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It’s no wonder so many Illinoisans remain in the dark on the severity of our pension crisis.

On October 6 Illinois published its 900-page Biennial Report on all 671 Illinois public pensions. It’s the state’s most comprehensive published data on pensions, both state and local. Critically, it showed that the pensions sank another $17 billion in the most recent year covered by the report — that’s the total increase in unfunded liabilities. For some perspective, that’s roughly half the annual state government’s entire budget.

Chief Investment Officer magazine has a story on it today. Illinois News Network had one last week. We wrote about it the day we saw it.

But not a single story on it has appeared in the regular media.

In the meantime, the state started to focus on its budget being out of balance by a couple billion dollars. Important as that is, it’s niggling compared to what’s really going on. Those pension losses are as real as any losses, yet they don’t appear in government budgets.

Coming up this week is Rahm’s budget address on Chicago. Expect him to claim his budget is balanced or nearly so. He always does. Pension losses will be ignored. The press will let him get away with it.

Mark Glennon is founder of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.

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J.A. Herzrent

It seems newsworthy. It ought to be of interest to those happy few who read and think and pay taxes. It’s complicated, but there are probably a few Medill grads with the mental horsepower and physical stamina to take this on. Even freelance, given the hiring budgets of newspapers that report on business and finance. They used to say of the Times: “all the news that fits, we print.” They used to say of Pravda that it was a shame that Russia didn’t have a free press. The evidence (or its lack) points to a “higher force” that decides what… Read more »


For some reason they are too scared to upset the Corrupt Mafia Thug Democrat Machine. Instead they cover anti Trump stories and NFL protests.

S and P 500

I think people know there’s a pension problem–they just don’t know how big it is. The LA Times ran a front-page series on the pension crisis in Ca. recently. Most people also don’t understand how pensions are funded. The stupidest comments come from K-12 teachers. They blast the state for giving public schools to the charter operators but they assume that these same lawmakers are managing their pensions with the utmost care and honesty.

Rex the Wonder Dog!

Mark- I suggested this to MaryPat Campbell for her website, and heck, you might give it a try too! You should start a survey on your website as to WHEN Illinios will go BK … Not officially, but when no one will buy their debt/bonds and they cannot pay their bills, a cash flow insolvency/BK. You can do it as a specific future date, with like a 2-4 week window of error, and have an Over/Under line to make it fun! IL is BORROWING money$$$, long term debt, to pay CURRENT operating expenses. That means BK is imminent. Anyone who… Read more »

S and P 500

“Anybody who buys Ill bonds needs their heads examined.”…

Not necessarily. Everybody is desperate for yields. No state has defaulted on its bonds yet as far as I know (except PR). The questions to ask are… does the bond issuer or Controller make a convincing case that bond payments will receive priority over the other state bills (such as fixing bridges or funding schools)? The buyers are likely to be funds like Franklin Templeton or Fidelity and eventually you the investor if you like high yield bond funds in your portfolio.


Commonly referred to as the abyssal zone. Always in the dark, never any light. Can’t understand if the abyssal zone is 5th floor of 121 N. Lasalle or the media or Chicago citizens…or all of them. I’d like to think Chicago taxpayers are in the abyssal zone, since 5th floor probably understands full well what is not being shown the light. Media? Just clueless.