Blog: Pension Politics

Teachers unions have a complicated relationship with Wall Street and hedge funds.
Chicago is spending a lot of money to preserve a pension plan that isn’t serving its teachers very well.

America’s next president may bring substantial changes to Social Security, depending on who is elected. Both Republican and Democratic candidates have presented their ideas for change (or no change) at the last few debates. Current positions primarily focus on expansion or reduction, but so far haven’t mentioned workers who lack coverage.  

So what do the 2016 presidential candidates want to do to Social Security?  


  • Hillary Clinton says she will preserve benefits and enhance certain aspects of the program, such as benefits for vulnerable populations. She proposes lifting the payroll tax cap, broadening the tax base, and raising survivor benefits for groups such as widows and giving caregiver credits for those who have removed themselves from the workforce to care for children or ailing family members. 
  • Bernie Sanders proposes a broader expansion of the program with general increases to the minimum benefit and using a higher price index to make cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA) for more generous benefits. Similar to Clinton, Sanders also proposes lifting the current income cap, so that high-income individuals pay the same percentage on their income toward Social Security. Currently, high-income earners only need to pay Social Security taxes on a portion (the first $118,500) of their income. Sanders proposes lifting the cap, so that individual making over $250,000 will be taxed at the same percentage as other workers. 


Should federal funds designed to support the education of low-income students be diverted to paying down state pension debts? That’s the question behind a recent report from Stand for Children.
Teacher pensions are too important to millions of teachers to let the usual “say anything” approach to education policy issues cloud the debate.
Pension advocates call it a "feature, not a bug" that some small minority of educators receive quite generous benefits while everyone else gets much less.
Illinois is back to the drawing board after the state Supreme Court ruled a pension reform law unconstitutional.
Pension plans are opaque about how investment plan investment decisions are made, what sort of fees are paid on those investments, and how the investments perform over time.
How long will advocates continue to protect unequal and unfair teacher pension systems?
Thoughts on llinois Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed changes to the state's under-funded pension plans.