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Rickert: Fire all state workers

Monday, May 11, 2015

* Diana Sroka Rickert of the Illinois Policy Institute, writing in the Tribune

The state’s pension system is underfunded by more than $100 billion, and beyond repair. When it comes to reforming the system, lawmakers’ hands are tied. On Friday the court ruled that the retirement benefits offered on current workers’ first day of employment can never be changed; only new hires can earn retirement benefits differently.

So if changes can’t be made, here is what Gov. Bruce Rauner should do: Lay off the entire state workforce, and close the pension system. Work with the General Assembly to open a different retirement plan for newly hired government workers, modeled after the nation’s most popular retirement vehicle: the 401(k). Then offer to rehire state workers under the new retirement plan.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight.

State laws will need to be changed. Pension benefits earned to date will need to be paid.

The government unions will file lawsuits, and the legality of this strategy will be challenged. Understandably, some workers will turn down the new deal. Daily operations of state government will be disrupted — and potentially result in a government shutdown.

But even if all those things happen, the ultimate outcome will be better than what’s ahead if the state does nothing.

What a total crock.

* From the recent opinion

Moreover, no possible claim can be made that no less drastic measures were available when balancing pension obligations with other State expenditures became problematic

And firing all workers is somehow less drastic?

Please.

* And

The General Assembly may not legislate on a subject withdrawn from its authority by the constitution

So, yeah, the Supremes will approve this idea for sure.

Right.

* When those employees were hired, they were promised pension benefits. And if they quit their jobs for a while and then returned to government service they picked up where they left off. The Supreme Court was crystal clear. The General Assembly can’t break that contract now.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

187 Comments
  1. - Johnny Pyle Driver - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:09 pm:

    once you’re vested, you’re vested right? How would firing everybody change this?


  2. - Centennial - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:10 pm:

    I hate to sound trite, but what kind of human being advocates for thousands of people to lose their jobs. We live in scary times.


  3. - PJ - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:12 pm:

    Methinks the Illinois Policy Institute has now officially jumped the shark.


  4. - Demoralized - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:13 pm:

    Does this moron not realize that firing everyone does not get rid of the pension liability that already exists? Does she think the state gets a “do over” by doing this? What rock does the IPI find these kooks under?


  5. - Johnny Pyle Driver - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:13 pm:

    Centennial, you forget that part of the prevailing ideology for Raunerites is that government jobs aren’t “real jobs.” You can eliminate “imaginary jobs” without incurring economic harm. The money made by government workers and spent by government workers is just a figment of your imagination. Click your heels, because this isn’t Kansas anymore. Well, unless Sam Brownback’s in your dreams. Then, it is most assuredly Kansas in future tense


  6. - the Other Anonymous - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:13 pm:

    Johnny Pyle Driver is right — the unfunded pension liability does not go away by simply firing everyone.

    And Centennial is right, too: what kind of human being advocates for just laying off every state worker (including state police, corrections officers, social workers. . . .).

    These are the guys providing the intellectual heft to the Rauner administration?!


  7. - Anonymosa - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:13 pm:

    You’ve got this right Rich. Ask RNUG; ask anybody who’s knowledgeable. The GA has to pay. If state workers are fired and then re-hired, they come back as Tier 1. The Supreme Court will see through the ruse.


  8. - BlameBruceRauner - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:15 pm:

    IPI needs to be turned off. Sure lets ruin the lives of thousands of families, all while Johnny CEO and his band of billionaires sip mai-tais in their private jets……..breathe……..


  9. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:15 pm:

    ===So if changes can’t be made, here is what Gov. Bruce Rauner should do: Lay off the entire state workforce, and close the pension system.===

    They’re cute when they’re either willfully ignorant or or know better and want to make others blissfully ignorant.

    I’m embarrassed for her.

    Shills are getting to be easier and easier to see…


  10. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:15 pm:

    == once you’re vested, you’re vested right? ==

    Yep

    == How would firing everybody change this? ==

    Unless you could prove all workers were fired for cause, it wouldn’t change a thing. They’d all sue and win.

    To the post itself: where did IPI find this person (not the first word that came to mind but I’m trying to be civil) that apparently can’t even read plain language?


  11. - Reality Check - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:16 pm:

    Can all of us grownups agree to stop listening to these nutcases now?


  12. - Norseman - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:17 pm:

    Dear GOP Solons,

    You have been lazy in the past and used the Illinois Policy Institute to lend legitimacy to some of your proposals. Wake up and understand that this group is not helping your credibility. The current pronouncement from IPI should be reason enough for you to come to your senses. Even the most blind among your members knows that you can’t layoff the entire state workforce. Have someone try and create another faux independent group to advise on policy. This one has no credibility among any but the ignorant.


  13. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:17 pm:

    Rephrasing the entire article in one sentence:

    “Laws only apply to the little people.”


  14. - Centennial - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:19 pm:

    Further, what happens to all these laid off workers of the State shuts down? I’m assuming IDES wouldn’t be issuing unemployment checks. Not that unemployment is much to live off of but when your paycheck gets pulled it keeps food on the table at least.


  15. - Juvenal - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:20 pm:

    Apparently IPI is also stuck in the second stage of loss and grief right now.


  16. - Anonin' - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:20 pm:

    Gotta love it when it is “Whack Job Turns at The Word Processor Day”. They are so gifted. So inspired
    BTW has this Whack ever heard of unemployment… all the laid off workers get it…..and the mopes behind bars….will she and fellow Whacks go guard them…for free?
    And they wonder why they never really win. Maybe they can get Gov. and Ben Carson in to speak.


  17. - Juvenal - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:21 pm:

    Actually, they seem torn between Denial and Anger, reading more closely.


  18. - Aldyth - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:21 pm:

    The Illinois Policy Institute is flaunting its ignorance in public.

    I repeat, as I have stated many times before, why would anyone want to go to work for the State of Illinois where they are being treated like disposable goods?


  19. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:22 pm:

    == Can all of us grownups agree to stop listening to these nutcases now? ==

    No, we still need to know what they are saying to be informed. But I’m disappointed; they didn’t send me a personalized press release on it.


