Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x3 *** Tribune editorial board chief’s Ken Griffin interview goes off the rails
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
*** UPDATED x3 *** Tribune editorial board chief’s Ken Griffin interview goes off the rails

Tuesday, Aug 9, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Question to Ken Griffin from Tribune Editorial Page Editor Chris Jones

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said you and he met privately and that you agreed to drop your opposition to his graduated tax proposal if he took on pension reform in Illinois. True?

Um, no. From Greg Hinz’s original story

Griffin told Pritzker he had a rare opportunity to run the state not from the political left but the center, dealing with unaffordable pension costs, such as a 3% compound annual cost-of-living increase for retirees, while stabilizing state finances with additional revenues, the Griffin account goes.

“If you do these things, I certainly won’t get in your way and in fact will support you,” Griffin told Pritzker in so many words. In other words, Griffin urged Pritzker to make pension changes that could result in the governor getting some political cover from his rightward flank for a companion tax hike.

Reading comprehension is key. There was no talk about the graduated income tax.

* And it goes downhill from there…

* From Griffin’s comments

To be clear, that was a fracturing moment between the two of us. … He does not want to use his political capital for good. He wants to maintain that capital to maintain the certainty of staying in power. Which I find perplexing in a state with a two-term limit.

Illinois has no gubernatorial term limits.

* More Griffin

And there’s another issue, which is that the costs of the promises made by cities and counties are not borne by the cities and counties directly, they’re socialized across the entire taxpayer base of the state. So it’s pretty easy for the behavior of a number of Illinois cities to offer incredible increases in pay in final years to boost pension benefits. And that cost comes back to all Illinois taxpayers.

Local pension costs are funded locally.

* On a side note

Operation Warp Speed came from a conversation between myself and members of the (Trump) administration. And we only saved a few hundred thousand lives with that phone call. Scientists and Moderna are heroes, but the entire U.S. pharma complex came together to win that war. But it started with an idea.

In running my business, I’m exposed to a whole litany of ideas. We should be engaging with our leaders in government sharing the best ideas that we’ve been exposed to. This is one thing that I do think President (Donald) Trump did really well. He had an extensive Rolodex of people he spoke to, especially in business. Good leaders are always keeping their ears open for good ideas.

*** UPDATE 1 *** They’ve now edited out Griffin’s term limit comment without making note of it. That’s pretty darned dishonest.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From the interview

And there are elements of that I think are attractive, but because the state employees do not participate in Social Security…

From comments…

State employees have been part of the social security system since at least the 1970s. Teachers don’t pay into the social security system.

*** UPDATE 3 *** After deleting the Griffin term limits comment, the Tribune has now added it back and included an editor’s note

Illinois does not have term limits for governor. Griffin acknowledged he misspoke.


  1. - The 5th Deputy Governor - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:02 pm:

    Guy truly does think that he knows everything, huh?

  2. - NotRich - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:03 pm:

    2 term limit for Illinois Gov?? I see why Mike Z was able to hoodwink him for $50+ million on the Irvin campaign.

  3. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:06 pm:

    That guy is a government scholar specializing in Illinois. I bet he was heartbroken when Big Jim had to step down. And he is right about Trump and his huge Rolodex (guy can’t use a computer) but it mainly is a must of defense and bankruptcy attorneys. /S

  4. - Reasonable - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:06 pm:

    The pension spiking he cites is absolutely example of socialized costs, or at the very least an externality. School districts can boost pay with no regard to effects on the pension system as a whole.

  5. - Telly - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:08 pm:

    If he said “school districts” instead of “cities and counties” he would have been right. Not that I’m looking to cut him slack. When you hold yourself out as a civic leader and pretend to have all the answers you should get the details right.

  6. - Jilted - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:08 pm:

    It’s stunning how rent free pensioners live in billionaires heads.

  7. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:08 pm:

    Harvard education + umpteen billion dollars = this?

  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:09 pm:

    “Talk less. Smile more”

    In Griffin’s case… “so folks won’t realize you know less than a wooden door”


    … ready…

    Rauner ran on term limits… Griffin funded things to enact… term limits…

    If I’m Z… no matter how many hundreds of thousands he made off Griffin… Z left money on the table.

