* Both the Tribune and the Sun-Times have published profile pieces on Bruce Rauner. Most interesting nugget in the Tribune’s story…
The only way to fix the state’s fiscal woes, Rauner insists, is to effectively do away with the current pension system, though he would not seek to eliminate benefits already earned by public workers. Instead, Rauner says, going forward they all should be shifted into 401(k)-style plans that don’t guarantee minimum retirement benefits but give workers the option to invest the money.
Workers in the private sector were long ago shifted to the more volatile 401(k) plans, he argues. However, Rauner would not have the state pay to extend Social Security coverage to those same public workers, even though that is legally required for those in the private sector whether or not they have 401(k)s. [Emphasis added.]
…Adding… From a legislator…
Going to a 401(k) doesn’t necessarily trigger Social Security. In fact, as long as the employer + employee contribution into the 401(k) is at least 7.5% Social Security can be optional.
In other words, Rauner’s horrible idea isn’t illegal. But it’s still a horrible idea.
Also, he does want to eliminate some benefits. Rauner would freeze pension benefit payments at their current amount forever. No inflation protections at all for anyone. That’ll most certainly diminish pensions over not that much time.
Myles Mendoza, the executive director of Ed Choice Illinois, said when he’d get a voicemail from Rauner, he’d save it.
“It’s like the voice of God coming through your phone. It’s sort of this roaring, commanding voice,” Mendoza said, adding: “You can hear the passion coming through.” Mendoza, who said he doesn’t get funding from Rauner, has known him since 2011 to be an advocate for education reform and having a leadership style that mixes confidence and warmth.
“It was a combination of being informed, being charismatic enough to get your attention and having the sort of sheer will to direct things in the way that they have to go,” Mendoza said. “I think he absolutely will stoke the fire and once the fire’s going, he will move things in the direction they need to go.”
Mendoza said Rauner has told him you can’t get people’s attention by being a wall flower. But he denied Rauner would have a scorched earth approach to leading.
“Bruce is going to get your attention, but it’s not going to be scorched earth all the way. I’ve seen communications where — he just has a way of making sure you don’t ignore things. He is a very loving person. He has this juxtaposition between strength and compassion,” Mendoza said. “Who else in this universe is a successful businessman but really spends most of their time learning and investing in education? Why is he doing this? Because he cares about disadvantaged kids. There’s like a handful of people who care about this stuff on his level. He cares about it, he’s like consumed by it. I think that’s why he’s running for governor, because he wants to change things.”