Talking the Talk, But Not Walking the Walk

Joe Walsh at McHenry West High School Town Hall Meeting. Cheryl Hammerand can be seen in the background.

It’s easy to talk the talk, but of two McHenry County politicians speaking out on pensions and health insurance, only one is walking the walk.

He is Republican Joe Walsh.

Jack Franks was featured on a front page article of the Northwest Herald about legislative pensions. (McHenry County Blog print

The millionaire was quoted thusly:

“If we are going to ask others to have their pensions reduced, we have to do ours as well.”

That Franks’ quote was right next to a newly snapped photo of me and the amount of my pension–$77,506.

The amount was first posted in the comment section on January 3rd of McHenry County Blog at the request of a commenter. It was under my article listing the top 50 legislative pensions, as revealed by Jim Tobin of National Taxpayers United of Illinois. (I didn’t make the top fifty.)

Sunday, the Daily Herald ran a big article Congressman Joe Walsh.

Before Walsh took office he announced that he would not take health insurance or participate in the congressional pension plan.

You may remember that many Republicans criticized Democrats backing Obamacare for not including themselves and their families in the same health benefit plan they were imposing on most other Americans.

Walsh is one who is walking the walk by paying for his family’s own health insurance.

Jack Franks

Maybe Franks is allowing some private enterprise to pay for his family’s health insurance, but, if so, he has not revealed that.

The end of the Northwest Herald article does reveal that Franks has not taken Joe Walsh’s congressional pension path, however.

Here’s the content:

“…as for what he is going to do with his pension once he’s eligible?

“’I don’t know. Good question,’”


Talking the Talk, But Not Walking the Walk — 14 Comments

  1. Joe Walsh refusing the healthcare plan, while commendable, it is merely symbolic. The cost is borne over the entire 435 representatives and the taxpayer cost does not go down if one elects out.

    My question to you Cal; do you get insurance through the state? Retired state employees have a super nice perk. I know the local government employees have to pay basically the same as COBRA

  2. So if you want Franks to walk the walk, are you also going to give up your pension?

  3. **What is Jack going to do with his State pension?**

    Huh? He’ll probably do the same thing as everyone else does with their pensions. What does Cal do with his pension, as he bashes other people’s pensions?

  4. The premise that a person receives a pension for less than 20 years of service is ludicrous. I read that the Legislature gets 85% at 20 years which is how Cal gets such a high pension. Many state pensions provide a pension for service as little as 5 years. I think IMRF is 8 years for vesting. This must stop. I see people leave the employment of one public agency and go to another only to obtain another pension. IMRF is the worse in that cops leave the ISP or local Pd’s and then get a job at the county, work eight years and get a second pension. JACK FRANKS, DAN DUFFY are you listening? Make vesting much longer to discourage double dipping.

    Franks Duffy won’t do anything as you have relatives that would be negatively affected by the change. Also the state insurance program must change. The State provides basically free family healthcare for life, for retirees. They should pay like anyone one else. I know some unions provide lifetime heath care. UAW, Operating Engineers, IEW Electrical Workers ( ATT- Com-Ed etc) but those perks are screeching to a stop. How long can the State support this.

    I suppose Cal Skinner also get this perk of free or nearly health insurance. Will you blog against it?

  5. My health insurance is the same as any other retired state employee.

  6. **My heath insurance is the same as any other retired state employee.**

    So you haven’t answered the question.

    You get free health insurance and a very nice pension. You expect Franks to “walk the walk,” yet you don’t expect the same of yourself.

    If you are going to continually bash the retiree benefits of public employees, are you going to give up your own benefits?

  7. Since Franks wants to be our congressman, it seems to me that he ought to be given the opportunity to follow the example of Joe Walsh, if he so desires.

  8. Dave, Cal is temporarily following the example of Melissa Bean who never directly answered a question, to make a point.

    To be fair once Bean directly answered a question and said she would move into the district and then never did.

  9. If politicians think that Minimum wage is a “living wage” then they should use that for their pensions! Pensions = paying people for doing nothing. I understand that it’s a benefit and something should be paid, but it shoudn’t be like winning the lottery (literally). If Cal collects on that for 20 years he will get $1.5M…getting a public job is literally like winning the lottery! The only exception is that it is forced upon the taxpayers while the lottery is a pay into the system optional system.

  10. Cal – still waiting for you answer.

    Since you think that public pensions and retiree health insurance are bad things, and since you continually rail against these things, and since you attempt to bash Jack Franks for not giving up his benefits, should we not expect the same from you?

    Are you going to give up your very generous retiree benefits?

  11. Yes, who is doing something symbolic and who would forgo collecting
    on their Social Security, even if the person were lucky enough to be enjoying one of those old style defined benefit plans.

    I drove a school bus for a while to learn first hand about transportation risks, para transit and the caliber of drivers entrusted with the safety of our school children. One fellow driver immediately accused me of trying to cash in on the generous IMRF pension plan

    Ross Perot, while grappling with the problem of too many baby boomers
    getting ready to retire and the funds akready having already been raided
    by overspending allowed by Congress and earmarks before they were called earmarks—- more like bringing home the bacon back to the district etc.

    Unfunded pensions remain a big problem for many legacy companies, perception and reality of public officials and some union groups unfairly padding their pensions====like Scholl District 300 and that town in California that finally caught the village manager and few others voting themselves huge unfair not based on loyal years of service pensions or
    gokden parachutes.

    As each retiree decides if they should wait to get SS benefits at the early age, say 62 or wait to get full benefits, rougly 25% at the age of 67,
    are they any persons well off and content to waive off their SS benefit?
    Could a generation skipping arrangement be feasible? Thus a retiree who did not need their SS, could get a benefit in place for his grandchildren===
    applying a formula that would be actuarirly sound with the benfits going to a grand child for bona fide higer education?

    Yes this is a strectch but I would not expect anyone to simply pass on the benefits.

    I see so many business people working hard and taking what amounts to a pay cut==== cut the pay and cut back the benefits of our elected officials.
    Align the benfits so that term limits would be followed voluntarily.

    If you earned a pension, be thankful and keep it and voluntarily invest in the next generation.

  12. Rough draft and bad spellings—on prior post ( new keyboard )

    —Ross Perot asked someone earning a $60,000 per year pension to consider
    giving up or not applying for their SS benefit— the caller politely declined that proposal.

    Actuaries may compute the figure, yet it would be rather rare for a working man
    to give up an entitlement or a perceived earned pension.

    I would support ending that greedy double dipping—- and some other well known
    boards that pay well to political cronies but have no real operating benefits or duties.

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