Dear Mr. Harmon:
"The Emperor's New Clothes." This Hans Christian Andersen tale has, according to Wikipedia, been translated into over a hundred languages. Perhaps you've read it.
I beg to differ on your assessment of Illinois' failure to pass meaningful pension reform [Pension Reform Bills Advance, Viewpoints, March 20]. That result lies entirely with Democrats. Your party controls Illinois — the governorship, the Senate, the House, and the judiciary — and has for years now. Democrats control the largest concentration of Illinois' population in Chicago and Cook County. To besmirch former Governor Edgar, widely seen throughout Illinois as a fair and honest man, is beneath any rational discourse.
Both major Illinois newspapers, not just the Tribune, have cried out for the state's elected officials to do something bold and decisive for the long-term economic health of the residents of the state — to save pensions for those who have earned it. The Sun-Times did so again on March 19 ("Best Chance to Solve Pension Crisis"). It urged lawmakers to pass the Biss bill, named after Democrat Daniel Biss of Evanston and a bipartisan-sponsored piece of thoughtful legislation. The Sun-Times took Democrats to task again March 21 for passing Senate leader Cullerton's weak alternative. In the words of its editors, "A pension reform bill passed the Illinois Senate on Wednesday! Too bad the bill, sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton, won't solve the state's financial troubles, nor is it likely to pass the Illinois House."
Can you tell us why Democrats cannot lead? Why Mr. Quinn, Mr. Cullerton (yourself as assistant majority leader) and Mr. Madigan can't use their influence to solve this $17,000,000 per day problem (that represents the total median household income of approximately 300 Illinois families each day)? Is it, as we all assume, that union membership (which in 2012 is only 14.6% of wage and salary workers in Illinois) is so threatening to the leadership's employment?
Pointing fingers at Republicans and conservative media as the villain is getting old and tired. It follows the tired, uncreative path of national politics today. Voters know better. The child cried out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all."