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Jim Edgar still isn’t going away

Friday, Oct 30, 2015

* Tribune

The Sunday Spin: On this week’s show, airing from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on WGN (AM-720) and wgnradio.com, Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests are… former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar, who marks the 25th anniversary of his first election as governor on Nov. 1.

You don’t have to wake up that early on Sunday to listen because they’ll eventually post it on their website. Should be interesting.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

40 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:00 am:

    I’d buy Governor Edgar a bottle if his favorite “beverage” but we all know that isn’t an option…

    I’d buy Governor Edgar Cannoli, but, health, I don’t want to cause problems.

    I’m just glad Gov. Edgar “ain’t goin’ anywhere”

    With Jim Edgar on Bruce Rauner, all day… all day!


  2. - ISP Retired - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:02 am:

    Please ask him about his pension ramp where he didn’t want to put much into pensions during his term , but those after would have to put in more to make up for it. Also ask about him picking up 4% of the employees pension contributions instead of COLAS , but didn’t put the 4% into pensions thus making things even worse today.


  3. - cdog - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:05 am:

    Maybe ask him about the past successes of supply-side economics. /s

    He will probably be truthful and say there are none.


  4. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:05 am:

    “Ask Jim Edgar about all those years when he didn’t paint the house…”

    “Uhh… right now we’re talking about the fact that the house is currently on fire.”

    “ASK EDGAR ABOUT THE PAINT!!!”

    – MrJM


  5. - PublicServant - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:11 am:

    @ISP Retired - If you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger huh?


  6. - Anonin' - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:11 am:

    But post Halloween, post time change just stay up it will be a blast…it is very nice to see Capt Fax hype Rick’s show.
    Does this mean a fever has set in?
    Did our suggestion to jump naked into the lake work that well?


  7. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    Please ask him about his pension ramp where he didn’t want to put much into pensions during his term , but those after would have to put in more to make up for it.

    What part of a “ramp” do you not get? If he did what you claim he didn’t want to do - it wouldn’t have been a RAMP! It would have been a WALL no one would have been willing or able to get over.

    What happened is the following governors decided to stop RAMPING UP the payments as designed, causing the system to build the WALL the RAMP was designed to avoid.

    This resulted in a WALL, instead of a RAMP. Now, we have an even higher WALL with NO RAMPS.

    So go ahead and ask Edgar about his RAMP, but keep in mind what the hell a RAMP is!


  8. - Blue dog dem - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:17 am:

    Nicely said Vanilla!


  9. - JS Mill - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:26 am:

    The “ramp” is a problem. But if you go to Wikipedia and find a list of Illinois Governor’s you can attack pretty much everyone of the since 1920, for underfunding the pension except Quinn (seriously, I cannot believe it but it is true).

    An incredible number of people had a hand in under funding the pension and actions that made the problem worse. It would be more productive to look for solutions.

    The only one Rauner really likes is eliminating your pension and putting you into a 401k so some fund manager can make eight figure bonuses while he gambles away your earnings on what is essentially a flaming bag of dog doo.


  10. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:30 am:

    The “Edgar ramp” is like a dinner out.

    He leaves the tip. The grandkids pick up the check, whether they expected to or not.


  11. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:33 am:

    It’s amazing to me how Edgar has gotten such a free pass from the media for his tenure.


  12. - PublicServant - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    Hang in there, Jim


  13. - VanillaMan - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    whether they expected to or not.

    What is it about a RAMP do you not understand? Did you skip fourth grade? It was one of those simple machines taught in science class back then.

    HERE -
    An inclined plane, also known as a ramp, is a flat supporting surface tilted at an angle, with one end higher than the other, used as an aid for raising or lowering a load.

    The inclined plane is one of the six classical simple machines defined by Renaissance scientists. Inclined planes are widely used to move heavy loads over vertical obstacles; examples vary from a ramp used to load goods into a truck, to a person walking up a pedestrian ramp, to an automobile or railroad train climbing a grade.

    Before criticizing the EDGAR RAMP, please study what a RAMP is and why they are used.

    Moving an object up an inclined plane requires less force than lifting it straight up, at a cost of an increase in the distance moved.[4] The mechanical advantage of an inclined plane, the factor by which the force is reduced, is equal to the ratio of the length of the sloped surface to the height it spans.[5] Due to conservation of energy, the same amount of mechanical energy (work) is required to lift a given object by a given vertical distance, disregarding losses from friction, but the inclined plane allows the same work to be done with a smaller force exerted over a greater distance. - Wikipedia

    A


  14. - Rollo Tamasi - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:43 am:

    In this case the good old days were the…

    “Good Old Days.”


  15. - Norseman - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    Willy, about a new HBO special - “Attack of the Raunerbots.” A popular former governor is besieged by crazy people after providing advice to their leader. I’m sure you could beef up the script a little bit.


  16. - Juvenal - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    Rich -

    Why would Jim Edgar go away?

