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Subject: Squeezy, the Pension Python rss

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Boise
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I personally don't give two shits whether Illinois public employees ever get a nickle of their pensions. I just like the name "Squeezy the Snake".
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Mac Mcleod
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Drew1365 wrote:
bjlillo wrote:
Now we've resorted to stupid cartoon snakes?


Well, you have to remember: he's trying to communicate with children.


Who will be the ones paying the bill.
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Bruce Miller
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I wish I would have thought of "Squeezy" for the name of my python. We just call him Cody.
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Isaac Citrom
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Aren't pension funds designed to be self-supporting?
.
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Chad Ellis
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isaacc wrote:

Aren't pension funds designed to be self-supporting?
.


Some are. Some are essentially promises of future payment, which then depend on future revenue. This is dangerous under the best of circumstances, but when it's a public sector union there is a major incentive problem. Politicians are rewarded based on today's votes, which unions can deliver, so they're essentially buying today's votes with future voter's money.
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Ken
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Crystal Lake
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isaacc wrote:

Aren't pension funds designed to be self-supporting?
.


Illinois' pension plans have been so poorly designed to prevent corruption and abuse that the contributions for them to be self-supporting would need to be dramatically higher than they ever would have been. There have been many ways to artificially gain seniority, inflate salaries (particularly at the end of one's career when it really counts for benefit payments), and even double-dip on pensions.

And while I usually enjoy disagreeing with BJ just on principle, the unions have had way more than their share of this on their plate. That said, the pension system needs a fix, but I suspect BJ would go well beyond that statement.

It's a friggin' train wreck that the folks in Springfield have been too chicken-shit to take on with any honesty or clarity.
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Mac Mcleod
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isaacc wrote:

Aren't pension funds designed to be self-supporting?
.


I've heard these particular pension funds would need an 18% return to be self supporting.

And to make the numbers work up until now they have been projecting 8% (10%?) returns.

And actual returns have been much lower (under 4%?).


Pension funds are only self supporting when you take in enough money up front, you fund based on possible rates of return, and no one finds a way to either increase the pension benefits by some trick (delaying overtime, delaying vacation time to inflate benefits) or to loot the pension fund (substituting real cash with promissory notes of future payment).
 
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Ken
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maxo-texas wrote:
I've heard these particular pension funds would need an 18% return to be self supporting.


Something like that. But the bigger problem is that the structure of the plan makes it nearly impossible to set aside sufficient reserves to meet the pension obligations. Workers can take unused vacation & sick time and apply it to their years of service so that they can retire early and some have managed to carve years off retirement age. Then you throw in the fact that benefits are based on the last 2-3 years of salary, and workers that can change jobs to significantly higher paying positions for those years will be drawing benefits at a level that doesn't match the 20 preceding years of contributions to the plan.

The system was just about designed to result in under-funding the pension obligations. Then throw in the unrealistic returns that most pension plans have used and it just gets worse. Illinois isn't alone in this, though. There's around $2 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities facing the states overall.
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Dan Schaeffer
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Drew1365 wrote:
So . . . what was that for? He didn't offer a solution or a promise.


It's the introductory video for a grassroots pension reform campaign. It's not meant to provide solutions. That's for the legislature and the governor to do, and the campaign is meant to (a) inform the public about what the pension crisis is all about and what it means for the state and (b) get the public to put pressure on the legislature to actually do something to address it. The campaign has a pretty dumbed-down website, but who knows, it might have some positive effect.

Also, the guy in that video is not the governor of Illinois.
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