  20. - Someone you should know - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:23 pm:

    So I pulled her twitter, This is her Twitter summary, is it really bad when you Misspell Reagan?

    Diane Sroka Benjamin
    @teapartybloom
    Those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent it from happening. Ronald Reagen


  21. - relocated - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:25 pm:

    Further proof that names are meaningless. If the Illinois Policy Institute is a think tank, then I’ll rename my saturday foursome The Illinois Association of Handsome and Gifted Golfers. If thats the best they can pump out they might as well turn out the lights.


  22. - Wordslinger - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:26 pm:

    “You, too, can be a millionaire and not pay taxes. Impossible you say? Not with the Tax-Free Millionaire Plan from IPI.”

    “How does it work? Simple. First, get a million dollars.
    Then, when the tax man comes around, you say ‘I don’t have to pay taxes’…”


  23. - Stones - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:27 pm:

    I got news for Ms. Rikert - the Governor only controls one branch of government. He cannot fire Judicial or Legislative employees.


  24. - Skeptical - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:28 pm:

    The IPI is simply aping the GOP metanarrative. Destroy the middle class, further marginalize the most vulnerable, and line the pockets of the rich with more blood money. And, while you are at it, manage to call yourself a “policy institute” while not cracking a grin.


  25. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:29 pm:

    Courtesy of Juvenal, on another thread. This is classic.
    Reboot Illinois, the decidedly pro-Rauner news generator summarizes the ISC ruling well in two words: “Pay Up.”

    Those looking for alternate meanings between those two words, via back-masking, and other methods would be well-advised to move as quickly as possible through the five stages of loss:

    1. Denial (Rauner)
    2. Anger (Chicago Tribune)
    3. Bargaining (Cullerton)
    4. Depression (Nekritz)
    5. Acceptance (Raoul)


  26. - Randall - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:29 pm:

    Certainly not advocating this, but perhaps the thought here is to replace the entire workforce (or as many workers as possible) with individuals who have never previously worked in government. That presumably would allow the state to funnel all those folks into 401Ks.


  27. - Soccermom - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:29 pm:

    No, Anonin — that’s the brilliance of this. There won’t be any unemployment burden, because there won’t be anybody left to send out the checks.

    Crazy like a fox, I call it…


  28. - CABR - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:29 pm:

    Is she dreaming?? So many holes in this plan. What about social security for state workers if no pension? How will she fund current retirees pensions-with fairy dust?


  29. - And I Approved This Message - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:31 pm:

    Ms. Rickert, or may I call you Diana, what a beautifully simplistic solution you bring us that was right before our very eyes all along. Fire everybody! (Making the noise in the “I could have had a V8″ commercial) Pure genius!! Disband the Working Groups! All is well.


  30. - redleg - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:31 pm:

    At least she hasn’t called for lynch mobs….yet.

    This weekend I spoke to three different people from three different state agencies and all said they are preparing for the worse. Lots of “Support State Employees” yard signs popping up in town.


  31. - Norseman - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:32 pm:

    Where did Diana Sroka Rickert get her education. I want to send the State Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education into these organizations to check on the quality of their teachers. Clearly, Rickert didn’t learn anything in these institutions.


  32. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:32 pm:

    This would not work.

    Illinois can offer new hires a 401k instead of a pension, but current employees would still be owed the benefits they have earned under the terms they have agreed to.


  33. - Come on man! - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:33 pm:

    I quit society! Can I stop paying taxes and break all the laws?


  34. - Precinct Captain - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:33 pm:

    Surprise it took this long for the right wing nocturnal emission froth to come out.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:35 pm:

    - Randall -,

    Your dorm’s Resident Assistant said your pizza is in the lounge…

    Yikes.


  36. - Joan P. - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:35 pm:

    It’s astonishing how many allegedly intelligent and educated people can’t seem to read plain English.


  37. - Soccermom - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:36 pm:

    Puh-leeze, Precinct Captain! Puh-Leeeze!


  38. - Qui Tam - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:36 pm:

    =They’d all sue and win.=

    Not necessarily. Lisa Madigan has had “success” upholding bogus discharges all the way up to the ISC. The aggrieved employee’s burden of pursuing a complaint while unemployed against the AG isn’t as easy as it sounds.


  39. - SAP - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:37 pm:

    Only one little flaw with Ms. Rickert’s plan: After she fires the entire State work force, she’d have to replace all of them with people who have never worked for the state. Other than that, her plan is perfect. (Note to the IPI set: That was snark).


  40. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:37 pm:

    ==I want to send the State Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education into these organizations to check on the quality of their teachers.==

    They should also check on the law professors who signed off on briefs supporting the state’s attempted pension theft https://capitolfax.com/2015/01/14/ag-madigan-files-pension-appeal-brief/


  41. - Anonymous - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:37 pm:

    Even if they could fire all the state workers, that still only “solves” what maybe a 1/4 of the problem. They certainly can’t fire the teachers or the University employees.


  42. - Wordslinger - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:39 pm:

    I think there was a time when I would have been shocked that the Trib printed this nonsense, but It must have been long ago.

    Are there some industrial strength pharmaceuticals in play here? Pretty wild path going from fire everybody to drinking fountains in the hallway and back again.

    The presumption that an editorial page employs editors no longer exists.


  43. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:39 pm:

    - Qui Tam -,

    So, hundreds and hundreds of state employees will be fired, for cause, in real time immediacy, and the courts will see this as a coincidence, unrelated to fiscal?

    “Worth a shot…”


  44. - Under Further Review - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:40 pm:

    Not all of the pensions are platinum. I have a friend who worked as a part-time community college instructor for about twenty-five years. His modest earnings put him into SURS (State University Retirement System). His annual SURS pension benefit is less than $5,000.00 annually, but under the “Biss Law” his college employer has determined that he is a fat cat who ought not be rehired because of the potential risk of the college being fined if he earns too much money.


  45. - Tournaround Agenda - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:42 pm:

    The non-partisan think tank that always lampshades what Bruce Rauner wants to do next.


