Taking his case to the people

Gov. Pat Quinn is on the warpath.

Fresh from his disappointing failure to persuade legislators to address Illinois' public pension issues, Gov. Pat Quinn has vowed he'll take the issue to the voters.

Reverting to his role in bygone days as a political rabble-rouser who liked to score points at state legislators' expense, Quinn said this week that he intends to lead a grass-roots campaign to pressure legislators to take action.

Good for him, and it's highly likely that legislators will address the pension issue promptly — in the post-election veto session, just as Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan intended all along.

Quinn's announcement this week drew considerable attention, but an examination of the facts reveals just how hollow a threat it is.

The governor is certainly not likely to call for another special legislative session after the one he called for Aug. 17 turned out to be such a fiasco. If he does, he'd be asking for more rude treatment.

That means the only time legislators now can address the pension issues is after the election. So what is Quinn's effort really about, if anything?

Perhaps he intends to try scoring points points at the expense of legislative Republicans, whom he is blaming for the failure of the House and Senate to act. But it's the Democrats who hold big majorities in both the House and the Senate, not the GOP.

Quinn's problem on the pension issue is not the Republicans, but legislative Democrats who fear alienating traditional Democratic voters like public employees and union members prior to the fall election.

So he can huff and puff all he wants, and he probably will. But the sound and fury signifies nothing but empty political posturing.

Sections (2):Editorials, Opinion
Categories (2):Editorials, Opinions

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Sid Saltfork wrote on August 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Quinn could not lead a two car parade.  His political future is non-existent.  He sold the state lottery for a whopping "campaign donation" (bribe).  He is no different from the long list of corrupt governors.  He should be ridiculed every where he goes.  The problem with "pension reform" is that it involves theft.  The state constitution, and contract law legally protects the employees who paid their share with every paycheck; but the employer portion was not paid over the years.  It is a debt that is owed.  The bondholders make threats about the credit ratings because they know they are number two in getting paid their debt.  They want to be number one; but it cannot be legally done.  Pension reform can be done from a date forward; but it cannot be retroactive.  Stop the spending on corporate tax breaks, pork barrel projects, and follies; and start paying the debts. 

nick wrote on August 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Sid is correct.The pensions of public employees have been stolen.The system would have worked if the rules had been followed.The reality is that public pensions, which are good for everyone, are destroyed for the future.To be blunt and honest,milions of retired Illinois public service workers will lose their future security.The economy will suffer even more because those retired workers will not be buying products or funding the economy with their spending.Banks,brokers and wall Street are all ''too big to fail''. They are protected by the government and bailed out with the taxes of those who work. Workers are expendable and have no real power that can contend with the corporate structure that directs and controls government in america.In the future a fair and honest public pension system,which has benn demolished will be replaced with ''financial advisor'' style private investment conglomerates that are closer to a juice racket than a pension system.Remember one solid,undeniable truth...the wealthy will continue to get wealthier and security for the remaining 99% of American citizens will evaporate faster than a banker's promise.

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Quinn will take his campaign to "the people", and the "voters".  He fails to understand that public employees are voters, and people.  His campaign will be another propaganda rant demonizing public employees as the culprits behind the pension systems problems.  The conservative, corporate media will assist in the effort.  The special interest mouthpieces like the Chicago Civic Federation, the State Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Policy Institute will provide manufactured "facts" for the media. The fact that the employer, the State of Illinois, skipped payments for years will be down played.  Quinn hopes that he can whip up the ignorant, howling mob to endorse the theft.  The exempting of the Judges Pension System will provide "legal" support.  It will take years before the federal courts, or perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes.  The Rutan vs. State of Illinois took years to overturn patronage in state employment.  Throughout it all, more state money will be wasted for political egos.  Stop the pork barrel spending, corporate welfare, and corruption; and pay the debts owed.