Retirees and active teachers, along with many other public employees, are being scammed, pillage, ripped-off and betrayed. The script of this cruel Kabuki Theater of Absurd Greed has been performed, word-for-word, many times before. The 2011 nonfiction book by Ellen E. Schultz, Retirement Heist, has been plentifully awarded and updated.
Jon Stewart has had Ellen Schultz on as a guest to discuss the book. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have run articles and reviews about the book. Politicians and union leaders are aware of this. We, too, need to be aware.
So the first thing that is important is to realize that the retirement heist has no Illinois style. Pension theft in Illinois simply has puppets with Illinois legislative names and union names mouthing the words and following the steps.
Pages 214-215: “In the public sector, the carnage is being borne by the employees and by the communities around them. The scapegoat game continues. Corporate employers are still blaming aging workers, retiree “legacy costs,” and “spiraling” retiree health care costs for their financial woes-not their own actions that squandered billions of dollars in pension assets… In the public plan sector, the scapegoats are the public employees and retirees, who are beginning to have the haunted look of victims of the Salem witch hunts. The real culprits are the self-serving politicians and officials who passed the funding buck to future generations, the consulting firms that helped them do this, and the investment banks that conned the local governments into investing taxpayer-funded pensions in risky, abusive investments.”
Since a unilateral political decision to cut public pensions is definitely illegal, unions and their leaders have to be part of the cast of characters. This is essential for a fast retirement heist. All future ease of destruction requires it.
Pages 149-150: “We could convince the union that unless we reduce our retiree and employees costs we will be unable to continue to operate… thus creating significant hardship for their members. If the union didn’t agree, it would be tough to cut their benefits… So Pittman suggested a strategy he called ‘Creeping Take Aways.’ Using this approach, Varity ‘would progressively introduce minor reductions and usage controls rules into the medical benefits plan.’ These were ‘designed to be insufficient to warrant incurring the legal cost and trouble to have the benefits reinstated.’ A few years later, Varity could take an ax to the benefits, provoking the union to sue. In court, the company would say that because the union hadn’t objected to the earlier cuts, it tacitly agreed that the company had the right to cut their medical coverage unilaterally.”
Retirement Heist was all researched and written by Ellen Schultz in 2009-2010 and published in 2011. The script and play has had a successful run of performances. Now we are expected to join the Rah-Rahs in Springfield on May 15 to play our little-people roles for the political stooges of the big money producers of this cruel Kabuki Theater of Absurd Greed.
“Rah-rah for 2404! Please don’t hurt me with Madigan’s Big #1.” Pathetic.
Refuse to be chumped by being part of this bizarre behavior. Hope that the even more destructive SB1 passes. The worse the crimes against us and our pensions, the better the chances that the courts will find it all unconstitutional.
Most important of all – stop the fearful union dummies and stooges from agreeing to surrender our pensions. (Many fear for their jobs and social positions even more than the politicians do.) Refuse. Stop the cruel cuts. Go to court.
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.