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Unclear on the concept

Thursday, Dec 5, 2013

* From a Northwest Herald editorial blasting the pension reform bill

If they were truly determined to solve the problem, they would have held this vote before Dec. 3 – the day after the current crop of lawmakers found out who they would be facing in the March primary.

Voting for a controversial bill after the filing deadline makes said bill a little easier to pass. So, if the bill was made even tougher on retirees and employees, holding a vote before the filing deadline would’ve been pointless.

* John Kass climbed aboard the Bruce Rauner bandwagon in his column critiquing the pension bill. He doesn’t mention Rauner’s name, of course

It doesn’t freeze cost-of-living increases for public employees or put them all on 401(k) plans like many of us are stuck with.

* The bill that Kass appears to love, Rauner supports and the Illinois Policy Institute claims is based on its own draft was introduced in February of this year.

The bill is so “popular” that only three members have signed on: Reps. Jeanne Ives, Tom Morrison (who, with Ives, voted against the pension bill this week after voting for Madigan’s bill) and Barb Wheeler (who voted for both the Madigan bill and the pension bill this week).

Over in the Senate, an identical bill that accomplishes the Rauner/Kass/Illinois Policy Institute goals is sponsored by Sen. Jim Oberweis, who voted for the pension bill this week. Oberweis lined up precisely zero co-sponsors.

In other words, almost nobody in their right minds wants to touch this thing. And yet it’s held up as a viable alternative. On what planet do they live on?

* Rauner, by the way, was on Roe Conn’s show yesterday and claimed he’s been meeting with AFSCME members and teachers…

“Many of them are supporting our campaign.”

You gotta wonder what his definition of “many” is.

Listen to the interview…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Empty Chair - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    Man, he’s got some voice, huh?

  2. - Mason born - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 1:51 pm:


    Something tells me won’t see any campaign pictures of those “many AFSCME members”.

  3. - gopower63 - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    Is it any surprise that the very same legislators who caused this pension crisis through their incredible economic ignorance and naked corruption do not support the only possible solutions?

    This is an election — the choice should be which policy is better.

  4. - dave - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    I’m almost positive that the NW Herald editorialized in favor of the Speaker’s original version of SB1.

    But now they’re opposed to this? Absurd.

    Then again, the NW Herald may be the worst newspaper in the state. It really is just terrible.

  5. - Irish - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    I as a union state employee am supporting “anyone but Quinn.” ….unless it’s Rauner and then I might do a write in for Oswego Willy.

    I suppose there are some union members and/or teachers who might support Rauner, for the life of me I can’t see why, but many?

    And if it is Quinn /Rauner I’ll bet there are a lot of CPS folks who will be in a quandary. Who do you pick? A close friend of Rahm’s or someone who would pick Paul Vallas as a running mate.

    Get ready OW you might be a contenda.

  6. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 1:56 pm:

    Rauner is talking with AFSCME and teachers? Too funny. Maybe he’s feeling the heat of being an extremist and wants to get as many union members/public workers as possible before they go to Dillard or Rutherford. He probably wants to tell them it’s the “union bosses” who got the state into the pension mess and see if he can grab some votes.

    “401(k) like many of us are stuck with”

    Boo friggidy hoo. What does Kass ever do to fight for better benefits and wages? Kass may have said that, though, just to keep stoking the resentment of the far right.

  7. - MrJM - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 1:56 pm:

    It doesn’t freeze cost-of-living increases for public employees or put them all on 401(k) plans like many of us are stuck with.

    Another ringing endorsement of the defined-contribution retirement plan!

    – MrJM

  8. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    - Irish -

    Oh Geez. I don’t have a thing to wear …

    To the Post,

    Either Rauner is just utterly insane, which is possible for anyone to be utterly insane, or Rauner may just believe that anything he says is going to be believed if you just say it enough, or …

    Bruce Rauner is just clueless to governing, what “support” means opposed to “listening” to hear how you are going after them, or maybe John Kass is just completing his sellout, to completely shed the 1990s John Kass, ala Kirk Dillard.

    One of the most dishonest runs about who a candidate truly is, and how they portray themselves in quite sometime. No shame.

    Will one of those Union Teachers ask about Payton Prep and Clouting a Denied New Trier Daughter into Payton Prep, or is that just “political baloney”?

  9. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    Kass has pension envy.

  10. - davidh - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:01 pm:

    I am married to a teacher, and yeah right, she and her colleagues just can’t think highly enough of Rauner, his charter school, his union-bashing, and his assertion that the CPS is a form of child abuse. Watching the raison d’etre of his campaign fly to pieces has been a bright spot in a pretty bleak week.

  11. - Phineas J. Whoopee - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    John Kass’s column yesterday was the most disgusting and ludicrous column I can remember reading. If you get past all his putrid (literally) analogies, he has the audacity to say how sorry he feels for the public employees who may get their pensions cut while espousing taking them away completely.

