Failed state Illinois creating distraction from pension crisis by trying to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

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Failed state Illinois creating distraction from pension crisis by trying to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

[cap­tion id=“attachment_107052” align=“alignright” width=“300”] Lang’s Skokie office in 2006[/caption]

Illi­nois can­not cope with the present, let alone with the future, so it’s fight­ing a sym­bolic bat­tle from the past.

Here’s a lit­tle his­tory les­son: In 1972 Con­gress sub­mit­ted the Equal Rights Amend­ment to the state leg­is­la­tures, which read:

Sec­tion 1. Equal­ity of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Sec­tion 2. The Con­gress shall have the power to enforce, by appro­pri­ate leg­is­la­tion, the pro­vi­sions of this arti­cle.
Sec­tion 3. This amend­ment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

There was a rush of states falling over year other to rat­ify would have been the 27th Amend­ment before the seven-​year dead­line for pas­sage, which in an unprece­dented move, was extended by Con­gress for an addi­tional three years. Thirty-​five states – nearly all of them did so in the first year after con­gres­sional pas­sage – rat­i­fied the ERA. Then oppo­si­tion, led by con­ser­v­a­tive fire­brand Phyliss Schlafly, who iron­i­cally lived in Illi­nois at the time, focused on such con­cerns that in an ERA Amer­ica, women would be eli­gi­ble for a mil­i­tary draft and gender-​specific bath­rooms would be abolished.

[cap­tion id=“attachment_107056” align=“alignleft” width=“300”] Blog­ger with Schlafly in 2006[/caption]

Illi­nois did not rat­ify the ERA.

Three states, in a move never tested in a fed­eral court, later rescinded their rat­i­fi­ca­tions. No states rat­i­fied the ERA dur­ing the exten­sion period and the Equal Rights Amend­ment died in 1982, three states – or six – short of what was needed to be enacted.

Or did the ERA really die?

Last year, thirty-​five years after the dead­line expired, Nevada rat­i­fied the ERA. And last month the Illi­nois state Sen­ate voted to do the same. In the House, Rep. Lou Lang (D-​Skokie), who nom­i­nally rep­re­sents me in the lower cham­ber, is the spon­sor for the ERA there. It’s a pet cause of Lang, a con­sum­mate left-​wing polit­i­cal hack. He’s the House deputy major­ity leader, in real­ity, he’s the head waiter for House Speaker for Life Michael Madi­gan (D-​Chicago), who Reuters says is “the man behind the fis­cal fiasco in Illi­nois.” Where is Lang’s pen­sion fix? Illi­nois has one of the worst-​funded public-​worker pen­sion sys­tems of the fifty states. Its credit rat­ing is the low­est of any state ever. Why? Pen­sions of course. And those gen­er­ous retire­ment plans are in real­ity deferred com­pen­sa­tion in exchange for public-​sector union sup­port of the Demo­c­ra­tic Party. Yes, a cou­ple of Repub­li­can gov­er­nors, Jim Thomp­son and Jim Edgar, are also partly cul­pa­ble. Illi­nois’ pen­sion bomb, both at the state and local level, and the tax hikes to attempt to pay down that debt, are a mill­stone for the state and the rea­son the Prairie State is suf­fer­ing from declin­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Other than more tax increases, Lang has no solu­tion to solve the pen­sion cri­sis. And yes, he’s def­i­nitely part of the prob­lem as Lang has been a state leg­is­la­tor since 1987.

What to do?

If you’re Lang, you cre­ate a dis­trac­tion with a nos­tal­gic, for the left that is, fla­vor. Rat­ify the ERA. The Demo­c­ra­tic nom­i­nee for gov­er­nor, JB Pritzker, is on board.

Of course Con­gress could vote to pass, with iden­ti­cal word­ing, a new Equal Rights Amend­ment. Lang can just call his pal US Rep. Jan Schakowsky, his (and yes, my) rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the US House. She’s an even big­ger left­ist than he is. Then the states can have another go-​around. That’s what the our nation’s founders would want.

On the other hand, pass­ing an con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment is very dif­fi­cult to do. In 229 years it’s only been accom­plished 27 times. But the US Con­sti­tu­tion has in real­ity been amended thou­sands of times – by the courts. Same-​sex mar­riage was legal­ized in such a man­ner, as was abortion.

Other than mak­ing women eli­gi­ble for a mil­i­tary draft, what would the ERA do?

[cap­tion id=“attachment_107057” align=“alignright” width=“300”] Ruins of a LaSalle, Illi­nois bridge[/caption]

But that’s not the point. Lib­er­als are obsessed with symbolism.

After the 911 attacks author Tom Clancy expressed this notion bet­ter, telling Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “The polit­i­cal left is, you know, they deal in sym­bols rather than reality.”

