To the Editor:
Mr. Scott Reeder, your introduction in your column (“Time has come for public pensions to give way to 401(k)s”) clearly articulates why teachers like myself are irritated with the General Assembly.
Teachers are the only ones who are being asked to sacrifice to “fix” this system. How can teachers be the only ones to sacrifice when they are the only ones who always have made their payments into the pension plan? Teacher representation was locked out of negotiations to find solutions.
You said it best: Politicians have “fixed” this problem over the past four decades by pushing the pain down the road. It is not surprising that the General Assembly and Speaker Michael Madigan wait until after the 2014 petition deadlines elapse to make a deal.
You suggest to convert teachers to a 401(k). Your reasoning sounds plausible, yet is it practical? How can a state make payments for 401(k) when the system is already $100 billion underfunded by neglect? Would teachers now qualify for Social Security? If so, pension payments are less than school districts pay into Social Security. Are new taxes going to be passed to accomplish this or would it be further cuts in benefits that already are unconstitutional on the backs of teachers?