Saying No to Divestment
If Chicago residents thought their elected leaders were taking our state and city’s well documented fiscal crisis seriously, they were robbed of that notion by Alderman John Arena’s plan to increase our debt while jeopardizing the health of the state’s various pension funds. His plan to divest the city and pension funds of all energy-related investments might make Arena feel good about himself. Unfortunately his plan will have no discernible effect on the environment, even while it imperils the future for state employees.
It’s no exaggeration to call Chicago’s balance sheet a “crisis.” The city is racking up debt at an alarming pace, and is already more than $25 billion dollars in the hole. The state has virtual junk-bond status, and is unable even to make $9.1 billion in interest payments on its outstanding pension obligations.
What will Arena’s divestment scheme accomplish, exactly? Even its most ardent proponents acknowledge only “symbolic” value to the environment, which in real-speak translation means zero. But, according to extensive economic analysis, our pension fund value will depreciate significantly. For the Municipal Employees Annuity & Benefit Fund of Chicago (MEABF), for instance, that’s a loss of between $25.1 – $34.4 billion.
I want and advocate for a clean environment. I also want healthy value on the contributions I’ve made to the pension fund these last several decades. I’m certainly not willing to allow politicians to gamble with my earnings.
Please, encourage our elected leaders to reject this divestment nonsense, and get busy solving real problems.
Illinois state pension holder