A top Obama adviser and Chicago’s public pension crisis

As Valerie Jarrett pulls down a six-figure salary serving in the Obama administration, she’s also helping to drive Chicago’s pension fund beyond the bounds of sustainability. Thomas Lifson reports for The American Thinker.

The City of Chicago is being fiscally devoured by pension obligations run up by politicians buying votes. Even with a record $543 million property tax increase, the city’s $20 billion debt to its pension funds will continue to grow for at least a decade. Pension costs overwhelm the city’s ability to deliver any actual services, and the tax increases necessary to pay for both services and pensions predictably could drive away businesses and residents, leaving behind another Detroit.

All of this abstract accounting talk doesn’t really help people grasp the nature of the looting going on in this Democrat stronghold. If only there were a way to follow Alinsky’s Rule #13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Wait a minute, how about Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s Supreme Consigliere, and, many believe, the de facto President of the United States, while the nominal POTUS plays golf, watches televised sports, and stays current with the latest TV shows and rap music.

Chris Fusco and Patrick Rehkamp report in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Jarrett was appointed CTA [Chicago Transit Authority] board chairman in 1995 by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. She left the $50,000-a-year part-time post in 2003 and began collecting her $35,660-a-year pension three years later, at 50 — the minimum age at which former board members can take their pensions.

Now 59, Jarrett had collected a total of $306,080 in pension payouts as of last summer, records show. That’s more than 27 times the $11,132 that she paid toward her board pension through payroll deductions from her CTA paychecks.

Besides her CTA pension, she makes $173,922 a year in her role as Obama’s senior adviser — a job she has held since his first term in the White House in 2009.

If she lives another 20 years – not an unreasonable lifespan by any means for someone receiving topnotch medical attention – Jarrett will end up taking a million bucks in pension payments for 8 years of part time work.

Why should anyone get decades’ worth of pension payments for a few years of part time work?

The Chicago families who are seeing their property tax bills skyrocket should be asking this question.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...