RUSH: Chicago mayor and potential Democrat presidential candidate Rahm Emanuel is warning that he may double property taxes in the state of Illinois in order to pay for spiraling pension costs. Illinois has one of the largest under- and unfunded pension liabilities in the entire fruited plain. It is dire. The circumstances -- the unfunded, underfunded pension liabilities -- are absolutely horrendous, and all of the problems are due exclusively to Democrat politicians and Democrat unions.
But, of course, nobody's going to cast such blame, except for yours truly. But it remains true that "Illinois has one of the worst pension messes in the nation as the cost of government employee benefits is sending state, county, and local governments into bankruptcy crises all across the state. No place has more trouble than Chicago, prompting Mayor Rahm Emanuel to warn that property taxes will have to double to" pay those pensions. And what are those pensions?
Those are payments to people who are not working.
Now, I know that they are commitments that were made in old agreements. City employees, union employees, probably the pension is you get 100%. The way it works in these Democrat cities is if you take any civil service job, any union job -- fireman, police officer, accountant, you name it -- and you put in 15 years, and you can retire at 100% of your salary at age 45.
In some cases, it is that bad. I kid you not. This is the spoils system at work. Well pay somebody who doesn't work. In some places, it's 120% of your salary, plus your health care benefits, from age 45 until you die, while you're ostensibly retired. What Mayor Rahm is telling people in Chicago is (paraphrased), "We're gonna double your property taxes to pay these pensions, because, guess what?
"We have so mismanaged it, we have botched it so badly, we're gonna make you pay for it, because you elected us. It's ultimately your fault. You're the stupid idiots that elected us. We don't know what we're doing. We have no idea how to actually govern. All we can do is spend your money, and we need more of it." (interruption) People can't afford their property tax being doubled? That's not a problem. They're gonna send out the bill.
If you don't pay your property tax, they reclaim your home and they own the home and then they'll resell it and they'll get it out of you that way. That's the way it'll work. (interruption) What do you mean they can't afford it? When's the last time a Democrat ever factored in whether or not a taxpayer can afford a tax increase? Name for me the last time a Democrat ever thought about that.
So Snerdley says, "Wait a minute. This can't possibly work 'cause these people can't afford to pay double property tax." You think they're worried about that? You know what the Democrats think. There's always money out there. People always have money. Every business is rolling in it. Every homeowner has money he's not spending. Everybody does -- and we're gonna get it, whatever, however we do it.
So if you own a home or any piece of property, and your property tax is gonna double, and you can't pay it, what is gonna happen to you? Your property is going to eventually be taken from you. They'll foreclose on you. And who do you think's gonna take ownership? Rahm Emanuel. And if he can't get money out of you from you paying your property tax times two, then they'll foreclose on your home.
They'll take it from you and they'll sell your house, and whatever they get for it will make up for whatever you were supposed to pay but couldn't. How else are they gonna do it? See, now, I know that the normal reaction is, "Okay, they're gonna double property taxes. There's already a stagnant economy nationally. Illinois is already its own subset of a mess. People do not have this money.
"They do not have enough money with all their health care mandates now and everything else, and already existing taxes. Now they'll face their property tax doubling?" But you think Rahm thinks about that? (interruption) "How can they...?" (interruption) No. That's my point. No Democrat has ever thought about that happening. Now, you might say, "Well, one of the ways of fixing the pension crisis would be to off-load 'em to the government, which will guarantee only 60% of it, and you do it..."
No, we can't do that, 'cause these are Democrat voters, and we promised them pensions. They're not just Democrat voters or Democrat donors at fundraisers, and we promised them they could retire at age 45 or age 50 and get 100% of what they were earning on their health care and we're gonna come through -- and if it means you, who are not one of these people, pay for it, that's what we're gonna do.
"We wouldn't think of cutting their benefits; they might not vote for us anymore!" Remember, these people are still alive. These people retired on the promise that they're gonna get everything they were earning when they were working until they die, without having to work. So here comes the mayor, say, "Well, gonna cut your pension benefits. It's the only way"? There will be hell to pay. It wouldn't happen.
So you go soak the taxpayer, because he or she doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. Wipe out this neighborhood? It doesn't matter. The theory is, raise taxes. Some of the details here: "In 2015, Chicago faces a looming financial disaster with a municipal pension system that is in worse shape than that of any other major US city. "Chicago is under the gun for a whopping $1.07 billion balloon payment on its $19.4 billion pension debt for city employees."
The city of Chicago owes, in the form of pensions to people who are not gonna be working, $19.5 billion. They have a balloon payment coming up of $1.07 billion, and that's why Rahm Emanuel is going to double -- or is at least warning of doubling -- property taxes. "The shortfall to the pensions amounts to $7,100 per Chicago resident. In any case, if something else isn't done, Mayor Emanuel is warning that he'll have to double property taxes to fund the" balloon payment.
And the shortfall to the pensions, that $1.07 billion, amounts to $7,100 per Chicago resident, and doubling their property taxes is how he's threatening to get it. "The municipal pension fund isn't the only pension in failure in Chicago. The city's teachers' pensions are also widely understood to be one of the worst-funded in the country. The teachers' pension fund will require a tripling of its required contribution." Now, how did things get to this point?
I mean, for crying out loud, these people have a portion of their pay deducted to go to the pension fund. It's matched, and then this money is supposed to be invested. California, same thing. CalPERS and CalSTRS, the State Teachers Retirement System and the Public Employee Retirement System -- the two of 'em in California -- are massively invested. How in the world does this happen? (interruption) I know. I know they overpromise. They over-expect on the return they're gonna get.
It's just total incompetence.
But, as always, the taxpayer has to clean up the mess.
RUSH: Now, a couple things. The pensioners, the people that receive the pension, they own property. Their own property taxes are gonna double. They're not gonna be happy. I think the mayor ought to just tell people, "Look at your budget. Give up your cell phone, maybe your Netflix account, and maybe even cable TV, in order to pay these people who are not working."