Newspaper article Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Fix pensions with a constitutional law
With all of the well orchestrated calls for "pension reform" echoing around Illinois, I hope the legislature will consider the following: Write a constitutional law. There is no point in wasting money on legal challenges with any law that would get taken to court. Make sure it solves the problem.
Since there is widespread consensus from all informed parties that the root cause of the current "pension crisis" was the result of the state not making its actuarially required contributions over several decades, any legislation that does not address this root cause is not "reform." If the state had been responsible, there would be no "crisis." Benefits are not excessive, despite incomplete media reports fixating on a tiny percentage of outliers. Remember, the recent "pension reform" legislation of the past decade has focused on benefit reduction for the people who have always paid their actuarially required bills, while it provided no effective motivation for the state to meet its obligations.
Include in any pension reform legislation a provision that says the actuarially required pension payment from the state should have the same budget priority requirement as bond payments. That would show true reform and a real commitment to truly setting things right. Remember, teachers do not receive Social Security, so a state pension is all that they will have. Those teachers who left private sector careers (or had to work a second job to make ends meet) and as a result paid into Social Security could see less of a Social Security benefit compared to nonteachers who paid the same amount into Social Security.
Legislators: truly fix the problem in a constitutional way, and don't punish responsible teachers who always paid their obligations.
Media bias depends on point of view
Most of us learned to identify a writer's point of view in high school literature. It is a skill I often use when I read the newspaper. In an Associated Press story about the five men accused of blowing up a bridge who were part of the Occupy movement in Cleveland, the writer was quick to point out that this violence had nothing to do with the Occupy movement. It is certainly not hard to figure out if the writer has a favorable view of the Occupy movement.
Now let's connect this idea to Fox News. Why do liberals hate Fox News so much? Fox reports from a conservative point of view and then suggests their news is fair and balanced. This drives liberals crazy. They just cannot conceive of the idea that the news reported from a conservative point of view could be anything but lies and propaganda.
Now one might think that these Fox News bashers would at least have a little empathy for conservatives who have complained for many years about the liberal bias in the mainstream media. My liberal friends just shrug and say they don't really see any bias in the rest of the media.
Connect the story like the one above to the Gabrielle Giffords' shooting. When Giffords was shot, the AP and other media outlets immediately tried to link the shooting to what they called the violent rhetoric of the Tea Party -- though it later turned out that the Tea Party had nothing to do with the shooting.
I am not suggesting that point of view automatically equals bias, but I do have trouble understanding how liberals, who attack the idea of liberal bias, find bias so easily recognizable when it comes to Fox News.
Voting rights not encumbered by ID
Michael E. …