    Love of… PETE

    Term limits?

  9. - Benjamin - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:09 pm:

    “Good leaders are always keeping their ears open for good ideas.”

    …and closing their ears to the nutty ones, which, uh, Trump could have done better.

    Why on Earth would Griffin bring that up?

  10. - Benjamin - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:12 pm:

    Also, I just read this story, and…what the hell? Why was this published in toto? Who prepared former theater critic Jones’ questions? Why does anybody care about what Ken Griffin thinks?[banned punctuation]

  11. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:14 pm:

    What a dilettante.

  12. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:15 pm:

    “He does not want to use his political capital for good.”

    I love how the world’s best business boy gets to make these kinds of declarative statements without any meaningful pushback from the drama critic his puppets at the Tribune send to record his Deep Thoughts.
    God forbid Ken would ever get in the ring himself and find out just how much all those simple non-billionaire voters agree with his political vision.

  13. - Shytown - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:16 pm:

    I just want to know what was Chris Jones thinking? How does he not correct Griffin and did he even do any homework ahead of this interview? And since when do editorial board editors do interviews that their news staff should be doing? Jones either needs to wear the editorial hat or go back to writing about culture and arts and leave covering the news to reporters.

  14. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:16 pm:

    Why give him this real estate in the op-ed section?

    Did he pay for it?

    Who cares what some Florida man thinks? Not Illinois voters.

  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:18 pm:

    ===That’s pretty darned dishonest.===

    That’s the Chicago Way, as a newly minted Hoosier Kass might mumble.

  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:21 pm:

    I’m beginning to think Z saw Griffin as a mark, not unlike Proft with Uihlein, and all this since 2013 has been about how deep Z could get into Griffin’s pockets, even if it meant wholly ignoring that Griffin lacks any honesty or knowledge to the governing or politics his money could change or shape.

    The checks cashed, and Gruffin is no smarter than any in-law uncle that thinks Kass knows the score.

  17. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:22 pm:

    Griffin must be lucky, he’s certainly not smart.

  18. - Facts Matter - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:25 pm:

    Griffin also made the erroneous assertion that state employees don’t pay social security. State employees have been part of the social security system since at least the 1970s. Teachers don’t pay into the social security system.

  19. - Nick - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:25 pm:

    This is the same guy that once said he thinks politicians don’t listen to rich people enough, right?

  20. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:25 pm:

    “If he said “school districts” instead of “cities and counties” he would have been right.”

    No, he still would have been wrong. TRS pensions are funded by state contributions up to a certain amount of increases, which is then partially funded by an 9% board contribution of that same salary(usually fully paid for by the school district). Any spiking above that is the responsibility of the local district to pay for as an additional contribution into the pension system.

    There are formulas for how fast a salary can increase in the last 5 years of employment. It doesn’t stop the pension spiking happening in local districts, but it does change only the financial liability of that specific district.

  21. - Baloneymous - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:27 pm:

    Finally getting to see that billionaires are not the total geniuses that the media and general public often make them out to be. When I’ve made comments to friends that Elon Musk or other billionaires doesn’t know everything or isn’t smart in certain matters, they come back with he must be really smart because he’s so rich. Ugh. Obviously, Griffin in very savvy in certain financial areas, but he’s proving he doesn’t know much at all about Illinois politics or even basic government. And his obsession with pensions is unhealthy. I thought he was moving to Florida, so he doesn’t have to think about Illinois pensions anymore.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:33 pm:

    If the Tribune finds itself having to edit all the things Griffin says that are wrong… they might only be left with the correct spelling of Griffin’s name

  23. - Herbflus - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:34 pm:

    “go back to the federal government and get into Social Security again”.

    Again? what’s he talking about?

  24. - Big Dipper - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:36 pm:

    ==Who prepared former theater critic Jones’ questions?==

    He still reviews theater which may explain why he doesn’t have time to do his nominal job properly.

  25. - Live Wire - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:40 pm:

    Cities and Counties have 6% caps for raises within 4 years before retirement too.