    I applaud you bringing this revolting and disingenuous column up for discussion and would strongly encourage anyone who wants to see what bad writing is all about to have a go, but only if you have a strong stomach.

    He really is a piece of work.

  12. - walkinfool - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:06 pm:

    A couple of AFSCME members might be supporting Rauner’s campaign, but it’s not because of his position on pensions.

    “I agree my house needs repairs, and the contractor I was depending on didn’t come thru as promised, so why don’t you just burn it down?”

    I guess “incredible economic ignorance” is a fully bi-partisan trait.

  13. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:09 pm:

    Gotta wonder what FarmerBrucey means by “meeting”
    probably sees them in line at the dry cleaner while picking up his Carharts.

    Meanwhile let’s remember Kass had a retirement plan until Zell ended the “profit sharing” and added an ESOP which went broke. We believe Kass is fishing for a spot on the FarmerBrucey team…Most are certain he is now Dave Gilbert or Tom Hardy — the most recent Tribbies to mouthpiece a gov.

  14. - Raymond - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    Jen Weigel’s professionalism is remarkable. I don’t know how she manages to stay composed during her daily video chats with Kass; anybody else would dismiss him as the blowhard that he is.

  15. - Elo Kiddies - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    Rich — Friendly amendment — you have to wonder what Team Rauner’s definition of “supporting” is. Maybe AFSCME members will drink his pops and eat his hot dogs, and he assumes that means they “support” him.

  16. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:23 pm:

    Irish, our write-in Willy campaign is the way to go. You don’t get namby pamby with Willy.

  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    Kass is a suckup to the misanthropic big money boys like Rauner and Griffin. To him, they’re “businessmen,” not pay-to-play hustlers.

    Maybe he thinks they’ll buy the Trib so he can keep his gig as a semi-literate, willfully ignorant gasbag. God knows given the value of the paper today, guys like Griffin, who had a Versailles wedding, or Rauner, who has a moated Central Park West penthouse, could probably buy it with pocket change.

    Here’s Kass, a self-described “conservative,” who has called the Constitution “sacred.” But he’s willing to toss it out the window in order to break contracts, bust unions and screw working stiffs out of their retirement in the interest of leveling for leveling sakes.

    He’s surrendered to the Masters of the Universe, so you should, too.

    Yeah, buddy. Just a regular tough guy from the neighborhood.

    Maybe if the Tribbies had had a union, grave-dancer Zell wouldn’t have been able to steal their ESOP as a tax dodge while he tanked the company, firing great senior writers and editors along the way, while keeping one prominent tukkus-kisser.

    As it was, it took some gutsy writers at the L.A. Times to sue their boss to claw some of that lost ESOP money back when the Trib was hiding in bankruptcy court. None of the Tribbies had the cojones to do it.

    Kass is as big a phony as Rauner.

  18. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    Oops - cleaned out my cookies. The above was me.

  19. - foster brooks - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    “Many of them are supporting our campaign.”

    He’s so full of it

  20. - Norseman - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    === put them all on 401(k) plans like many of us are STUCK (emphasis added) with ===

    I think this sums it up right there. They got screwed so its ok to screw public workers.

    It also highlights his distaste for 401(k) plans since he feels stuck with one.

  21. - Geez - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    Any public employee union member or leader–or ANY member of ANY union, for that matter–who would consider for ONE moment the possibility of endorsing, voting for or in ANY way supporting Bruce Rauner for Governor should have their heads checked. Mr. “Union-Hating, Right To Work and Sooo Proud of It” Bruce Rauner? Give me a break.

  22. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    Kass is Kass. All you have to do is drop the K.

    He makes 200000 a year “writing” for the Trib and “talking” into a mic at WLS. He’s never worked a day in his life, that’s been his goal since he saw how hard a real man (his father) worked. Too good for Sir Smokes A Lot. See, I can not be funny too.

  23. - Fiercely Independent - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    “Gotta wonder what FarmerBrucey means by “meeting”
    probably sees them in line at the dry cleaner while picking up his Carharts.”

    You really think he picks them up himself?

  24. - Bill_Baar - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    I think AFSCME membership losses in Wisconsin show there’s likely a pro Rauner bunch among Illinois AFSCME and Teacher Unions too. Some of those members may well be talking to Rauner’s campaing.

  25. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    “a real man (his father)”

    I believe Kass’ father was from a village very near to where my parents were born. I wrote an email to Kass about this once, but he didn’t respond.

  26. - Obamas Puppy - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    Hey kASS you get Social Security, if you want to stick teachers with SS get ready for your property taxes to skyrocket dum dum.

