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Fred Klonsky’s blog has a big following with unions, progressives and folks further left.

His article today is basically right on its main point, which is that Madigan and the Democrats running the General Assembly aren’t very serious about passing a progressive income tax. They could have tried to have the needed constitutional amendment on the ballot this November but didn’t. They’re just pushing the buttons progressives want to hear. That’s why progressives should want J.B. Pritzker, who is serious about a progressive tax, to put up a specific proposal, Fred writes.

So far so good.

The idea for the tax, Fred says, actually came from “those of us fighting for our promised pension benefits…, adequate school funding and in defense of social programs.”

That’s true, too.

But what’s the specific tax proposal Fred wants? The one we wrote about yesterday from the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability which they admit would raise only $2 billion (supposedly).

Sorry, Fred, but $2 billion, even if it all went to your pensions, wouldn’t even be enough to cover the shortfall in interest pensions are effectively bearing. In other words, it wouldn’t even halt the growth in unfunded liabilities.

If it went entirely to the school funding you say you’re fighting for, it wouldn’t cover the new formula that’s already law (which requires at least $2 billion more per year within six years to reach “adequacy.”). It would barely dent financial hemorrhaging going on, as we described in that article yesterday, or pay for anything else on anybody’s wish list.

Fred Klonsky
Fred Klonsky

I was initially attracted to Fred’s site some years ago by his tagline, “just looking at the data.” Just what I wanted — a serious progressive viewpoint on the data.

Then I read it.

-Mark Glennon is founder and executive editor of Wirepoints.

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Char siu

Fred writes very well for an art teacher. He claims to be progressive and so long as you limit the definition of the progressive movement to safeguarding union members pensions, he is a progressive. His ilk are the problem. They will hold out to the last man to safeguard their pensions, but how will they be paid? My kids are both smart, likely high earners (one graduates from engineering school this May) and plan on moving elsewhere. We will likely follow them. You pensions are a promise made to you by liars. They need to own that fact and start… Read more »


Not one mention of taxing retirement income?! That doesn’t sounds very progressive at all! He’s just looking at his wallet, I suppose.