  46. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:45 pm:

    If you take the term state employee literally, there also wouldn’t be any legislative aides or spokespersons left … or hardly anybody in the Governor’s office for that matter.


  47. - Austin Blvd - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:46 pm:

    May as well have been written by I. M. Kooky. Mike Royko would have had fun with these IPI guys.


  48. - Wensicia - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:47 pm:

    The psychos have taken control of the Ivory Tower.


  49. - Bill White - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:48 pm:

    Serious question - who can the Governor fire or lay-off without the General Assembly passing legislation?

    Which departments?

    Teachers, for example, are employed by the various individual school districts.


  50. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:51 pm:

    So when exactly did The Onion purchase the Chicago Tribune? It must have been during the Sam Zell years.


  51. - Tired of it all - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:51 pm:

    - Anonymous - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:37 pm:

    Even if they could fire all the state workers, that still only “solves” what maybe a 1/4 of the problem. They certainly can’t fire the teachers or the University employees.

    Why can’t they fire the teachers or the University employees? If they think they can fire one…….they would think they could fire all.


  52. - Truthteller - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:51 pm:

    Rickert will no doubt be offered a position on the Tribune editorial board. Her intellectual depth is a good match for it.


  53. - SAP - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:52 pm:

    When Governor Rauner hired the cream of the IPI crop, we get this stuff.


  54. - anon. - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:52 pm:

    Too silly to be considered seriously.


  55. - Norseman - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:52 pm:

    Bill White, there are so many problems associated with this ignorant suggestion that the list would probably span a few pages. With the top being the logistics of replacing the employees who can function on day one.


  56. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:53 pm:

    == Even if they could fire all the state workers, that still only “solves” what maybe a 1/4 of the problem. ==

    Just about, Currently (2014 reports) SERS is 26% of the underfunding problem and TRS is 59%.


  57. - Macbeth - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:53 pm:


    Serious question - who can the Governor fire or lay-off without the General Assembly passing legislation?

    Why is anyone looking to fire anyone in the first place? How will “firing” anyone save any money — anywhere?

    It’s a politics of punishment — pure and simple. The GOP, IPI, and — I assume — Rauner is actively looking to hurt people — folks who had absolutely nothing to do with causing the problem in the first place.


  58. - Tournaround Agenda - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:55 pm:

    Rickert’s proposal would free up billions to expand the governor’s superstar team of former IPI talking heads and Laffer acolytes.


  59. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:55 pm:

    == Not necessarily. Lisa Madigan has had “success” upholding bogus discharges all the way up to the ISC. The aggrieved employee’s burden of pursuing a complaint while unemployed against the AG isn’t as easy as it sounds. ==

    It wouldn’t be onesie amd twosie cases that are hard to prove a pattern with, it would be certified as a class action suit with about 55,000 members.


  60. - Sage - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:55 pm:

    To all the public sector employees out there who are cheering the Supreme Court’s recent decision: Unfortunately for you, the decision leaves available only the most draconian of options — i.e., banktuptcies and/or mass layoffs. You’re going to wish you had the 2013 reform deal.


  61. - illinoised - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:57 pm:

    Rickert appears to have overdosed on Koch. Just say no!


  62. - Andy S. - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:57 pm:

    OK, I get it. Presumably the suggestion is to fire all state employees, and hire a different group of people in their place who have never worked for the state before, and give them Tier 2 (or the equivalent in terms of cost in the form of a 401k). At a minimum, this would entail the following problems:

    1) The state cannot fire teachers because they work for school districts, not the state, and most of them have tenure.

    2) I strongly doubt the state could fire tenured faculty in state universities.

    3) There are very likely civil service rules in place that prevent the firing of employees in state agencies other than for cause.

    4) Even if you could legally fire all state employees, the disruption to the economy would be much, much greater than what would be caused by the modest tax increases required to fund pensions, other contractual obligations, and a decent level of government services.

    So, in short, the proposal is nuts; however, is there anything that the extreme right has proposed recently that is not?


  63. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:58 pm:

    == There won’t be any unemployment burden, because there won’t be anybody left to send out the checks. ==

    The Feds might have something to say about that since I believe some of the people in Employment Security are at least partially funded by the Feds.


  64. - Norseman - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 4:58 pm:

    New definition for “sage wisdom,” and unintelligent comment about state government from an individual who has no clue.


  65. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:00 pm:

    - Sage -

    Bankruptcy is not an option for states.


  66. - Johnnie F. - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:00 pm:

    Fire us, and you fire the only group that actually made each and every pension payment.


  67. - Bill White - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:01 pm:

    @Norseman & @Macbeth

    Never underestimate the power of abject nihilism.

    There are plenty of cheerleaders for the “Sage” approach.


  68. - Cheryl44 - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:05 pm:

    I’d prefer to just fire Bruce


  69. - ArchPundit - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:05 pm:

    The article actually got worse after the bit Rich posted.


  70. - A guy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:06 pm:

    Absolutely. Not. Helping. This is an insane essay on it’s face. It’s not enough good enough to collect the droppings of the least proud canary.

    Ignore it. It deserves no better than to completely be discarded.

    Double Ugh.


  71. - A guy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:07 pm:

    It’s not good enough- not it’s not enough good enough- but it ain’t that either. Sorry!


  72. - Keyser Soze - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:07 pm:

    The Court’s ruling suggests that there are going to be layoffs. But, everybody?


  73. - relocated - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:08 pm:

    RNUG. Younare correct that state employees that are in programs funded by the feds have additional protections. Some of the DHS employees underwritten by the feds were not subject to the same furlough days as other employees. I’m not sure exactly how that played out.


  74. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:09 pm:

    Dear H&SGOP

    If the “GOP” Governor Bruce Rauner decides to think about this action, or touts its implementation, the ILGOP will die.

    If.

    My hope now is that Mike Z and Co. are smarter than Rickert, so it’s moot…

    … until Sonny like it …

    Dizzying, lol.


  75. - Sage - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:09 pm:

    RNUG — State law could permit municipalities to file for bankruptcy protection, with implications for police and fire pensions. Also, additional obligations could be shifted to municipalities, increasing the likelihood of bankruptcies. And, it’s not “my” preferred approach. I’m “just sayin’” that I think bankruptcies and layoffs are among the most likely consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision.


