You’ll Koch on This – Chapter 1

Reading time – 29 seconds  .  .  .

The Koch brothers and other big bucks boys sponsored a pension reform seminar and invited lots of judges to attend. It was all about how we will “reform” our pension system for public workers, given the enormous “unfunded liability” held by most states. What that means is that we agreed to provide pensions for these people, often in lieu of pay raises, but we didn’t put away money into a pension pot from which we could draw later. Well, it’s “later” right now and many states are in trouble.

There is lots of weaselly pension fixing language being tossed about, like the suggestion of Amy Moynahan, University of Minnesota law professor. that, “.  .  .  changes to future pension accruals should be legally permissible absent clear and unambiguous evidence that the legislature intended to create a contract.” That is to say, states can unilaterally ditch their obligations via courtroom sleight of hand to make it look like there was no contract with public workers.

No contract? Really? Those state legislatures were just spit balling what they might do later on for workers and now don’t they have to keep their word?

Now, why would the Koch brothers care about the fate of public pensions and the future of public workers so much that they would be a major sponsor of a conference where they invite judges before whom such cases may be brought? I don’t suppose that there might be tax consequences to such cases that might affect the Kochs. Naw, couldn’t be that. Surely it couldn’t be about large corporations in the private sector and their unfunded pension programs that these corporations still don’t want to fund. For sure it isn’t about any desire to build relationships with judges who will hear their inevitable lawsuits.  Right?

No, not right.

More on this kind of craziness in Chapter 2. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, watch this video. Opposition to the Koch’s and the rest of the Big Bucks Boys who are despoiling our Constitution and stealing our democracy is growing. All it takes is you and me and a few million of our friends. Then they can’t stop us.

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Ed. note:  There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better.  It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better.  That is the reason for these posts.  To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.  Please help by passing this along and encouraging others to do the same.  Thanks.  JA

 

Copyright 2017 by Jack Altschuler
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8 Responses to You’ll Koch on This – Chapter 1
  1. Dan Wallace Reply

    Now, Jack. . .Illinois has an unfunded pension liability of $100 billion. dollars. “Unfunded pension liability” is not some abstract term. It means that we have $100 billion (yes, $100 billion – in a state with a GDP of $670 billion) less in the bank than the actuaries say we need in order to pay the pension benefits that have been promised. Those promises were made by Democrats to appease their supporters in the public-employee unions. The unfunded liability? The same Democrats who made those promises then let themselves off the tax hook by passing a law that said, in effect, “Less than full funding of pensions shall be deemed to be full funding” for purposes of satisfying the state constitution’s requirement that pensions be fully funded.

    The principal actor in all of this is a guy named Mike Madigan. He’s the guy who actually runs Illinois. The guy Pat Quinn doesn’t touch. The guy Bruce Rauner will have to wrangle when he becomes governor. He’s also a guy who has become tremendously wealthy while orchestrating the bankruptcy of the state he runs.

    By the way, he’s a Democrat.

    Illinois is a Democrat-run state. A recent gallup poll (http://www.vox.com/2014/4/30/5668588/illinois-connecticut-maryland-gallup-interstate-migration-rates) showed that fully half the people in Illinois wish they could move to another state, making it the state that is least liked by its own citizens. Connecticut and Maryland, also Democrat-controlled states, were right behind.

    You know me, Jack. I’m not trying to whitewash or excuse the Koch brothers, for whom I have not much more use than you do. But I also believe in facts, despite their being stubborn things. If you want to fix the tax/pension problem in Illinois, the place to start would be a groundswell not to shut up the Kochs, but to send Mr. Madigan packing – perhaps to some other state, which perhaps he could then ruin.

    • JaxPolitix Reply

      Acknowledging what you say and identifying with all of your assertions, they are aside from the main point of the essay, which is that the Koch brothers (and others like them) are extending their slimy tentacles to influence not just our legislatures, but also our courts. In this instance it was by being sugar daddies to judges, some of whom will be sitting for cases dealing with pension obligations in both the public sector and the private sector.

      As you know, I believe that corruption is a bi-partisan – or perhaps multi-partisan or non-partisan – game. It is human nature to attempt to game the system for self-advantage. It’s just that some are way better at doing that than others and their self-interest gets placed before – even entirely in place of – the rest of us and they inflict pain on the many.

      Last Friday six college kids were killed and 13 others were injured at UCSB by a mentally sick guy who legally purchased guns and ammunition. That sounds a lot like Sandy Hook Elementary School.

      90% of us want laws to require universal background checks before gun sales and a ban on the sale of guns to mentally ill people. Perhaps if we do that we can forestall at least some of the killings now waiting to happen. But we can’t seem to get what we want because the big money interests don’t want that to happen. Let that issue be a placeholder for so many of the problems We the People want solved and which the Kochs and others are fighting – fighting in the legislatures and the courts. That is the mother of our political dysfunction.

      Our task is to create a system that comes a little closer to meeting the needs of the people and gets gamed a whole lot less by the Koch’s, Mike Madigan, Karl Rove, manipulative Supreme Court justices – all of the manipulators for the wealthy. Had we that better system, the Illinois pension system might be solvent right now. And six kids in California might still be alive.

  2. Sharon Sanders Reply

    Considering the fact that the Koch Brothers have all the power and money they need, we must conclude that they want the country as their own personal possession. They run a shadow government, buying their way across America, and not just at the federal level, but in every corner of our country. As I go from meeting to meeting with different organizations, I know that we’re all getting ready to touch hands and help each other. I think our Coalition to Restore Democracy can help do this. We’re all in it together. We’re all fighting the same enemy–ownership of our country by big money and a corrupt Supreme Court majority.

  3. Sharon Sanders Reply

    Simply put, I have no doubt that our government isn’t functioning and we have a shadow government that owns our politicians, our courts, our regulators and adheres to no laws but their own. The shadow fascist dictators are the two Koch brothers and a few others libertarians who want average citizens to have absolutely no power–nothing.

  4. Joni Lindgren Reply

    As a retired Illinois teacher, the legislatures would rather break their promise to uphold the Illinois Constitution and renege on their obligations than to do the right thing and reammortize the debt, pass a bill for a “transaction tax” of a few cents on every trade on the CBOT, pass a graduated income tax bill…which will make the higher income earners pay a greater % of their salary to the government… or to even consider passing a bill that will make corporations give up their tax loopholes…or stop hoarding their profits off-shore….or to even stop the ongoing practice of giving corporations HUGE tax incentives every time a corporation says they are moving out of state. There’s money in all these suggestions, but the flavor of the decade is to take from the middle class and save the corporations at all costs!

    • Sharon Sanders Reply

      Joni represents everything I believe about the corruption in the Illinois legislature, never mind the City of Chicago which is equally corrupt. She and I and thousands of others were promised our pension–that was the carrot for me to retire–and enhanced 5/5 pension and healthcare. They find every false excuse to break their promises, while 73% of Illinois public corporations pay no taxes. Let them leave the state–they provide so few jobs–and give the tax breaks to small businesses.

      Also, I went to a National People’s Action party yesterday and I spent a good part of the time with Lew Ayres. Scary that he and I and his wife think exactly alike. Are we ready for some type of “peaceful” revolution.