By John Hubbuch
John F. Kennedy, who was my hero until I learned that he had sex with almost as many women as Wilt Chamberlain, wrote Profiles In Courage The book detailed the lives of politicians that made difficult decisions at great personal cost, but for the benefit of the country.
In Illinois I am afraid Profiles In Courage II would be a very thin book. According to the catastrophic warnings of the Chicago Tribune the state is on the brink of fiscal catastrophe because the teacher pension program is unsustainable and must be addressed ASAP. Now you would think that a state in which the House and Senate and Governor were Democratic would have a solution. Au contraire.
Unbelievably Mike Madigan leader of the House has come up with a pretty benign proposal that whacks COLA , pushes back teacher retirement a couple of years and bumps up contributions modestly. This proposal goes a long way to solving the problem. Unfortunately John Cullerton leader of the Senate has a competing proposal that saves much less and pretty much doesn't solve the problem.
As far as I can tell Mr. Cullerton et al are going with "the last man in the ditch" defense of the teacher's reunion. Public unions in a few blue states are like rhinos in Africa. Go see them now before they are gone. I guess the unions are much more powerful than we thought.
It's all so obvious if a handful of Senate Democrats would buck Mr. Cullerton's dictatorial power we could pass pension reform and move onto the next thing. What's the worst that could happen? A smaller office? A worse committee assignment? A defeat in an election?
I'm just asking for a little courage. Not jump on the grenade courage. Just vote for a bill that will fix the pension mess even if it pisses off the teacher union.
Calling on a few Illinois Senators. Calling on Harmon.