  76. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:12 pm:

    - Sage -

    ===…could…===

    Nope.


  77. - AnonymousOne - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:16 pm:

    I’m ashamed to share the present with one so dumb.


  78. - Facts are stubborn things - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:16 pm:

    What a tool!


  79. - Sage - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:17 pm:

    OW — I’m not sure what you’re objecting to. I’m referring to 11 U.S.C. 109(c).


  80. - Sangamo Sam - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:18 pm:

    ===So if changes can’t be made, here is what Gov. Bruce Rauner should do: Lay off the entire state workforce, and close the pension system. Work with the General Assembly to open a different retirement plan for newly hired government workers, modeled after the nation’s most popular retirement vehicle: the 401(k). Then offer to rehire state workers under the new retirement plan.===

    If Ms. Rickert had thought a moment perhaps she would have realized that the even Bruce Rauner can’t layoff the teachers.

    If the Tribune had thought for a moment perhaps they would have realized the same.

    If they read their own paper perhaps they would have noticed the relative size of TRS vs. SERS vs. SURS, etc.

    Maybe they should even come here now and then and learn a fact or two.

    Instead they ran this simple-minded drivel.

    The cover stories from my old copies of The Weekly World News are more rational.


  81. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:18 pm:

    “I repeat, as I have stated many times before, why would anyone want to go to work for the State of Illinois where they are being treated like disposable goods?”

    It’s in some ways better than the private sector, where many defined pensions have been ditched for 401(k)’s, and where unionization is much lower. Those contracts and that job security are pretty nice.

    The success of the pension lawsuit really is a great example of the value of unions to workers.

    It’s exactly what I’d expect the IPI to say. I’m not worried about them over there. They’ll survive tax increases pretty easily.


  82. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:19 pm:

    Illinois doesn’t have muni bankruptcy, that’s why the Owl Sandack is sponsoring a bill for it.


  83. - Mama - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:19 pm:

    “most popular retirement vehicle: the 401(k)” A 401K retirement plan might be the most popular with businesses but all workers prefer to have a pension.


  84. - Sage - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:20 pm:

    OW — Roger that. That’s why I said “could”. It would require authorizing legislation in Illinois.


  85. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:22 pm:

    - Sage -,

    Which is why I said “Nope”.

    There isn’t 30 or 60 votes for it. Not happening.


  86. - Soccermom - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:23 pm:

    Hey — Soccermom has the google, but
    a) she has work to do
    b) she is lazy

    So what percentage of the state workforce is employed by doc? And what could possibly go wrong if we laid off all the prison personnel?


  87. - Anon221 - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:23 pm:

    Per SAP:

    The cream has curdled!


  88. - Sage - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:25 pm:

    OW — Ultimately, what do you think will be more popular in the GA: Enacting massive tax increases to pay for our pension problem, or shifting responsibility to another unit of government? I would argue that legislation authorizing municipal bankruptcies, while not currently popular in the GA, will gain steam over time.


  89. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:26 pm:

    - relocated -

    Yes. Not just DHS, but positions in a lot of state agencies. In a lot of cases, the federal rules extend as far as third-party recipients of federal funding … and it takes some institutional knowledge to know where the lines are and what you can’t cross.


  90. - Wensicia - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:27 pm:

    ==And what could possibly go wrong if we laid off all the prison personnel?==

    No problem! Let the inmates run the asylum, there and in Springfield!!! — Diana


  91. - Enviro - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:28 pm:

    “…the ultimate outcome will be better than what’s ahead if the state does nothing.”

    Don’t panic. The state will do something. They (the General Assembly) will soon raise taxes to solve Illinois’ financial problems. The solution was always there right in front of us. We are a wealthy state. We can do this!!!


  92. - AC - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:28 pm:

    Following the actions of Rauner over the past few months, I think it is possible that he could attempt this madness suggested by the IPI. He isn’t constrained by what is practical or legal. It’s tough to believe, but I think that this very well may be attempted. While he couldn’t implement it at the local government or university level, he could attempt it at the state level. Sure, there would be a court injunction preventing the implementation of this plan, but it’s about standin’ up to the union bosses, the corrupt judges, and everyone else who is Rauner’s target.


  93. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:28 pm:

    - Sage -

    “It doesn’t matter what I believe, it only matter what I can get passed…”

    It’s highly unlikely, doubtful, this General Assembly that the Bill, the way the Owl Sandack has it, will pass.

    That won’t help FY2016 or FY2017.

    I appreciate the back and forth…


  94. - forwhatitsworth - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:29 pm:

    Could anybody tell me what planet Diana is from?


  95. - zonz - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:31 pm:

    QUESTIONS:
    What is the cause of her delusions and disconnection from reality?
    Where were their lawyers trained?

    Diana Sroka Rickert of the Illinois Policy Institute, writing in the Tribune…

    The state’s pension system is …


  96. - DPGumby - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:31 pm:

    The serious problem is that when a group that is supposed to be legitimate spouts uber bilge, it sets a hash mark as an extreme position…in this case so extreme that it may pull the center off center. As we know, what is considered the “center” today is much further to the right than the Center used to be–as evidenced by the end of the Moderate Republican and the dominance of the Repubs by the extreme Right wing.


  97. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:33 pm:

    - Sage -

    The much more likely outcome is going to be cost shifting and increased taxes at all levels.

    The minute the state allows Illinois municipalities a bankruptcy option is the same minute the entire Illinois government bond market crashes.

    The only reason bankruptcy gets talked about is everyone wants to negate the pension debt, and that move will NOT negate one penny of the current $103B (or so) TRS/SURS/SERS/JRS/GARS pension shortfall. If you can’t negate the debt, then why ruin the ability of the municipalities to borrow money?


  98. - archimedes - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:36 pm:

    The sentiment is so over the top. “If you earned a pension and aren’t going to give some of the money back - you’re fired.”


  99. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:36 pm:

    I was waitin’ for - RNUG - to clear for me his well reasoned thoughts.

