Illinois leaders want a $10 billion reward for decades of kicking pension debt down the road

Illinois leaders want a $10 billion reward for decades of kicking pension debt down the road

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, pictured last month at the opening of a sports book at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, wrote a letter than includes a $41 billion request from the feds for pension relief. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Senate Democrats are just using the COVID-19 crisis to get billions from the feds.

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste,” former Mayor Rahm Emanuel once said. It is one of his most famous quotes.

Now the Chicago Sun-Times reports that “Illinois Senate Democrats are asking the federal government for more than $41 billion in federal aid — about a quarter of it for a pension fund bailout…”.

What a terrific idea! Let’s use the COVID-19 crisis to erase the pension debt incurred by the state through many years of “kicking the can down the road.”

Christine Craven, Evergreen Park

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Stay-at-home protestors make no sense

The handful of people in Springfield who protested stay-at-home orders seem to think that since their communities don’t have COVID-19 cases, the orders are unnecessary.

They don’t seem to understand that it’s likely the other way around: their communities don’t have infections because of the stay-at-home order.

One wonders if these same people think it’s smart to throw away umbrellas when a storm is coming because at the moment they are dry.

Benjamin Recchie, Little Italy

Tackling inequality after COVID-19

COVID-19 has exposed us once again to the tale of two cities.

The alarming statistics on the unacceptable percentage of positive testing and deaths in the African American community reminds us that the West and South sides have experienced quarantine and “social distancing” from investment and opportunity for decades.

These communities are now more vulnerable. As the old saying goes, when downtown catches a cold, the South and West sides get pneumonia.

Food deserts, unemployment, underfunded schools, lack of affordable housing, lack of access to health and mental health care — these are just some of the root causes of the violence that continues to soar despite a pandemic.

Will we as a country, state, and city have the courage to equalize the playing field and change the reality that has become an acceptable norm? The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said that desegregation and voting rights didn’t cost America anything, but ending poverty will cost trillions.

After this pandemic, we will be told that federal, state and city government are broke. We are spending billion of dollars to help America through COVID-19. We now must find the money to end the social distancing of communities on the South and Wwest sides, and end the viruses of poverty and violence.

Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, senior pastor, Faith Community of St. Sabina, Auburn Gresham

A “strongman” who hoodwinks the gullible

I’ve been scratching my head as to why so many Americans have been taken in by this conman of a president, but Gene Lyons hit it right on the head.

Lyons writes “When nobody can be trusted…the strongman is your only alternative.” After years of conservative Republicans criticizing, bemoaning and demonizing government and our political system, they succeeded in the election of their “strongman.”

In reality, Trump is a paper tiger. He changes positions with the wind, cares only about himself and his interests, and thinks bravado and insults are examples of strength. Unfortunately, like Lyons says, frightened and gullible people can be easily hoodwinked.

Dennis Gorecki, Orland Park

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