Pension Despair
Illinois and Detroit Shake Things Up
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  • rheddles

    We have sympathy for most of the people who did nothing wrong beyond
    naively believing the sweet promises of lying politicians and conniving
    union bosses who knew very well that the lavish pensions weren’t being

    I have as much sympathy for them as for the people swindled by Bernie Madoff. Their desire for security overwhelmed their knowledge that if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t. One of the great tragedies of life is that each generation must learn this lesson as though it had never been taught before.

    • Gene

      I’m in agreement with you, though I do in fact have sympathy for those people–up to a point.

      I’d like to believe, however, that the “great tragedy of life” that you refer to could somehow be prevented for future generations. I’ve long thought that libertarians, who love to paint great pictures of the benefits of life with more freedom, do a very poor job of talking about the other side of that coin–namely, that a life with a lot more freedom means a life in which people must exercise a lot more responsibility as well. It’s obvious why politicians keep on selling that free lunch, and I can understand their fear of asking voters to wise up and rise above a 4th-grade level of understanding how the world works. I hate the idea that this is an unsolveable problem, however.

      • Anthony

        Where the public goes wrong generally is in whom it accepts under various competing labels as representatives – not men of proven knowledge, ability, and purpose but men who appeal to various unexamined prejudices. Hopefully, Gene, your generation can remedy that 4th grade….

        • Gene

          My Generation — HAH! I’m a boomer. Too late for us, methinks.

          • Anthony

            You’re so right but do some good where you can.

  • Kavanna

    There’s much more to come. A fair solution will impose losses all around. But various parties will not see it that way, of course. For each, “fair” will mean the losses should be borne by everyone else.

    The “blue social model” that WRM talks about with such perceptiveness has been sustained, in recent decades, not by taxes, but by a deceptive Democratic party and its urban machines, in cohoots with the Fed and Wall Street and their advanced machinery for rolling over and repackaging debt. This weird alliance — pseudo-educated liberals, corrupt machine politicians, willfully deluded voters, and high finance — started to come apart in 2007, with plenty of mutual recriminations. Massive intervention has slowed the slide, but can’t stop it here, any more than it can be stopped in Europe or Japan.

    The only pity I have in this situation is for the bankruptcy judges who have to supervise the resolution of each of these messes.

    • rheddles

      And pity for the people who played by the old rules and are about to see their savings inflated to worthlessness.

  • Bruce

    This was a very well done essay, WRM. Blunt, strong, honest and insightful.

  • Anthony

    “Hopefully the state uses this as something to build on and doesn’t treat this as the last word in the matter.” We shall see (and given vote came after Detroit decision, I speculate how many yea votes can be attributed).

  • AD_Rtr_OS

    Reality will continue to be denied.

  • Kavanna

    BTW, could you post dates with these postings? If they’re outside the context of a stream or feed, you can’t see a date.

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