    The IPI is running paid ads on Facebook attacking him.

    I imagine between the cuts and downgrades at EIU and Governor Edgar, Senator Righter must be pretty miserable right now.


  17. - Team Sleep - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    Here’s the problem with attacking the ramp:

    A lot of public programs are like that. Someone starts the ball - or, in this case, program - rolling. Eventually, cost controls or reforms need to happen.

    Medicare is a prime example of this. Premiums for Medicare Part B and most Medicare Part D plans have actually DECREASED over the last few years. How’s that even actuarially sound?! It’s not - and it’s going to cost us dearly. While millions of seniors go onto Medicare every year and help add to the payer pool, the overall costs don’t decrease. Instead, they steeply increase. And, if Medicare’s even solvent in 10 years, who’s gonna pay for it?! Most likely younger workers through payroll or contractual estimated withholdings and eventual beneficiaries with markedly more expensive monthly premiums, deductibles and copayments.

    So yes, you can blame Governor Edgar for the ramp itself. But there have been four governors since him - and he hasn’t been in office for almost TWO DECADES.


  18. - Hans Sprungfeld - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    It is a lot easier to be governor in Illinois when the checkbook is flush, and there is room to mortgage the future.

    One wonders how “successful” and “popular” Edgar would be if he was governor today.


  19. - Phenomynous - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 10:58 am:

    VM, you should take a chill pill. Your own explanation of a “ramp” designates it as a “flat supporting surface tilted at an angle”. The Edgar Ramp doesn’t fall into that definition. The Edgar Ramp purposefully kept payments low for about 15 years and then ramped rapidly and is now leveling out.

    PA 88-593 (The Edgar Ramp) implemented a funding plan to make state contributions a level percent of payroll starting in 2011 and ending in 2045, with a phase in period starting in 1996.

    The Edgar Ramp was a giant kick of the can. To Quinn’s credit, he took it head on. But let’s not pretend that Edgar iid blameless. He masterfully delayed the pension problem for a much later date, with a long term cost in the billions. That ramp was basically a wall which the state is straddling on and about to fall off of.


  20. - Gales Burger - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    =One wonders how “successful” and “popular” Edgar would be if he was governor today. =

    He’s already more popular than our current “Governor.” Although, to be fair, if Rauner ever starts governin’ he might actually become more popular than Edgar. Nahhhh!


  21. - nixit71 - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    @VanillaMan - That ramp probably looked pretty doable back in 1994, considering the stock market averaged about double-digit returns the 10 years or so prior.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 11:26 am:

    - Norseman -,

    That’s a good idea. The merchandising of action figures alone is worth tens of millions… in theory.

    We can work on a treatment together if you’d like…


  23. - Columbo - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    Juvenal -

    You would be right to assume Sen. Righter is miserable, but I wonder. I was over in Charleston a few weeks ago for a Senate hearing, and Righter’s line of questioning to the new EIU president seemed almost prosecutorial to me. I thought to myself “would he ask those same questions of his largest private employer?” What exactly is in the Kool-Aid these folks are drinking? Sheesh.


  24. - Skeptic - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 11:37 am:

    Ramps can be curved and still be ramps, although VM’s definition does not state that.


  25. - Arizona Bob - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 11:46 am:

    Can anyone remember Edgar speaking out under the Ryan, Blago, and Quinn Capo regimes castigating them for pushing the pension obligations down the road and not following the “ramp” he designed? I sure can’t…

    I guess at that time he was only concerned with keeping his ridiculously overpriced “lecturer” job at U of I and didn’t want to rock the boat and lose his patronage gig.

    BTW, I believe they will NOT be taking phone calls during this radio show.


  26. - Levois - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:01 pm:

    What if Edgar ran for Governor again and won instead of good ole Bruce?


  27. - Lane Tech Lenny - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:24 pm:

    Well said Levois. Edger was and is well thought of in most Chicago Wards. He won Cook County in 1994.
    Many Democratic Ward Organizations worked openly for him.


  28. - steve schnorf - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    Ph, I wish you knew what you were talking about so you could actually explain rather than confuse


  29. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:52 pm:

    For all you actuaries and investment experts criticizing the “Edgar Ramp,” consider:
    1) Before the 1995 law, there was no funding program or discipline at all. The law brought that, and a continuing appropriation requirement.
    2) The 1995 ramp was severely altered by Blago/Filan’s 2005 pension holiday law which extended the ramp period 5 more years and which extremely backloaded contributions into those final five years.
    3) The ramp “moves” as investment returns and actuarial changes are taken into account. No one ever expected the schedule of payments set forth in 1995 to be the final schedule.

    If any of you have a better idea that costs less money and doesn’t affect benefits, offer it up. Good luck with that.