    My choice would be simple; have - RNUG -, - AA -, and - steve schnorf - give me their options to make a choice.


  100. - Wordslinger - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:36 pm:

    I can’t figure out an objective in writing or publishing this silliness. What was the goal?


  101. - Cassandra - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:38 pm:

    We seem to be in the silly season with respect to pensions.

    As someone said on another thread: It’s over. Pay up.


  102. - fed up - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:39 pm:

    Then don’t publish their stuff, Rich. Unless they are paying you.


  103. - Steve - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:39 pm:

    No one says that the some (not all) of the state universities can’t be privatized. Once they are private: benefits are no longer accruing which gets rid of the some of the problem.


  104. - The Equalizer - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:39 pm:

    Her blather on twitter says “Fierce defender of the little guy.” Holy crap, Orwell really knew what he was talking about.


  105. - Anonymous - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:40 pm:

    The goal is to lay the groundwork in the public mind for the Rauner layoff of non-essential employees in July 1 when the union contract expires and there is no budget in place.


  106. - Macbeth - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:42 pm:


    What was the goal?

    The goal is punishment.

    In the absence of viable solutions — or negotiated solutions — the goal is simply to punish people who did nothing to cause the problem (and actually made the payments).


  107. - Soccermom - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:44 pm:

    Equalizer — I think in this case the “little guy” is that leprechaun that follows her around taunting her with his lucky charms….


  108. - Casual Observer - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:45 pm:

    I think the Governor has private businesses in place, ready to take over government functions as sections are laid off. Many are former state employees that have institutional knowledge and promise to do the same work at a cheaper rate…and no union workers. He just needs the GA to give him a budget that allows him to re-direct money from agencies to private business for the same function.


  109. - forwhatitsworth - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:47 pm:

    === To all the public sector employees out there who are cheering the Supreme Court’s recent decision: Unfortunately for you, the decision leaves available only the most draconian of options — i.e., banktuptcies and/or mass layoffs. You’re going to wish you had the 2013 reform deal. ===
    It’s easy to see that the Jim Jones legacy has grabbed another victim … off to Guyana!


  110. - Wensicia - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:47 pm:

    @CO — You’re as delusional as Rickert and her sponsors.


  111. - AnonymousOne - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:48 pm:

    All the moaning about increased taxes. Did we not just have a 5% tax rate recently? Were people driven out of their homes to pay for that? Tax increases, if they had happened all along (to pay for every new program) would never have created the theft from the pension funds resulting with the debt we have. Wise up! People have to actually pay for things –to include services! Public has been skating by cheaply on pension fund money.


  112. - Soccermom - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:51 pm:

    “He just needs the GA to give him a budget that allows him to re-direct money from agencies to private business for the same function.”

    And a pony…


  113. - Wordslinger - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:53 pm:

    CO, where is Rauner hiding this shadow government that’s all set to go? Down in the Dome’s Chamber of Secrets with Squeezy?


  114. - Casual Observer - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:53 pm:

    Sorry Wensicia but privatize has been this Governors business model for the state since before announcing to run.


  115. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 5:55 pm:

    I haveta be missin’ somethin’…

    “Who” thinks the GA is going to “give” Governor Rauner anything…100% …the way Rauner wants? Especially after the FY2015 misunderstood “fix”…

    … Owls…


  116. - Casual Observer - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:01 pm:

    Ok, nobody likes my theory. I don’t either. But I was close enough to see the likes of Deloitte and others making sales pitches about how they can do things more efficient and cheaper. They never did, but had a sales pitch that is in a language that the Governor loves to hear.


  117. - Huh? - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:07 pm:

    “Where did Diana Sroka Rickert get her education. I want to send the State Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education into these organizations to check on the quality of their teachers. Clearly, Rickert didn’t learn anything in these institutions.”

    I beg to differ about the education of Ms. Rickert. This idea is so stupid that only an intellectual could have thought of it.


  118. - MrJM - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:07 pm:

    Well, this certainly answers one question — there is no anti-labor twaddle that too imbecilic for publication in the once-proud Chicago Tribune.

    – MrJM


  119. - Elo Kiddies - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:10 pm:

    In case anyone hasn’t noticed, IPI exists to push discussion to the right, to say things that are so extremely crazy that other people who are less crazy can appear to be less extreme. Anonymous 5:40 is correct. This is about legitimizing a lock out of certain state employees when there is no budget on July 1.


  120. - Soccermom - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:10 pm:

    MrJM, I think you may suffer from misplace nostalgia…

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-29/site/ct-per-flash-simplespelling-0229-20120129_1_spelling-texting-tribune


  121. - Huh? - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:10 pm:

    “I think the Governor has private businesses in place, ready to take over government functions as sections are laid off.”

    This would have to go through the procurement process. And if it were true, it would be all over the news that no bid contracts were being handed out to ruiner’s crony pals.


  122. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:11 pm:

    - Oswego Willy -

    Right now the choice would be “keep what you got” … and I can’t see that changing for the average state employee.

    Here are some of my reasons:

    a) It’s a defined benefit plan

    b) it has inflation protection

    c) it provides a defined survivor benefit

    d) pension funds are invested by a group of professionals and the risk is spread across a lot of investments, something the average person with a 401K can’t or won’t be able to do


  123. - Ex-Rutan-exempt - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:16 pm:

    CO, I’ve wondered about this too, not that I necessarily think it will happen. But there are plenty of underemployed attorneys working for temp agencies who would probably be happy to do a lot of state work for $25/hr. or so and no benefits or job security. I heard DHS tried this before and it didn’t work but that doesn’t mean it won’t be tried again.


  124. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:17 pm:

    - RNUG -,

    Thanks as always.

    I “figured” a 7-0 decision is pretty firm, but…


  125. - Casual Observer - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:18 pm:

    I just think the Governors plan is to privatize where he can, when he can, piece by piece. That’s how you reward corporate buddies and get people off state payrolls.


  126. - ClumsyTuna - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:23 pm:

    Anyone check out her Twitter posts? She’s also advocating that LaHood isn’t conservative. She’s a little distorted.


