disrepute to the party. Just let the donks take it all and all the responsibility.

  • Cunctator

    Why are the people with the very lucrative state pensions not being forced to disgorge some of the benefits that are causing the problem?

    If there is to be an added burden placed on society, then all members should have to carry it — not just those who are paying for the pensions of those already retired.

  • Jeremy, Alabama

    My guess is that sooner or later a Democrat administration will bale out them out. They are Democrat constituents, which, like auto unions, are powerful political allies.

    Right now, during the runup to an election, is not a good time for burying the news. But if Obama wins another term, consider this a done deal. If he doesn’t, these states will need to avoid bankruptcy until the cycle returns a Democrat. Either way, if you are a private lender to one of these states, you are probably looking at purchasing some political protection for your investment.

  • Ritchie Emmons

    It’s high time that govt pensions ended. 401k plans and things of the like need to replace pensions. Bankruptcy otherwise awaits.

  • Kenny
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