In a recent interview on New England Cable News, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was asked about Illinois’s pension cuts, which were much milder than Rhode Island’s more draconian version.* (The key bit starts at 11:35.) She did not mince her words. Calling pensions “a promise,” Senator Warren made it clear how she felt about breaking that promise:
The idea to come in and say, “Oops! We’re really sorry about that, but we’re going to have to cut the pension,” I just think is fundamentally the wrong approach.
Warren went on to excoriate pension fund managers for hedge fund investments, warning that many pension funds made a “big mistake…when they invested in one of the big hedge funds that it turned out fooled them about how much that investment was going to be worth and ended up taking a bunch of money from them.”
Often we hear Raimondo apologists pretend that slashing pensions or dumping retirees’ money into hedge funds is the progressive thing to do. Fortunately, we have Elizabeth Warren to destroy those arguments with her signature passion, poise, and (presidential) gravitas.
*Illinois has a similar conservative Democrat problem to Rhode Island, albeit on a much smaller scale. Perhaps the most famous example of this is when Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan attended a fundraiser for John Boehner. Interestingly, when Raimondo’s husband was on its board, the corporate charter school outside money group Stand for Children worked very hard to elect conservative Democrats in Illinois.