Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, already the most unpopular governor in the nation, has his work cut out for him at his annual “state of the state” speech on Wednesday – and this time he probably won’t be relying on a python named “Squeezy.”
The fiscal crisis caused by pension underfunding in Illinois is so bad that some hospitals wait a year to be paid by the state for insurance claims.
At the same time, teachers in Chicago’s wealthy suburbs are retiring with six-figure salaries set by school districts on which pensions are calculated, and the state pays the bill. The benefits cannot be reduced, according to the state constitution.
Illinois’ pension systems are in the worst financial shape of any state at 39 percent funded when no less than 80 percent is considered healthy. State pensions are in the hole by the staggering amount of nearly $97 billion, or $20,000 per Illinois household and nearly four times the annual state revenue.
Illinois is one of them there “blue” states like Noo Yawk and Taxachusetts. Seriously – you can check if you don’t believe me.
California is a blue state too:
California legislators have had trouble repairing the state’s two main pension funds – the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System – that are at least $165 billion underfunded.
At the federal level, didja know that only $1.5 TRILLION of the $9 TRILLION that was added to the deficit since 2001 was due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? The cold hard fact is that the old blue model of government is what they call “non-sustainable”.
Of course pointing that out will get you accused of being a racist Tea Party Birther nutjob. Besides, all we have to do is tax the rich. Them greedy bastards can afford it.
Here’s some more about why the blue model is failing from Walter Russell Mead:
I’m going back to bed.