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Today’s quote

Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014

* From the SJ-R’s story on Bruce Rauner’s Springfield visit

Asked by a reporter why he has not seemed to use the phrase “government union bosses,” which he often mentioned in the primary campaign, after he won the nomination, Rauner said he is “very pro-worker.”

“I’m not anti-union at all,” he said. “Unions to me are fine if you want to join ’em or not join ’em. That’s not the issue. Conflict of interest inside the government is. I don’t like folks who are in contract negotiations using political cash from taxpayers to influence politicians. That I’m against.”

He also said he wanted people in Springfield to know he doesn’t want to take away pension benefits already earned.

“I’m the one person in this race who doesn’t want to modify” pensions already earned, he said. “I want to freeze the current pension system … and for future work, create a second pension system that’s a defined contribution plan, more of a 401k-style plan.

OK, first of all, he totally sidestepped the question.

Secondly, ““Unions to me are fine if you want to join ’em or not join ’em” is a major rhetorical twist, since he wants counties to be able to institute their own so-called “right to work” ordinances.

And lastly, he most certainly does want to “take away pension benefits already earned.” Rauner would freeze all pension benefit payments forever. No protection at all from inflation. Period. That’s far harsher than anything else on the table.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


40 Comments
  1. - Walker - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    Watching Rauner get increasingly clever with his words scares me.

    Code words for “right to work”, rather than just saying it clearly!

    It seems what he said in the Primary is his true position, and he’s just hiding it for the General.

    I had hoped for better.


  2. - fed up - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    Unions are in a bad spot with Rauner and Quinn both looking to screw then unions. Niether are good for unions might be a wash.


  3. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:40 am:

    Dashing to the Hard-Right for the Primary…Rushing to claim the middle for the General. My head is spinning.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:42 am:

    Make no mistake;

    You are voting against your better self voting for these two Rauners. This Commercially-Made product evolves and morphs, and stands for what the real Bruce Rauner would say and what it means.

    Might still work till May, maybe till August. At some point, being flippant just looks hokey.


  5. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    I think Rauner is summarizing what many corporations have done over recent decades–frozen their pensions and switched to defined contribution systems with a match. Private sector pensions rarely have cola’s, I believe, even for those retaining a defined benefit system.

    It was inevitable that once this started happening on a large scale, there would be pressure on public pensions to change as well.
    Especially, since an increasing percentage of working folks would not have defined benefit programs available to them from their employment.

    So, whether you agree with this approach to retirement saving or not, what Rauner is saying is hardly revolutionary.

    Maybe the public sector unions should have paid a little more attention when the private sector started changing a couple of decades ago. For whom the bell tolls, and all that.


  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    And where does rauners political cash come from, if not the taxpayers? Not just taxpayers, but state employees, and their retirement nest egg?


  7. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:47 am:

    Anonymous 1046 = langhorne


  8. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    “Watching Rauner get increasingly clever with his words scares me.

    Code words for “right to work”, rather than just saying it clearly!

    It seems what he said in the Primary is his true position, and he’s just hiding it for the General.

    I had hoped for better.”

    Me too. He left a lot out there in the Primary that indicates what he really believes.


  9. - MrJM - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    He most certainly does want to “take away pension benefits already earned.” Rauner would freeze all pension benefit payments forever. No protection at all from inflation. Period.

    Why do so many in the press fail to recognize this indisputable fact?

    - MrJM


  10. - AnonymousOne - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    Switching to defined contribution plans with a match and getting all public employees into social security would have folks begging for the defined benefit program. Costs are higher to treat public employees like private employees. No COLA is fine as long as you have the safety net of social security with it’s cola. Public employees have their pensions……beginning and end of retirement income. There is nothing else for most of them.


  11. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:07 am:

    Rauner can’t make those pension/union changes unilaterally. Why is this even an issue? Why even discuss it? It’s pre-election rhetoric on display. Most candidates do it. Certainly in the big ticket races.


  12. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    There’s plenty o space between where the union stands on pension reform and Rauner’s positions relating to all union issues. Assuming no one will get a whole loaf, something in between those two positions is going to be agreed to eventually. From this perspective, Rauner’s made sure it’s not a short field. The union’s have done the same. One side looks more capable of cooperation than the other. Perception is going to be very important in deciding who’s best suited to handle these negotiations.


  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    –Rauner can’t make those pension/union changes unilaterally. Why is this even an issue?–

    Because it was the core of his campaign in the primary? Remember? Wasn’t that long ago.


  14. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Springfield Republicans better not be as stupid as the leadership sounded in the article. Your power base is state employees and if you embrace a guy who is against their interests you will lose that foundation.


  15. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    ====Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:39 am:

    Springfield Republicans better not be as stupid as the leadership sounded in the article. Your power base is state employees and if you embrace a guy who is against their interests you will lose that foundation.====

    Norseman, this equation is being tested. If the power base of the GOP is state employees, we’re in a lot more trouble than anyone could imagine. To quote Casey Stengel “We will ever win another game?” Republican State workers are important. If they’re the power base, we’ll have a severe power shortage.


  16. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    He says he’s the one person in this race who doesn’t want to modify pensions already earned. And then he says he wants to freeze the current pension system. Those two do not equate. Does he not get it. Or does he think we don’t get it.


  17. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    –To quote Casey Stengel “We will ever win another game?”–

    I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I don’t think Casey said it.

    Geez, why drag Casey into your fantasy world? The dude’s dead and can’t defend himself.

    Speak for yourself.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:08 pm:

    - Norseman -, when - A Guy.. - thinks you don’t get “it”, you are ON it.