  27. - Jimbo - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===401(k) plans like many of us are stuck with=== So he admits that 401k plans suck. Seriously, haters like him ought to be fighting to be treated more fairly by their employer rather than trying to bring everyone down in a race to the bottom.

  28. - Anonymous One - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:05 pm:

    ===401Ks like we’re all stuck with==

    Geez, I thought all these folks thought 401ks were the place to be! Control your own retirement future! It’s better for you! Just shows how envious they are and what lying, jealous snakes they are. As for reading these God-awful hate filled newspapers, I sure do hope anyone affected by the pension re-theft has/will drop their subscriptions. No need to contribute one more penny in the pockets of those who so gleefully promoted taking from our retirement security.

  29. - Ghost - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    The problem with this bill is it doesn’t freeze the rates investment bankers can charge for handling 401(k) and other investment lans, or cap the max amount they can collect in fees at the social security rate. Also it doesnt adjust the tax regualtions so that all income at the federal level is taxed at the same rate, removing the lower 19% rate for wealthy investors and putting them at the 35% rate of the middle class worker. It also fails to require people to pay social security tax on all their income, instead of just the first small protion for the wealthy.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    - Norseman -, always recruiting! You better plan on being a part of the Administration, you got me and - Bill - in this …lol

    To the Post,

    John Kass … Tom Hardy “route” …

    How are the ratings on the Kass Show?

  31. - Wensicia - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:23 pm:

    “Many of them are supporting our campaign.”

    On what planet?

  32. - Roadiepig - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:37 pm:

    Rauner continues to believe the same things than many young children also believe (before the gain reason and understand that the truth matters)- lie . Early, often, and always. I’m sure there are probably “many” chickens on farms out there who support Colonel Sanders too…

  33. - W.S Walcott - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:44 pm:

    I listened to the Rauner interview on WLS yesterday. It was very clear that he knows he has lost his top campaign issue, but I think he may be okay with that. When asked about switching state employees over to 401k’s and the constitutional protections - he explained by calling it “simple.” When asked about the actual language he refused to say diminish, or was truly unclear on what the language is. He said he’d allow past pension credit to remain, but the constitutional protection of said pensions expires at the end of each collective bargaining agreement. Hence, at the end of this agreement (7/14) he would “simply” place all employees into a 401k, and there would be no “impairment”, again would not say diminish, therefore it would be constitutional. Problem solved.
    I don’t have the stomach to explain how asinine that is. I feel like most people can see that, but upon further review, I’m not so certain. Trying to explain a way to “fix” the pension systems can be confusing, and you get into the weeds pretty quick. I think he has distilled the issue down to something many voters can quickly understand and support. “401k for me = 401k for state employees.” No mess, and simple.
    The chance of that becoming reality is almost zero, and Rauner knows that. This is a campaign issue that he will repeat time and time again, until someone presses him. That’s unlikely to happen.
    I don’t think this bill has taken an issue away from Rauner, it has allowed him to more easily sell his ideology to voters.

  34. - dupage dan - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:44 pm:

    Putting aside the nonsense that is Rauner and Kass, I wonder what a real reform bill would look like? One that addresses the contract and the real actuarial numbers regarding realistic retirement rates and the appropriate level of funding needed to meet those requirements.

    Would that legislation look anything like what was passed? If not, why not? (these are rhetorical questions, for the most part. But born of frustration nonetheless).

    We all know that, politically speaking, this legislation is the best that could be passed. That doesn’t make it constitutional or sufficient to resolve the crisis. Even if it can resolve the problem - it is only if the GA/Gov follows their own legislation. Kinda like the ramp, no?

    For those folks who know a little bit, this legislation looks like what they are calling it - a bandaid. There is little confidence that the very folks who caused the problem will adhere to their own remedy when we see how they treat their own legislated remedies enacted in the past.

  35. - Just Sayin' - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:48 pm:

    I agree with wordslinger. Kass knows who is buttering his bread. How did he get on WLS anyway? Proft - same thing.The same people who are funding Proft and Kass at WLS are behind Rauner & Co. WLS is just brokered time radio. WLS should be filing political committee reports with the Illinois State Board of Election. I bet the reports would be telling indeed. Someone want to write the official letter? Rich???

  36. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:49 pm:

    Baron von Carhartt may be talking AT AFSCME members, but I doubt that there has been any dialogue with them.

  37. - Just Sayin' - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:50 pm:

    Incidentally, I hear that Oberweis’ people are helping circulate Rauner’s term limits petition down state. When asked who it’s for - they say Oberweis. Had some pro-liffers in a tizzy when they found out when they were asked to sign agreements and they had the name RAUNER on it.

  38. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:51 pm:

    Rauner must think the pro-union audience was yelling “Bruuuuuuuuuce.”