  127. - JoanP - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:25 pm:

    @MrJM -

    “Once proud” Trib? When I was a kid, my dad wouldn’t let the Trib in the house, so far right were its politics.


  128. - DuPage - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:32 pm:

    @Steve 5:39 =No one says that the some (not all) of the state universities can’t be privatized.=

    That wouldn’t save that much, because then the employees would be under social security. The employer (universities) would have to pay almost 7% social security. Also, a lot of their best people would go to some other state to teach.


  129. - Qui Tam - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:34 pm:

    OW -
    =So, hundreds and hundreds of state employees will be fired, for cause, in real time immediacy, and the courts will see this as a coincidence, unrelated to fiscal?

    “Worth a shot…” =

    Unfortunately, that approach is taken and defended by the state more often that you might think. Once fired the burden is on the (now unemployed) person to prove that the state broke
    a law. An expensive, time consuming, and uncertain undertaking.
    A sickening example of the “AG’s advocacy”.


  130. - mythoughtis - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:35 pm:

    Add in the fact that he can’t fire the other Constitutional officer’s employees. Not likely going to get good results from firing the State Police since he can then only hire people who have been thru the Illinois State Police Academy.

    He’d still owe unemployment even if there was no one here to pay it.

    This should get him laughed at, something I can’t imagine he’d really enjoy.


  131. - AnonymousOne - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:39 pm:

    ==a lot of their best people would go to some other state to teach==

    I’m hoping that is happening right now, not just at the upper levels. No one needs to be treated like this. To have to hide what you do for a living, lest you be attacked ……..no.

    In what other profession?


  132. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 6:41 pm:

    - Qui Tam -,

    If all employees are laid off, and then systematically rehired, odds are, the case that probable cause isn’t at play is also probably pretty good.

    This idea is dorm room thinking gone amok, “touted” by a newspaper, back stopped by a “think tank”.

    Comically tragic


  133. - mythoughtis - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:02 pm:

    Thought number 2–

    If you just watched every state worker get fired (or at least one agency at a time), would YOU apply to work at the state? There are tens of thousands of state employees, can you really replace all of them in a timely manner? It takes forever for the state to post and fill one job at a time now.

    I’m an IT professional. You can’t just fire every single one, bring in a new crew… and think things are going to go well. It takes a long time for a new IT employee to do well, even if they have lots of skills in the profession. They still need to learn what the agency in question does. Throwing it to a bunch of contractors isn’t going to cut it. I call your attention to the first year of the Obamacare Websites.

    As OW says, if you hire the fired ones back, then you obviously fired them without cause.


  134. - Anonymous - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:20 pm:

    Hunt them down! Find them all! Brand a big FSE on their forehead for Former State Employee. Send them all to prison. Put them “in the hole” with an insurance salesman and/or venture capitalist. That should rehabilitate them to be workers at Wal-Mart or McDonalds - or if there are no more minimum wage jobs in Illinois at Wal-Mart or McDonalds - ship them to Texas by cattle car, where there are plenty of minimum wage jobs. Hire all new state employees at minumum wage with no benefits. In fact, indenture these new state employees so that they have to work for the state the rest of their lives and still never pay off the State for the opportunity they were given to work for the State. Make their children take their place if they die.


  135. - walker - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:30 pm:

    No doubt Rauner will try to use this as a threat, until he realizes he’s being laughed out of the room. This kind of drastic “restructure” is how he made his money in the private sector. There is no “not to be diminished” or “pension contract protection” clauses in the US Constitution.

    How does one ==”close the pension systems”== without paying off the current liability? Just asking.

    Never underestimate these ideologues, no matter how illegal or unworkable their ideas appear to be. They are funded by billionaires nationally, who pay big money to groups of attorneys figuring out schemes to bust unions and eliminate pensions.


  136. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:31 pm:

    IPI… Bought and paid for by Bruce Rayner… to make him look like the moderate.


  137. - zonz - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:46 pm:

    To figure out the plans of the oligarchs (and theocrats too, I guess), just looks at the plays called over the last several years by

    *A* loonies at IPI and the other orgs of the State Policy Network which comprises 59 affiliated think-tank organizations, including at least one in every state
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Policy_Network

    *B* the OTHER “liberty-based” public policy and “watchdog” groups like The Mercatus Center, Heritage Foundation, etc, etc, including Illinois’ own Heartland Institute, “the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.”

    *C* ALEC – American Legislative Exchange Council (http://www.alec.org/initiatives/)
    and,

    *D* the loony governors, e.g.,
    LA Gov. Piyush “Bobby” Jindal
    FL Gov. Richard “Rick” Lynn Scott
    MI Gov. Richard Dale “Rick” Snyder
    ex-PA Gov. Thomas Wingett “Tom” Corbett, Jr.
    NC Gov. Patrick Lloyd “Pat” McCrory

    =====> These folks are all chanting from the same prayer book.


  138. - lost in the weeds - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:48 pm:

    Why hire them back? CLOSE THE STATE!!!


  139. - Wow - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:51 pm:

    let that lady work in the prisons when we get laid off. She must be Rauners sister or a rocket scientist


  140. - Wordslinger - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:58 pm:

    If anyone at IPI had previously exhibited a sense of humor, you could make the case the piece was satire. It totally works as satire.

    Besides the ludicrous main proposal, there are goofy digressions into punch clocks, welfare recipients as interns, and a bottled water scandal (strangely, nothing about that missing quart of strawberries).

    Actually, you could make the case that the Trib editorial page is meant as satire. On Friday, they editorialized on the Supremes decision when they clearly had not read it (missing that whole road map thingy).

    That’s meant to be funny, right?


  141. - A Jack - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:02 pm:

    Sixty thousand newly unemployed people. Not really good for the economy. So then you still have to pay the pensions owed, plus unemployment, plus the training cost of the new workforce, plus beef up security since likely some of those sixty thousand might be a bit peeved.


  142. - DuPage Dave - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:13 pm:

    The IPI proposal is clearly insane but I’m surprised people are taking the bait here and treating it seriously.