  26. - Bruce( no not him) - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:43 pm:

    “ a state with a two-term limit.”
    He just got confused with the prison terms of past governors

  27. - Baloneymous - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:48 pm:

    And there are elements of that I think are attractive, but because the state employees do not participate in Social Security…

    Does Griffin even realize that FICA is the payroll tax on employees’ paychecks that funds Social Security and Medicare, including pretty much all state workers? After his Gov term limits comment and now this comment, I’m starting to wonder.

  28. - Rabid - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:52 pm:

    preconceived misconception is truth

  29. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:52 pm:

    “state employees do not participate in Social Security”

    Really? Because I sure did at the Illinois AG.

  30. - Friendly Bob Adams - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 4:55 pm:

    1. He’s wrong on term limits and wrong on state employee Social Security. You wonder what he’s right about.

    2. Somebody needs to bash the Trib repeatedly about editing out previously published text without any comment. Extremely bad journalism.

  31. - Excitable Boy - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 5:00 pm:

    If you spent much time reading the Rahm/Griffin/Rauner emails, it became very clear that Grif and Rauner had extremely limited knowledge of how our various governments actually work. They just want their phone calls answered and their taxes lowered. That’s it.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 5:02 pm:

    ===*** UPDATE 3 *** After deleting the Griffin term limits comment, the Tribune has now added it back and included an editor’s note…===

    Well, that’s better than what the Trib did with Statehouse Chick’s editorial that was “re-edited” and never acknowledged as such.

    This is fun.

  33. - ZC - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 5:15 pm:

    I thought Chris Jones had too much power as a Chicago theatre critic but he had undeniable talent and Chicago could have done much worse. I’m getting the sense he should have stuck to that beat.

  34. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 5:44 pm:

    For the pension experts out there…

    6% isn’t a “spike” especially considering private sector increases these days. 6% is the maximum increase that an educator can experience during the period of their pension calculation (usually the highest 4 of their last 10 years) without the district incurring a roughly $13 dollar for every $1 dollar over the 6% limit penalty.

    The fact is that all you have to do is look at salary schedules and find out that some teachers are getting increases that exceed 6%, just not in the years that determine their pension.

    Pension spiking is an old trope that people choose to use but is generally false.

    And, school actually pay 11.5301% of the educators salary to TRS.

    Hat tip to @TheInvisibleMan for getting it mostly right as few people ever get close.

    As for Griffie, SSI is definitely socialised and I have paid in for many years never to get a nickel back. So were the loses of Wall Street back in 2008-2009. Your welcome Ken.

    I would be happy to give him a special deal on a private Civics class so that when he whines about stuff he is actually correct

  35. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 6:07 pm:

    === … use his political capital for good … ===

    Good for Griffin or good for the majority of IL residents? I’ll take JB’s definition of good over Griffin’s.

  36. - Big Dipper - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 7:23 pm:

    Maybe one of the business leaders on his Rolodex recommended injecting bleach.

  37. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 8:38 pm:

    I thought Griffin was foolish in how he wasted his money on Irvin. Now it turns out, he actually has no idea how things actually work under law - he’s not just foolish, but also not at all smart. I think I might try to sell him an auto repair warranty.

  38. - Pundent - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 8:52 pm:

    Nice to see that the Tribune is willing to show us that the emperor has no clothes. On second thought, never mind. Okay yes, he has no clothes.

    For Griffin this was always about achieving his vision of utopia even if it was completely detached from reality, which it was. He couldn’t support Pritzker because he wouldn’t take on the causes that Rauner couldn’t people to support. Ken Griffin wanted nothing more than a governor who ran the state for his personal benefit regardless of what that meant for the citizens as a whole. He won’t be missed.

  39. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Aug 9, 22 @ 8:57 pm:

    I’ve seen the comments about the interviewer. Does that mean the trib considers Griffin waxing about policy as some sort of performance art?

  40. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 1:50 am:

    (Narrator:) “It turned out that it was Ken’s term that became limited, along with Bruce.”

  41. - Rufus T. Firefly - Wednesday, Aug 10, 22 @ 7:37 am:

    Another right-wing billionaire heaping praise on Rahm Emmanuel. Imagine that.

  42. - The Old Man - Friday, Aug 26, 22 @ 10:02 am:

    We miss you Jim Edgar

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Not as great as it sounds, but whatevs
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Morning briefing
* Open thread
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...








Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller