Let’s get something straight: Squeezy the Pension Python isn’t in Wisconsin

Meet Illinois Governor Quinn’s Squeezy the Python. He’s supposed to symbolize that state’s mismanaged pension fund placing the squeeze on every other Illinois government program. As ridiculous as this looks, I did not go out of my way to create an orange joke snake for Illinois. This is real. Here’s the accompanying video from Gov. Quinn.

I’d just like to make double sure everybody is reminded that there is no comparable pension python in Wisconsin because Wisconsin’s pension is fully funded (I’m not really going to dig into the Illinois pension which I know little about).

Why worry about a ridiculous cartoon south of the border, you may be asking. I guess once you’ve found national outlets conflating pension problems that emanate from outside your state with any old location for months, you get a little worried.

Take a look at this:
Scott Walker Won Because He Took Action Against Soaring Pension Costs
by Zachary Karabell
Jun 6, 2012 2:02 PM EDT

The Wisconsin governor rammed through legislation that cut soaring pension costs and entitlement funds…”

You might think this is Daily Beast’s usual regurgitated right wing spin, and you might be correct. But it’s not the only site that used the Walker recall opportunity to launch anti-pension messaging.
Here are a few more that came out around June 5th:

“Walker victory a ‘tipping point’ in public sector union pension reform” source=Human Events

“Gov. Walker’s big win could fuel Pa. pension reform” source=PennLive

“As Unions Reel, Pension Reforms Gain Support” source=ABCnews

Now take a look at this map which shows percent of pension funding. It’s from the “This is My Illinois” facebook page and it should remind you why this whole pension-busting stuff is utterly misapplied when it comes to Wisconsin:

<img src="http://www.bluecheddar.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/pension-fund-map-from-illinois.png" alt="" title="pension fund map from illinois"

Actually that map is not quite accurate.
The Wisconsin pension fund is funded to 108% –
as you can see in a map from Pew below. In case there’s some confusion, the money that went into that fund came from public workers who chose that deferred manner of getting compensated instead of getting it through a biweekly check.

One of the big reasons that Wisconsin’s fund excels nationally is its flexibility which, to be crystal clear, existed well before Scott Walker bedazzled enough of the Wisconsin voters for enough of the hours in the election cycle of 2010.

This screen capture comes from the June 2012 study on our pension fund:

That’s all I have for you on snakes and pensions for some time to come (I hope).


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