Read anything interesting about pensions lately?
If you’re reading Illinois news online it would be hard to avoid the topic, as “pension reform” (the reduction of pension benefits for public employees) is a top priority for a variety of groups with very active websites, including the Illinois Policy Institute, Reboot Illinois, and most of Illinois’ daily newspapers, especially the Chicago Tribune.
The Trib is the state’s news leader in pension-obsession. A Google search for “Chicago Tribune, pension reform” shows more than 20 pension editorials or opinion pieces have appeared in the editorial section in just the two months since the spring legislative session ended.
And this doesn’t include the hundreds (thousands?) of “pension reform” stories that have appeared in the news section of the paper in the last few years. With a few notable exceptions (like this one), the stories usually support the “cut pensions” position of the editorial page.
It’s fair to say the Tribune finds everything about pensions absolutely fascinating.
Well, almost everything.
Last March, Ty Fahner, executive director of the pension-obsessed Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago (regularly featured in the Tribune), bragged to a Chicago meeting of CEOs that that he and his pals worked behind the scenes to pressure bond ratings houses to lower Illinois’ credit rating.
No one has to take my word, or that of the We Are One Illinois labor coalition about this, as there is a video, which shows Fahner, in full bragging mode, telling his wealthy audience that these efforts were aimed at convincing major financial concerns to lower the state’s bond rating in order to provide greater impetus for the “cut pensions” effort. (Go to the 47 minute mark of the video). More…