The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago has been leading the campaign (heavily promoted by the Chicago Tribune) to destroy the public employee pension systems in the state of Illinois. The state faces a huge funding deficit with these pensions, because for about 40 years the state legislature has consistently refused to fund their share of these pension funds, while the employees have of course paid their 8 or 9% of their gross pay with every single paycheck. Now it is a matter of increasing taxes to fund the pensions or cut the pensions. But cutting the pensions is espressly forbidden by the Illinois State Constitution ("ARTICLE XIII, SECTION 5. PENSION AND RETIREMENT RIGHTS
Membership in any pension or retirement system of the
State, any unit of local government or school district, or
any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an
enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which
shall not be diminished or impaired."
Because of the immorality and illegality of screwing the state employees, drastic means are needed to get the state legislature to do it. Only by creating a crisis can this be done. How to create a crisis? Let's go to the tape:
Audience member: “Maybe sometimes you gotta be irresponsible to be responsible. If a political solution really doesn’t produce a favorable outcome, maybe you really need a market solution. And a market solution, I don’t mean bankruptcy, I mean actually talking down the state rating even further so the state’s bonds essentially become below investment grade. And it drives up the borrowing cost to the state and all of us to a significant level enough that you really feel the public pressure…”Ty Fahner (former IL Attorney General, now head of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club): “The Civic Committee, not me, but me and some of the people that make up the Civic Committee… did meet with and call – in one case in person – and a couple of calls to Moody’s and Fitch and Standard & Poors, and say, How in the hell can you guys do this?"
Fahner went on to take credit for downgrades to Illinois credit ratings, saying, "If you watch what happened in the last few years, it's been steadily down.”