When did it become acceptable to take money from old people?

by , posted on Monday, April 8th, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I first heard Pat Herrmann, a retired art teacher from Wheaton, Illinois, ask the question, “when did it become acceptable to take money from old people?” during a public pension discussion hosted by the DuPage Coffeehouse.  Herrmann is a deep-thinking activist.  The multiple messages on her signs reflect her ability to conduct careful research and see the bigger picture.  Her question about taking money from old people reflects her ability to see the human impact; something lawmakers don’t see.

As the Illinois General Assembly debates how much money they will strip from Illinois teachers’ pensions and President Obama puts deep cuts to Social Security on the table, I was reminded of Hermman’s important question.  If you have not signed the petition to tell President Obama to take Social Security cuts off of the table, now would be a good time to do it by following this link.

Of course those reaching into the pockets of old people don’t want to talk about how this will impact living, breathing human beings.  They want to talk about numbers, budgets and other inhuman things.  Consider Tom Cross’s recent letter to the Chicago Tribune that makes this all sound like a tragic math problem.  Cross, after 20 years in Springfield, takes no responsibility for the state’s past 40+ years of delinquency.  I am not giving Democrats a free pass on this either.  The primary drivers of pension reform in Springfield are Mike Madigan, Pat Quinn, Elaine Nekritz and Dan Biss (all Democrats).  All of them, Democrats and Republicans, are singing from the same sheet of music.  Watch the video of Bernie Sanders below the fold.

In Washington the only one stepping up and speaking for working, middle class people, is the Socialist, Bernie Sanders.  In Illinois, we don’t have any elected Socialists so we are left with Democrats and Republicans who are unwilling or unable to challenge the very idea of “taking money from old people.”

Just ask Biss, Nekritz, Cross, or Madigan and either one will quickly give the “false choice” argument that we need to choose between cuts in public schools or cuts in pensions.  None of these folks have proposed making good on the past 40+ years of non-payment to the pension system or taxing the rich.  None of them broach the idea of taxing the rich or repealing the $78 million tax break that the incredibly profitable CME enjoys. Cross wants everyone to move their money into a risky 401K plan that will produce higher returns for Wall Street hedge fund managers.  Madigan wants to shift the cost onto property owners via his “tax shift” proposal. Nekritz and Biss both seem willing to carry water for either, gambling that this will somehow advance their careers. Pat Quinn will do whatever is necessary to appease the powers that be and roll the dice for another four years in the governor’s mansion.

In sharp contrast, if you want to know what an American hero looks like, take a look at the Bernie Sanders interview.


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