    Great comment - Norseman -, pertaining to Sangamon County Republicans is beyond true. Why do I say that? I can see how both Rauners did in Sangamon, lol.

    The Raunerites don’t necessarily like Springfield, the GOP Sangamon state workers, and want to shake it up. Remember? I do. They do and will. Raunerites are going to bake the cake without as many GOP voters as possible, and will stay clear of the 1/3 of the corrupt GA members too.

    Whatever GOPers Raunerites alienate - Norseman - work in the write-in campaign. I know you, so I know you are on that already.


  19. - tominchicago - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    Is anyone ever going to point out that Rauner’s plan is not doable? You cannot divert current pension contributions from employees while continuing to pay out benefits for current retirees.


  20. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:28 pm:

    ==== wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:06 pm:

    –To quote Casey Stengel “We will ever win another game?”–

    I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I don’t think Casey said it.

    Geez, why drag Casey into your fantasy world? The dude’s dead and can’t defend himself.

    Speak for yourself.====

    Sorry. I was typing too fast to keep up with your amazing wit. Here’s the correct quote-
    “Will we ever win another game” while managing the not yet Amazin’ Mets.

    I’ll quote who I’d like thank you.


  21. - Bemused - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    Bruce
    Repeat after me “It is not Taxpayers money after it is paid out in wages”. What an employee does with their money is up to them.
    You can’t seem to figure that out but the fine folks of IL should put you in the big chair. Yeah Right!


  22. - aunt_petunia - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    Quinn vs Rauner is truly a demon’s choice. It doesn’t matter what my ex-union says or how hard it lobbies me, I will not give my vote to either Quinn or Rauner. At this point, the best I can hope for is that the Libertarian candidate Grimm isn’t a total flake.


  23. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    Thanks Willy. I don’t give Guy much thought.


  24. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Norseman, I don’t give you any.


  25. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    –Sorry. I was typing too fast to keep up with your amazing wit. Here’s the correct quote-
    “Will we ever win another game” while managing the not yet Amazin’ Mets.–

    You’re just making stuff up. You won’t find that quote anywhere, because he never said it.

    What Casey said was: “Can’t anybody here play this game?” 1964.

    Amazin’ Mets, 1969.

    As far as matching wits with you, I’ll leave half of mine in a drawer and make it a fair fight.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:34 pm:

    If - A Guy … - has to come up with actual … quotes… facts… support of statements…

    They call them quotes for a reason.

    Actually, you could go down to a 1/3 - wordslinger -.

    Yep. One-third. Just like 1/3 of GOP general assembly members are corrupt.

    That 1969 Mets roster is just unbelievable.


  27. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    ==As far as matching wits with you, I’ll leave half of mine in a drawer and make it a fair fight.==

    Amen. He’s growing more arrogant by the day.


  28. - ZC - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    Agreed with the general point that the private sector is trying whenever possible to foist its retirees off the company’s paybook, and on to the government’s.

    That is by itself not a very good reason why the government should try and cut them loose, too. Again, fundamentally we should -not- run the government like a business. One of the whole points of government is that we try and assign a little human dignity and concern to people that the unfettered free market doesn’t really care that much about anymore.


  29. - Andrew Szakmary - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    What Cassandra said before about no COLAs in private sector pensions is only partially correct. A large part of private sector pensions (and public sector pensions in a majority of states) is Social Security, into which both employers and employees pay 6.2% of Salary up to $117,000 of wages each year, and in which benefits are fully indexed to the CPI. To take away all COLAs from state retirees as Rauner proposes is insanely draconian, but Madigan, Cullerton, Quinn et al, who just took away 78% of my AAI last December, are not much better.


  30. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    Rich:

    I’m sorry. I don’t want to be “that guy” who points out errors, but this should be SJ-R

    “From the SK-R’s story”


  31. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 2:39 pm:

    If you freeze my pension benefits I still get 1.67% times years of service times the average of my top four consecutive years. Not much savings there Bruce.


  32. - Jimbo - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    I should clarify that neither my years of service, nor my top four grossing years have been determined at this point, so you can’t freeze a variable that has not been determined.


  33. - A guy... - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    ===As far as matching wits with you, I’ll leave half of mine in a drawer and make it a fair fight.===
    Appears you took this position retroactively. I’ll try to keep up with you man, really I will.


  34. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 3:01 pm:

    @Jimbo:

    I thought Rauner would freeze everything as of a point in time, including the salary you are drawing your pension on as of that date.


  35. - AnonymousOne - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 3:23 pm:

    By the way, employees paid for their AAI in each payroll deduction. No gifts from anyone.


  36. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 4:14 pm:

    I could be wrong and/or misinterpreting, but I heard Rauner on WICS last night. The full quote referenced above by the SJ-R also as I heard it included a mention of COLAs. May be meaningless if they’re frozen as well.
    The math will not work on this anyway when the State has to fund the “frozen liability” plus an employer match on the new DC program.


  37. - Bill Engvall - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 4:30 pm:

    Here’s your sign.


  38. - Streator Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 10:45 pm:

    Odo Rauner, the shape-shifter candidate for governor.

    (Obscure Star Trek Deep Space Nine reference)


  39. - Norseman - Wednesday, Apr 9, 14 @ 11:52 pm:

    Picking up dinner tonight I noticed the restaurant was prominently displaying a sign that said, “We Support State Employees.” You see these signs throughout Springfield. The local GOP leadership needs to pay attention and heed the message. If they forget this message, there will be a lot of us state employees and retirees who will take our business elsewhere.


  40. - Jimbo - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 8:25 am:

    I meant top four years salary to a certain point. Oops.


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