Print Friendly, PDF & Email

September 27, 2013

You’ve been lied to. Pension supporters and public employee unions have long gotten away with claiming average pension payments are in the thirty to forty thousand dollar range. That was dishonest.  Those averages include pensioners who worked part of their careers in jobs not covered by the pension, part time workers and early retirees.  Those retirees have additional retirement income from other sources. The relevant averages are for people who work a full thirty years in a job covered by the pension system. They are excessive.  Keep in mind as you look at these that the mean household income in Illinois is just $57,000:

That’s what they get for the rest of their lives, plus healthcare, automatic annual increases irrespective of inflation and survivors’ benefits. This chart was compiled by the Illinois Policy Institute using numbers published by the pensions themselves. Their full report on average pensions is here.  As usual, expect to see ad hominem rejection of their work.  Instead of responding with facts, their critics habitually dismiss them as right wingers or fringe libertarians.  In fact, they provide the most professional, objective research available on state fiscal matters, and it’s a scandal in itself that the state does not undertake the same research they do. Every lawmaker in the state should read that report. Every voter, too.


Mark Glennon

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Your average is for this year, not the entire retired group. And no, we do not get our insurance paid for. SHeeeesh?????????

Mark Glennon
Anonymous- Yes, those averages are for this year. Presumably, some recent, previous retirees get even more than those averages because they get “COLAs” irrespective of inflation, but most are no doubt lower. I say “presumably” because nobody has published clear numbers on that. I’ve been very clear that reform efforts ought to distinguish reasonable pensions from excessive ones, yet neither the pension reform committee nor anybody else has even tried. I’ll say it again, older retirees with reasonable pensions that bear a rational connection to the salaries they earned, who didn’t spike or double dip, ought to be fully protected if possible. The longer real reform is… Read more »
Mark Glennon, The link you posted goes to the Illinois Policy Institute – an extreme anti-labor organization. (And the report at the Illinois Policy Institute site has apparently been moved so the link is broken) You are going to have find a source of information not so obviously biased to support your contention that these pensions are too generous. Articles like yours are pushing the conservative agenda that pensions are simply unsustainable in our current economy / business environment. What you fail to explain is how corporate profits can be so high while at the same time those corporations are failing to pay their workers a living… Read more »