Chicago & Illinois Public Union Members Do Not Get Rich
Steve Stanek’s Sunday op-ed [“Illinois’ woes show why we can’t afford public unions”] is a misleading diatribe against working people. According to Stanek, collective bargaining is to blame for Illinois’ credit rating and economic trouble because public employees retire as millionaires. What a cheap sleight of hand.
These so-called millionaires pay a hefty slice of their paychecks into a pension fund for 30 years before they withdraw it. Then, for example, the average Cook County worker’s pension is $32,000. The average Forest Preserve pension is $28,000. And Stanek conveniently overlooks this: most public employees do not collect Social Security.
Just ask anyone trying to pay a modest mortgage and utility bills on a $32,000 income if they feel like a millionaire. You will not get a chorus of yeses.
It’s no secret why Stanek blames little people and ignores the role of the mortgage lenders and giant corporate tax loopholes in our fiscal mess. He speaks for the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that wants to eliminate health care benefits, deregulate banks and eliminate student loans. But that’s no excuse for pretending people with modest incomes are millionaires.
David Orr,Cook County Clerk