  30. - In a Minute - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:54 pm:

    I recall reading some time ago that Jim Edgar received a pension of approx. $170k per year. The pension benefits Edgar receives are certainly not the cause of the woeful funding problems, but it is a high profile symptom of it. Providing a public pension benefit of that amount to anyone is simply absurd and an abuse of the fiduciary duty to taxpayers and other beneficiaries who receive more modest benefits.
    Oh yes, right the Illinois Constitution. Well, change the Illinois Constitution and put in place retirement benefit plans for public employees that more closely resemble the private sector.


  31. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:56 pm:

    What does the former Gov suggest? Should we just ==update== the pension ramp and follow his lead? Instead of paying $7.6 bln, we will just pay $1 bln this year. We will keep those payments low while Rauner is in office.

    Then, decades from now, when Rauner is long gone and everyone praises him for his budget acumen, the ==real== payments will begin.

    Edgar should support it, right? No one has to raise taxes, and no one has to cut anything, either. We all ==win==. Except the retirees, of course. But that becomes someone else’s problem. /s Sheesh.


  32. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:58 pm:

    ==“Uhh… right now we’re talking about the fact that the house is currently on fire.”

    “ASK EDGAR ABOUT THE PAINT!!!”==

    Or why he consciously left the stove on while leaving the house?


  33. - steve schnorf - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 12:59 pm:

    IaM, it’s easy to pick out outliers to suggest a point. It takes looking at medians and means to prove it, if your point is that pension payments to Illinois’ employees are too high.


  34. - dogbreath - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 1:49 pm:

    Jim we dont really have a governor right now. Maybe we can call you back from retirement on contract?


  35. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 2:20 pm:

    Oswego Willy
    “I’d buy Governor Edgar a bottle if his favorite “beverage””

    I think the only place you’d get a “bottle” of skim milk is from Oberweis Dairy. Just sayin’


  36. - JS Mill - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 2:48 pm:

    =If any of you have a better idea that costs less money and doesn’t affect benefits, offer it up. Good luck with that.=

    With respect, you are one of my favorite posters here but, as an alternative plan we could have raised enough revenue to pay the bill and not been in the position we are in now. That would have been the best plan, and was doable fiscally in 1995. The exponential explosion of the pension debt that followed now requires a re amortization AND revenue.

    Again, with respect.


  37. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 3:38 pm:

    In fairness, this is on the GA since 2003 as well as Gov Edgar. Charlie Wheeler explained in 2010

    ==But the 1995 plan also was seriously flawed. Contribution levels were set too low in its early years to cover the costs of benefits earned each year plus interest on the unfunded liability, the sum needed just to maintain the status quo. Under its funding schedule, the deficit is projected to continue to grow until topping out at $150 billion in 2031, before dropping to $35 billion in 2045, when the systems would be 90 percent funded.==

    ==A $10 billion bond sale in 2003 was used to cover a portion of the 2003 and all of the 2004 contributions under the 1995 law. Two years later, the governor and legislature rewrote the 1995 law to cut some $2.3 billion from required contributions in FY 2006 and FY 2007, and last year Gov. Pat Quinn and lawmakers agreed to sell $3.5 billion in pension notes to cover FY 2010 contributions.==


  38. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 3:46 pm:

    Ralph Martire also explained it in Crain’s five months ago

    ==Was there a pivotal moment among all the decisions—or nondecisions—of the past couple of decades where we could have reversed course but didn’t?

    There were many moments, but two stand out. The first was when Gov. Jim Edgar signed into law the initial “pension funding ramp” in fiscal 1995. Back then, the aggregate unfunded liability across all five state pension systems was $17 billion. If decision-makers had opted to fund the systems to healthy levels over the next 30 years using sound actuarial practices and a level dollar payment schedule, they could have saved taxpayers hundreds of billions in principal and interest payments.

    That would have required actually addressing the already long-standing structural imbalance between revenue growth and service cost growth. Even back then, the state’s poorly designed and antiquated revenue system couldn’t sustain existing service levels. And that created a real problem for politicians, since $9 out of $10 the state spends on services goes to education, health care, social services and public safety. So politicians chose to avoid undesirable service cuts and tax increases by simply writing $17 billion worth of IOUs to the pension systems.

    Then they compounded the problem by passing a 50-year “pension funding ramp” in fiscal 1995 that created an amortization schedule so back-loaded it looked like a ski slope—with annual payments ballooning to the $16 billion range. For the first 15 years following its enactment, the pension funding ramp actually codified borrowing against the pensions to pay for services, ballooning the unfunded liability from $17 billion in fiscal 1995 to around $54 billion in 2008—when the Great Recession hit and financial markets crashed.==


  39. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 4:38 pm:

    Formerly Know As -
    As Judy Baar Topinka noted in the State’s CAFRs for FYs 2009, 2010, and 2011, the underpayments for FY 2006 and 2007 were made up, with interest. PDF page 16, page # page 6.
    http://ledger.illinoiscomptroller.com/ledger/assets/File/CAFR/CAFR%202011.pdf#page=1&zoom=auto,-150,792


  40. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Oct 30, 15 @ 4:48 pm:

    @Anyone Remember - gracias


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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