The ERA is a symbol.

The gen­eral dif­fer­ence between con­ser­v­a­tives and lib­er­als is lib­er­als like pretty pic­tures and con­ser­v­a­tives like to build bridges that peo­ple can drive across,” Clancy con­tin­ued. “And con­ser­v­a­tives are indeed con­ser­v­a­tive because if the bridge falls down, peo­ple die. Where as the lib­er­als fig­ure, oh, we can always build a nice memo­r­ial to them and make peo­ple for­get it hap­pened and it was our fault. They’re very good at mak­ing peo­ple for­get it was their fault, all right.”

The ulti­mate blame for Illi­nois’ pen­sion deba­cle and the result­ing people-​drain lies with the left.

And Illi­nois is a col­lapsed bridge.

Will pass­ing the ERA make Illi­noisans feel better?

John Ruberry is a fifth-​generation Illi­noisan, who, with a 401(k) plan, is fund­ing his own retire­ment. He reg­u­larly blogs at Marathon Pun­dit.

Lang’s Skokie office in 2006

Illinois cannot cope with the present, let alone with the future, so it’s fighting a symbolic battle from the past.

Here’s a little history lesson: In 1972 Congress submitted the Equal Rights Amendment to the state legislatures, which read:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

There was a rush of states falling over year other to ratify would have been the 27th Amendment before the seven-year deadline for passage, which in an unprecedented move, was extended by Congress for an additional three years. Thirty-five states–nearly all of them did so in the first year after congressional passage–ratified the ERA. Then opposition, led by conservative firebrand Phyliss Schlafly, who ironically lived in Illinois at the time, focused on such concerns that in an ERA America, women would be eligible for a military draft and gender-specific bathrooms would be abolished.

Blogger with Schlafly in 2006

Illinois did not ratify the ERA.

Three states, in a move never tested in a federal court, later rescinded their ratifications. No states ratified the ERA during the extension period and the Equal Rights Amendment died in 1982, three states–or six–short of what was needed to be enacted.

Or did the ERA really die?

Last year, thirty-five years after the deadline expired, Nevada ratified the ERA. And last month the Illinois state Senate voted to do the same. In the House, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), who nominally represents me in the lower chamber, is the sponsor for the ERA there. It’s a pet cause of Lang, a consummate left-wing political hack. He’s the House deputy majority leader, in reality, he’s the head waiter for House Speaker for Life Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who Reuters says is “the man behind the fiscal fiasco in Illinois.” Where is Lang’s pension fix? Illinois has one of the worst-funded public-worker pension systems of the fifty states. Its credit rating is the lowest of any state ever. Why? Pensions of course. And those generous retirement plans are in reality deferred compensation in exchange for public-sector union support of the Democratic Party. Yes, a couple of Republican governors, Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar, are also partly culpable. Illinois’ pension bomb, both at the state and local level, and the tax hikes to attempt to pay down that debt, are a millstone for the state and the reason the Prairie State is suffering from declining population.

Other than more tax increases, Lang has no solution to solve the pension crisis. And yes, he’s definitely part of the problem as Lang has been a state legislator since 1987.

What to do?

If you’re Lang, you create a distraction with a nostalgic, for the left that is, flavor. Ratify the ERA. The Democratic nominee for governor, JB Pritzker, is on board.

Of course Congress could vote to pass, with identical wording, a new Equal Rights Amendment. Lang can just call his pal US Rep. Jan Schakowsky, his (and yes, my) representative in the US House. She’s an even bigger leftist than he is. Then the states can have another go-around. That’s what the our nation’s founders would want.

On the other hand, passing an constitutional amendment is very difficult to do. In 229 years it’s only been accomplished 27 times. But the US Constitution has in reality been amended thousands of times–by the courts. Same-sex marriage was legalized in such a manner, as was abortion.

Other than making women eligible for a military draft, what would the ERA do?

Ruins of a LaSalle, Illinois bridge

But that’s not the point. Liberals are obsessed with symbolism.

After the 9/11 attacks author Tom Clancy expressed this notion better, telling Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “The political left is, you know, they deal in symbols rather than reality.”

The ERA is a symbol.

“The general difference between conservatives and liberals is liberals like pretty pictures and conservatives like to build bridges that people can drive across,” Clancy continued. “And conservatives are indeed conservative because if the bridge falls down, people die. Where as the liberals figure, oh, we can always build a nice memorial to them and make people forget it happened and it was our fault. They’re very good at making people forget it was their fault, all right.”

The ultimate blame for Illinois’ pension debacle and the resulting people-drain lies with the left.

And Illinois is a collapsed bridge.

Will passing the ERA make Illinoisans feel better?

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Illinoisan, who, with a 401(k) plan, is funding his own retirement. He regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.