Kentucky Pension Battle: Why Unions, Leftist Enablers, and Corruption Don’t Mix

matt bevin KY pension

In 2015, current Kentucky governor Matt Bevin(R) was elected in a landslide victory (53-44); a victory which would, in many ways, be echoed by president Trump’s just a year later. Only weeks before the election, liberal papers like The Lexington Herald Leader and The Courier Journal released polls showing Bevin trailing his Democrat opponent Jack Conway by an average of 5 points (even though he ended up winning by 9). This 14 point “mistake” is simply another example of how the liberal (this is such a dishonest word; let’s use “Marxist” or “authoritarian” instead) media establishment attempts to influence policy through outright lies, misdirection and good old fashioned corruption. And, of course, they are doing it again with the pension crisis solution currently being offered by the governor and his fellow Republicans.

Governor Bevin ran on a platform that included saving the pension system in Kentucky; a system that has accrued massive unfunded liabilities of a magnitude that will conspire to bankrupt the state in the very near future if left unchecked. Unsustainable, unrealistic promises, perks, and pretensions have been piled on top of one another over a period of many years by corrupt legislatures “in bed” with unions & “big education” to the tune of around $64 billion — with no end in sight.

How does something like this happen? For years, Democrats have run the state government of Kentucky — decades upon decades. Republicans only recently attained the ability to effect any significant change to these broken systems in 2016; having taken back control of the House of Representatives in the state for the first time in 95 years. Bevin, himself, is only the third Republican governor in the Bluegrass since World War II. In all that time, under Democrat control, these pension promises were continually negotiated and enacted in cooperation with organized labor leaders (union bosses), staunch allies of the left, culminating in the current mess we see today. It was the Democrat controlled legislature which included clauses like “may fund” rather than “must fund” into the pension law; allowing them to under-fund their own promises to teachers and teacher unions (their own constituents), in order to (recklessly) spend on other projects tied to the general fund. And yet … these groups, like lemmings walking over a cliff, kept voting them in.

According to a 2010 GALLUP survey, unionized state and local government employees are twice as likely to vote Democrat as they are Republican. This majority of teachers (and the unions they belong to and support) who lobbied for, contributed to, and voted for the candidates who made these false promises, lied to the people, and gutted the state treasury are just as much to blame as the politicians who perpetrated the acts themselves. And now those same people are angry that the pie in the sky lies they bought into are crashing (hard) into reality. One southern Kentucky news organization published the following thought on the matter:

“They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Instead of re-imagining our state’s failing pension system through a structural overhaul, some interest groups want little or no changes to the way our system has been operating. That is a recipe for failure considering our $64+ billion in unfunded pension liabilities and the exponential year after year growth of our debt. Recognizing that this system is unsustainable and unsustainable systems provide no peace of mind to retirees is crucial to having a reasonable discussion on the issue.

Two questions that public sector union employees should be asking of organized labor bosses are, “If the current defined benefit plans work so well, why are Kentucky’s plans in such dire straits?”, and “Will the state magically get the funding right?” The answer to both questions is obvious … The alternative is to do nothing and to careen closer to insolvency. And we are very close to that cliff. Depending on the strength of the economy, in three to five years, the first system will run out of cash. THAT is the frightening scenario that should keep retirees up at night.”

In a democratic republic, exercising the right to vote is exercising political force. What many on the left are unable to accept, or maybe even comprehend, is that with such power comes the “unfortunate” burden of responsibility. It is the duty of voters to wield their political force, their vote, with careful thought, prudence, and self-restraint. Do people believe that just because they vote for politicians who promise to pay everyone in the state a gazillion dollars a year that it will (and must) become reality? Is that any more likely to happen than voting for a troop of actual unicorns and fairies to dance and sing at your birthday party? If you get angry when those unicorns and fairies don’t show up, repeating over and over again that “they promised us!” … are you a fool?

You can view the governor’s comments on the pension crisis in the video above and see PDF versions of the proposed legislative fixes by clicking here. Let us know your thoughts about this or any other current issues on Facebook or in the comments below.

About Patrick Stephens 163 Articles
Patrick is the founder and lead editor of the publication. Currently a pastor of many years by trade, Patrick served in the US Army and did his graduate work at both Miami University in Oxford, OH (Social Sciences) and the University of Dayton (Theology) — earning an advanced degree. He enjoys bringing a larger historical and philosophical perspective to his projects. Also, he likes comic books.