Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn Wants Citizens to Do … Something? … About State Pension Crisis

Videos! Social Media! People like that stuff, right?


Of all the screwed over state pension funds in the U.S., Illinois is widely argued to be the most screwed over. Its current unfunded liability is $95 billion. It has the highest percentage of its pensions unfunded in the nation – more than half of it (or up to 70 percent based on some calculations).

Clearly, something must be done. Gov. Pat Quinn agrees. So he's put together a website to encourage citizens to get involved and demand something be done. But nothing in particular. Something.

They even filmed a video describing the history of Illinois pension fund (and the history of pensions in general). They manage to describe the urgency of the problem without presenting anything resembling any sort of solution. But he an actor does try his level best to act terrified of Kaa from The Jungle Book, moonlighting as a symbol of the "pension squeeze" being put on the state's budget:

The site encourages citizens to get involved in this nebulous something:

You bring some attitude…we'll bring some volume! Let the Springfield politicians know that you get it and it can't wait. If you speak up now by posting on Facebook , tweeting, emailing, etc – we'll make sure Springfield hears it…in your own words! Stay tuned for the details…

HINT: you'll be able to see and hear your messages shared with the legislators in Springfield via pictures and video (think web cam!) on the Facebook page. …

Join the dialogue at one of our Online Town Hall Meetings. The town hall meeting is a time-honored tool of direct democracy. Dating back to New England in the 1630s, the town hall meeting was a forum where every voice could be heard…and every public official had to sit there and listen!

This dusty institution is given new life via the Internet. "This is My Illinois" will host a series of "Online Town Hall Meetings" focusing on the Illinois Pension Crisis. Here's your chance to understand the problem, and how it will affect you and future generations. It's a chance to share your ideas on how to solve the SQUEEZE. It's your chance to speak directly to those who will work to fix it.

Yeah, get to work, citizens! Let those politicians know you've got an attitude about all this! You have very strong feelings about the pension squeeze. They should fix it right now! Somehow! With something!

Corrected because that wasn't Gov. Quinn in the video.

NEXT: Hundreds of D.C. City Workers in Unemployment Scam

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  1. “Squeezy, the Pension Python”. Outstanding.

    1. It should be noted that the presenter in that video is NOT Pat Quinn. It is an actor.

      1. I … but he’s such a terrible actor.

        Which is why I just assumed it was him. Corrected the piece.

    2. I bet he considers whitespace significant too.

      1. If people had lined things up into neat columns, the pension crisis would have been noticed a lot earlier.

  2. Who wouldn’t be afraid of Kaa? I mean, you take the voice of Winnie the Pooh and put it in a creepy, child-molestery snake…SCARY!

  3. Doing something is popular. Any of the particular somethings, less so.


    Call the unions in for a meeting. Get up in the front of the room, pull your empty pockets inside out, and shrug your shoulders.


    1. In the case of California, pension benefits are protected by the state constitution.

      Here’s my solution: any state public-worker pension shortfall is to be made up by a tax on current state public workers. It would probably be fairest to restrict it by occupation (e.g. police pensions paid for by police), but probably more fun to just say “all public workers” and then watch as all the different unions fight about it.

      1. More fair to tax the previous workers.

        1. That’s functionally equivalent to reducing their pensions, which is problematic.

      2. Amend the Consititution.

        (OK, you can all stop laughing now.)

  5. May I suggest some Change… with a little Hope?

  6. No, fuck you, cut spending!

    Not that I live in IL, but…

    1. Normally I would agree, but the university professors are affected.

      So, I say “invite” every private sector worker in Illinois to “join” the public pension system. By invite, I mean force, and by join, I mean pay into.

  7. I used to live in Illinois, and used to work for a university there. I’m drawing a pension from the State University Retirement System, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with. I expect I’ll take some kind of hit, and, being a libertarian I won’t get too annoyed, but I did pay in an awful lot over the 22 years I worked there.

  8. Idd, Gov. Quinn didn’t seem to need the public to lobby the overwhelimingly Democratic legislature to jack up income taxes by 67% a couple of years ago. They didn’t have the slightest trouble doing that.

    1. Oops…”Odd”

  9. Wasn’t Pat Quinn the coach of theToronto Maple Leafs at one point?

  10. It is my understanding that many public pension funds are heavily invested in large corporations; p&g, exxon-mobile, Bain capital, coca cola…etc. and depend mightily on the success of those companies to keep the cash flowing.

    A single google search gave me this;

    “Government-worker pension funds are the chief beneficiaries of Bain’s economic stewardship. ……Since 2000, Preqin reports, the following funds have entrusted some $1.56 billion to Bain:

    * Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund ($2.2 million)

    * Indiana Public Retirement System ($39.3 million)

    * Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System ($177.1 million)

    * The Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension System ($19.5 million)

    * Maryland State Retirement and Pension System ($117.5 million)

    * Public Employees’ Retirement System of Nevada ($20.3 million)

    * State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio ($767.3 million)

    * Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System ($231.5 million)

    * Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island ($25 million)

    * San Diego County Employees Retirement Association ($23.5 million)

    * Teacher Retirement System of Texas ($122.5 million)

    * Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System ($15 million)”

    With captain zero at the helm of the economy and the recovery underway I cant understand why any pensions are unfunded.

    1. With captain zero at the helm of the economy and the recovery underway I cant understand why any pensions are unfunded.

      No president is ever at the helm of the economy. The only active thing they can do to affect it is to set up roadblocks in the form of tax and regulatory burdens, or take them down by removing said tax and regulatory burdens. But they steer nothing. Ever.

  11. SOunds like a pretty crazy plan to me dude.

  12. It’s interesting that the video states that–

    (1) employees contribute to pension funds, when many don’t, with the taxpayer picking up the whole burden (or not, when no contributions are turned over to the funds for years due to local budget woes);

    (2) “people are retiring earlier,” when the opposite is true, according to Gallup (maybe public employees are retiring earlier, bucking the cultural trend?) (

    Certainly raises questions about the accuracy and validity of all of the statements made in the video.

    1. Or ‘we need pensions to attract the best and brightest to do these jobs!’

      I guess that explains why education and law enforcement run so smoothly in this country.

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