    But what is even more clear is the extremely radical anti-worker mindset of the Governor. I did not suspect him of being honest on the campaign trail, but the vehemence of his views surprised me. To hold all budget deals hostage to his blame-the-workers approach is astonishing, really.


  143. - danray - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:13 pm:

    The IPI. Lol at anything they release. How do they even exist?


  144. - lost in the weeds - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:17 pm:

    SECEDE FROM THE UNION!!!


  145. - steve schnorf - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:25 pm:

    I think when we spend our time reacting to drivel
    like this, we miss out on very important things that are happening and that we should be fighting back against, like the US armed forces taking over Texas.


  146. - nothin's easy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:34 pm:

    The model the IPI puts forth is Caterpillar circa 1992.


  147. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:39 pm:

    Lol Schnorf. Thanks for keeping us focused.

    The IPI is going to have to get a stretch clown car to drive all their goofy staff around.


  148. - Wordslinger - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:42 pm:

    Schnorf, perhaps we could ease Gov. Abbott and Sen. Cruz’s concerns of imminent invasion by offering to take off Texas’ hands the couple dozen U.S. military bases and the defense aerospace and aviation industries steered there over the years by the likes of Sam Rayburn, LBJ, John Tower, Jim Wright, etc.

    If it will help them sleep better at night, we’ll take those big federal government payrolls.


  149. - AnonymousOne - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:50 pm:

    It is insane drivel. However, there are plenty of gullible people out there who actually do believe everything they read or hear(especially if it resonates with their personal situation) When an organization with a label puts out a statement, there are some who take it as fact. Look at the spin on pensions blasted on billboards along the highways, the so-called editorials in the Trib, etc. These distortions are bought by those who have access to them with their money. First out of the gate gets the attention and so many bought the fallacy that pension benefits were to blame for this debt. It’s hard to unring the bell that so many heard. So yes, IPI is a joke but some won’t get that memo. And some buy into any hatred that’s out there too.


  150. - Fed up and retired - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:52 pm:

    S S - Thanks for the laugh. I really needed it.


  151. - RNUG - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 8:57 pm:

    == SECEDE FROM THE UNION!!! ==

    Darn, now you’ve gone and given away the secret plan!


  152. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:06 pm:

    If you talk to a Texan, they’ll tell you it’s part of Texas’ plan to take over ‘Merica…


  153. - MrJM - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:14 pm:

    I was thinking of those ten glorious years when the Tribune featured “The Far Side” AND “Calvin and Hobbes”…

    – MrJM


  154. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:20 pm:

    As Carl Reiner’s mom said in “When Harry Met Sally”, I’ll have what she’s having. I have now decided that to accompany the semi load of popcorn I ordered, there may need to be some ale and spirits included. You can’t make this crap up - someone should sell tickets.


  155. - Obama's Puppy - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:23 pm:

    What’s frightening is that the Trib is so desperate to throw families and kids under the bus just so that the tax rate remains at 3.75%. Another new low.


  156. - Riot on Sunset Strip - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:23 pm:

    Word: That invasion is real. Martial law is coming. The Marxists have come to far to turn back now. Your beloved Tribune won’t be able to help you when Obama’s Army throws you In a cage.


  157. - Calhoun Native - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:31 pm:

    Riot: Are you on the Trib’s editorial board?


  158. - Minnow - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:39 pm:

    *Walker @ 7:30* There is no “not to be diminished” or “pension contract protection” clauses in the US Constitution.

    Doesn’t Article 1 Section 10 of the US Constitution deal with contracts by states?


  159. - Anonymous - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:44 pm:

    - zonz - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 7:46 pm:

    This has nothing to do with climate change. People like you are why I don’t like either party.


  160. - bullet - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:53 pm:

    hey rich, i never hear your plan to fix the
    pension problem,.
    just knocks on anyone’s thoughts.


  161. - Anonymous - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:54 pm:

    Anybody want to call here is the number
    Diana Rickert

    Vice President of Communications
    diana@illinoispolicy.org
    T+ 312.346.5700 x214 M+ 312.607.4977


  162. - XDNR - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:07 pm:

    What’s all the talk about privatization? This imbecile has now made IPI totally irrelevant (as if they weren’t before)! Case closed.


  163. - Anonymous - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:09 pm:

    - bullet - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 9:53 pm:

    hey rich, i never hear your plan to fix the
    pension problem,.
    just knocks on anyone’s thoughts.

    Rauner, why are you knocking Rich, I think that he stated previously that they need to pay their bills, case closed.


  164. - Illinois Manufacturer - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:13 pm:

    Get ready for more of the Ayn Randian nihilism this summer at some point the GA will have to show some leadership probably at the time none of the schools or universities wont open in the fall or the prison guards get locked out or all our federal money is put on hold …….


  165. - Property of IDOC - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:22 pm:

    Anon.one@8:50 is correct, & walker @ 7:30. He is trying to prep the uninformed public, so when he moves forward(even attempting to replace small departments) he will have support from them. Most private sector folks really don’t care (as long as whatever happens doesn’t change their day) and some truly believe the far right media, just ask somebody in line at the grocery store. Rauner will try to hit us the hardest, come July. I wish we did’nt have to constantly worry about our jobs…I love mine, am good at it and proud of that.


  166. - Robert the 1st - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:36 pm:

    “hey rich, i never hear your plan to fix the
    pension problem,.” Someone might be able to correct me, but I’m under the impression Miller believes we should hike taxes and pay out pensions as is. Oh, and let me go ahead and call you a “dope” to save OW and wordslinger the trouble. Diversity of thought isn’t popular here.


  167. - Quizzical - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:56 pm:

    If the State’s Visa balance is too high, we can’t just get an Amex and forget about the Visa bill. Put aside the 5-15 years of institutional chaos that would ensue if you fire all the State employees, we would still be on the hook for two credit card bills.


  168. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:56 pm:

    ==The IPI proposal is clearly insane but I’m surprised people are taking the bait here and treating it seriously. ==

    If “insane” things weren’t actually happening here and in other states, I suppose we could all rest easy.


