When I gave readers an opportunity to select their favorite political cartoonist back in 2013, they picked Michael Ramirez.
And I can understand, given the excellent options that I shared (here, here, here, and here).
But I now think I overlooked his true masterpiece, at least if salience is an issue. The cartoon he produced on politicians and bureaucrat unions perfectly identifies the problem that has produced gaping fiscal shortfalls in so many states and communities.
Simply stated, politicians and bureaucrats have figured out how to gang up against taxpayers.
The Chicago Tribune recently opined on this horrific example.
…a controversial state law…allowed a lobbyist for the Illinois Federation of Teachers, David Piccioli, to become certified as a substitute teacher in December 2006 by working one day at a Springfield elementary school — and to buy pension credit for his 10 previous years working as a lobbyist. That sweet deal qualified him for a pension windfall from a teachers retirement fund that as of late 2018 carried an unfunded liability of more than $75 billion-with-a-B. Because he also draws a pension from a previous job as a House Democratic aide, Piccioli’s total pension income now rises to nearly $100,000.Sadly, Illinois courts routinely acquiesce to this kind of scam.
…the court upheld a dubious loophole that allowed government employees who left those jobs to work for their union in the private sector to still qualify for a public pension — with payouts based on their much higher salaries in their union roles. One example: Former Chicago labor boss Dennis Gannon, who started out working for the city, was able to retire at age 50 with a city pension based on his union salary of at least $240,000. The Supreme Court upheld that arrangement too.Perhaps those actually were correct legal decisions.
But, if so, that underscores my original point about politicians and bureaucrat union working together to fleece taxpayers.
This story underscores the unfairness of a system that provides much higher levels of compensation for government bureaucrats compared to those toiling in the economy’s productive sector.
But it also can be seen as a Exhibit A for why Illinois is a fiscal black hole. Which is, of course, why the state’s politicians are so anxious and determined to get rid of the state’s flat tax.
And this explains why productive people are leaving.
Needless to say, this won’t end well.
P.S. I’m not going to put Mr. Piccioli in the Bureaucrat Hall of Fame. That high honor is reserved for people who actually had government jobs for longer than one day (such as the Philadelphia bureaucrat who “earned” a $50,000 annual pension after being employed for just 2-1/2 years. As a consolation prize, I will instead offer him up as a potential candidate for Bureaucrat of the Year.