As Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other lawmakers try to extract that kind of money from Illinoisans, they'll fail, for the simple reason that the amounts have become overwhelming. Too many households don't have the means, while others won't stick around to pay for it. They'll just leave.
And as Illinoisans leave, the shadow mortgage on those who remain will jump. The crisis will only deepen.
The shadow mortgage
A simple calculation based on Moody's state and local retirement debts puts the shadow mortgage each Illinois household is on the hook for at $90,000. That's what you get when you divide Illinois' $424 billion in retirement debts (see appendix) by the state's 4.8 million households.
But $90,000 is not a real number. Too many families in Illinois don't have the means to take on that kind of debt. So the real burden on households with the means to pay is much higher.