  169. - Illinois Manufacturer - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:58 pm:

    These are the facts Illinois is higher than some of its neighbors on property taxes and that is about it. We need some work on Workers comp and maybe unemployment . I say some not bottom of the barrel Indian maybe just closer to Iowa. Our state taxes are about as low as can be imagined for a state without oil revenues and a crappy return on federal taxes especially on Medicaid . We have some great assets we don’t count right like the toll authority . We have been able to use great returns on the pensions to cover for our low taxes . We need to go to 4.75 or 5 again . If we wont go to the mildest progressive system in the nation I guess we could vote in the Madigan millionaires tax and provide a little more for schools and a little prop tax relief . Then we can do a gimmick or 2 to fund a capitol bill maybe a small one. The rest is crazy ideology which will take us off a cliff


  170. - Madison - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 11:28 pm:

    Robert those comments are not those of a gentleman or a scholar for that matter. We share strong opinions here; that is the essence of a vigorous debate forum.
    Add value Robert.


  171. - lost in the weeds - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 11:53 pm:

    Now I see the light

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/12/1063889/-The-Illinois-Policy-Institute-now-I-see-the-light


  172. - lost in the weeds - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 12:00 am:

    Don’t like the law or the process of existing constitutional law then get rid of the Constitution.

    One in four Americans want their states to secede.

    http://blogs.reuters.com/jamesrgaines/2014/09/19/one-in-four-americans-want-their-state-to-secede-from-the-u-s-but-why/


  173. - Jorge - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 12:56 am:

    This article is why I’m working to fire all billionaires and their cronies.


  174. - Newsclown - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 1:28 am:

    I laughed so hard I had to get my medicine before typing… Since it’s suddenly a full moon, I’m going to go on record first as predicting Rauner doesn’t finish this first term, but is instead impeached, as he is clearly signalling a confrontation with JCAR is in the offing later this summer.


  175. - Just Me - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 1:47 am:

    Let’s just fire all the State Troopers, Correctional Officers, and Parole Officers effective immediately! We’ll hire new people to do those jobs the day after and they can start work immediately.

    Geesh, how do people like this get employed in the first place?


  176. - olIllinois - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 3:16 am:

    How many state workers would choose not to get hired back, and just collect unemployment? I would.


  177. - Crispy Critter - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 5:43 am:

    How about all the public choose to NOT pay taxes? Then Illinois would be on us all saying we have to pay what is owed. Yet they don’t want to pay what they owe.


  178. - Skeptical - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 7:39 am:

    =Rickert will no doubt be offered a position on the Tribune editorial board. Her intellectual depth is a good match for it.=

    Or, conversely, maybe Rauner will offer her a plum position on his “Best & Brightest” team…


  179. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 7:56 am:

    Here is a point which I haven’t found made yet:

    Imagine if we lived somewhere that empowered a single person at the top of their government to remove everyone from working for that government if they felt it was too expensive to keep them employed. Isn’t that what this idiot is suggesting?

    What businesses would want to locate there? Who would want to relocate their businesses to a state ran by a dictator/governor? Who would want to risk their entire business by locating where a single individual can override contract laws, union laws, constitutional laws and standard business laws?

    What is Rickert’s point again?

    No one does what is being suggested here - anywhere in the world, at any time. Even the most primitive societies were smart enough to ensure some kind of intelligent government that isn’t entirely dependent upon a single individual.

    Consequently, this is the dumbest, most ridiculous idea ever printed in the Chicago Tribune. It would embarrass a communist government. Fidel Castro would think we’re nuts.

    Just how far removed from all semblance of reality has these people gone? What are they thinking they would accomplish by putting all employment powers within a single dictator/governor?

    That is some kind of obsessive hatred towards government, citizens, and society reflected in this suggestion. We are to throw away every kind of law that makes us a democracy, in order to pay bills that are due in the future?

    What kind of salute to democracy are we seeing here? What kind of confidence in how we govern? What kind of promise do idiots like this see in our future, when they believe we need to throw everything we have away, every heritage, every constitutional law - to create a dictatorship like this?

    The Illinois Policy Institute sounds like it is filled with people who are too stupid to know anything about our history or culture to want to preserve how it came to be.


  180. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 8:09 am:

    Just when I didn’t think things could possibly get worse for the editorial pages of the Chicago Tribune.

    I remember when they used to have an editorial page editor who was responsible for getting stuff before it was published.

    They are acting like petulant children. If they just hold their breath and stomp their feet enough, perhaps all of the unions, the Democratic Party, and even the Constitution will go away.

    We need adults in the public policy discussion, and instead we have finger pointers, tantrum throwers, and global warming deniers.


  181. - Johnnie F. - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 8:55 am:

    Property of IDOC - Monday, May 11, 15 @ 10:22 pm:

    “Most private sector folks really don’t care (as long as whatever happens doesn’t change their day) and some truly believe the far right media, just ask somebody in line at the grocery store.”

    Somewhat agree, but then ask the follow up questions of whether they know who their State Representative and Congressman are and whether they are a registered voter….Doh!


  182. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 9:49 am:

    Not only would you have workers fired up, those who rely on state support would probably burn down chicago. State police and national guard would be fired!


  183. - jimk849 - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 10:27 am:

    Now you know why Women make 70% of what Men do.


  184. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 12:33 pm:

    - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 8:09 am:

    This has nothing to do with global warming.

    You lost me in that one.


  185. - Lee R. Talley - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 2:47 pm:

    Wow! I wonder if the Chicago Tribune newspaper realizes how much credibility they lose when publishing this nonsense. I’d love to be in the newsroom to see the reaction of the professional reporters to this type of “journalism.”

    What I find interesting is that the Illinois Policy Institute declares itself a 501-C non-profit — a tax-free entity. So they’re not paying taxes either. I guess if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.


  186. - Eric Zorn - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 5:54 pm:

    So we also published this: “Firing-rehiring state worker idea is not possible, not legal, not practical, not fair and not economical.” http://trib.in/1zXsZtx


  187. - Midway Gardens - Tuesday, May 12, 15 @ 7:05 pm:

    Fire / rehire doesn’t work. But does outsourcing / privatization? Seems like this would be something the administration would be pushing harder if viable. Just trying to understand.


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