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Editorial: A day of equal-opportunity idiocy in Statehouse

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) is chief sponsor legislaticoncerning drones.  |  Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) is chief sponsor of legislation concerning drones. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 19, 2012 6:13AM



‘We all look like idiots,” state Rep. Daniel Biss said Friday at the end of a special legislative session, called to fix the state’s pension mess, that went nowhere.

Well, yeah. You do. You all look like idiots.

“I’ll say it again,” Biss repeated. “We all look like idiots.”

OK, then, we’ll say it again, too. You all look like idiots.

And if anybody thinks the familiar fog of cowardice that wafted through the Statehouse again on Friday is good for their re-election hopes in November, we beg the voters: Don’t let them get away with it.

Problem is, both parties were cowards, and that makes it hard to know whom to disdain more.

Do you vote against the Republican cowards who refused to vote for badly needed pension reform because, above all, they could not agree to House Speaker Mike Madigan’s one condition — suburban school districts would have to start footing the bill for their own pensions?

Madigan knew they’d do that, right? And he knew they’d look like chumps, right?

Or do you vote against the Democratic cowards, who had the votes to push through reform on their own, but wouldn’t dare without Republican votes. They feared the public employee unions — those unhappy folks who booed Democratic leaders so loudly this week at the State Fair.

And maybe Madigan and the Democrats figured you’re just not very smart. Maybe they figured you wouldn’t see where their true loyalties lie — not with the taxpayers or, for that matter, public employees.

Their true loyalties lie with themselves.

Maybe they don’t think you understand — but we think you do — that until this massive $83 billion pension crisis is resolved, nothing good is coming to Illinois. Desperately needed services for the poor and elderly will continue to be cut. Funding for our schools will be cut. The state’s all-important bond rating, lowered by Moody’s in January, will remain depressed.

Every smart out-of-state business owner and entrepreneur looking to set up a new shop will look at this mess and go somewhere else. What kind of knuckleheads, they will ask, are running that state?

Here’s what we called for, as recently as Monday: Do the whole magilla. Reform all five state retirement systems in one fell swoop because — count on it — there will be lawsuits challenging every necessary change. If the Legislature, with Gov. Pat Quinn’s backing, had reformed only two pension systems, as some in Springfield advocated, the inevitable court battles would make it impossible to reform the other three pension systems for years.

But we were chumps, too. We admit it. We thought there was a remote chance — what, maybe 5 percent? — that this one-day special session might actually get something good done.

Biss, a Democrat from Evanston, got it right.

Friday was a day when everybody in Springfield failed the people of Illinois — Quinn, Madigan, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, the whole crowd.

Friday was a day of equal opportunity idiocy.



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