  39. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    47th Ward, that comment seals my vote for you for the Golden Horseshoe. lol

  40. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    - 47th Ward -,

    Goodness Gracious, you said everything “phony” in one turn of a phrase. Outstanding!

    Man, was that good.

  41. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 4:17 pm:

    Wow. Thanks. Rauner is a pretty easy target.

  42. - Frenchie Mendoza - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 4:21 pm:

    WSW @ 3:44p

    … the constitutional protection of said pensions expires at the end of each collective bargaining agreement.

    Does Rauner truly believe this? That when the contract is up, the constitution no longer applies — or, at least it doesn’t apply until a new contract is negotiated?

    I’m trying to wrap my head around this. This is what Rauner means when he says he’ll shut down the government for a few weeks to reorganize. This seems — to put it mildly — insane — and obviously not true.

    But I can’t believe he’s talking like this. I mean — it’s mind boggling.

  43. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 4:22 pm:

    Mine is a 403 and not a 401, but I don’t mind being ’stuck’ with it at all. The money is there, my place of business puts in 6% to my 4%, and did I mention, the money is there? Nobody gets to decide to not fund it. I can take it all out tomorrow (except for the part they’d keep to pay taxes). If I worked for a government I’d be begging for them to put my money in something like this.

  44. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 4:34 pm:

    word, the guys that run Oaktree are nobody’s fool (obviously, even though one of them kinda looks like Robin Williams) and if Kass is bad for business, he’ll be outta there faster than you can say “chumbolone.”

  45. - cod - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 5:03 pm:

    That was quite a slip that Kass made on the 401-K he says he is “stuck with”. It means pensions with CPI based COLAs are better than a 401-K. That is absolutely true for almost all wage earners, and I am glad Kass has now admitted it, but what kind of hatchet man for big business is he?

    I imagine that plenty of people will be re-quoting him on this every time he writes something on this topic in the future.

  46. - Just Sayin' - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 5:14 pm:

    Ask WLS to release their advertiser list and how much they are paying. Could explain a lot.

  47. - too obvious - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 5:38 pm:

    Shocked that John Kass’ making up childish nicknames for everyone hasn’t solved the pension crisis.

  48. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 6:17 pm:

    Today, Kass instructs you to not listen to the Newtown 911 tapes at risk of losing your “humanity” or parts of your “soul.”

    This is a strange man. With a messiah complex.

    Somehow, this alleged journalist concludes that turning your eyes from truth is a virtue, while confronting evil is voyeurism.

    “Hey, don’t look at those newsreels from Auschwitz, ‘kay? You might the wrong idea about the Nazis. Nothing you can do about it, anyway.”

    He then, somehow, compares interest in the facts about the Newtown massacre to the popularity of fictional television shows.

    No, he really does.

    To him, people who are interested in the facts about Newtown are looking to be entertained, the same as people who watch “CSI” or “Breaking Bad.”

    Good Lord, what’s wrong with this dude?

    It’s beyond me how any journalist can lecture about ignoring the truth. And to be so whacky sanctimonious as to call into question the “humanity” and “souls” of those who seek the truth.

  49. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Dec 5, 13 @ 7:34 pm:

    If they get a 401K like Kass, do public employees also get an assistant like Kass? Or did Zell also take away the person who actually did the work?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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        * Meet the 8 House Dems who don't co-sponsor...
        * Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: In this ca...
        * Rep. Lipinski to Honor Vietnam Veterans at...
        * Rep. Lipinski Helps Secure Funds for Safet...
        * Rep. Lipinski Reviews Operations at Hanson...

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        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
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        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
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        * Major Oil & Gas Firm To List Drilling Chemicals
        * Durbin Says FDA E-Cigarette Regulations Don't Go Far Enough
        * Herbalife Punished 600 Distributors For Medical Claims: ABC News
        * Harmon To Push For Graduated Tax Vote Next Week
        * Madigan blames Tea Party for $100M Obama Library re-vote
        * Oberweis remains committed to border security, immigration law enforcement
        * One In Ten U.S. Bridges In Urgent Need Of Repair: Report
        * Chicago Plastic Bag Ban Clears Committee, Heads To Full City Council
        * Quinn Announces Support For Term Limits For Statewide Lawmakers
        * Chicago High School To Be Named After Obama

        * Cases of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV on the Rise Nationally - Residents Are Encouraged to Get Tested for STDs
        * State Insurance Regulators Urge Property Owners to Review/Add Coverage to Protect from Floods & Water Damage - Most homeowners’ policies do not cover flood damage
        * Governor Quinn Statement on New Proposal to Enact Term Limits for Constitutional Officers
        * Statement from Governor Quinn on the Passing of Dr. Jerry Umanos
        * Governor Quinn Proclaims “Wrigley Field Day” - Home of the Chicago Cubs Turns 100 Years Old Today

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