Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and other conservatives said today that it would be a mistake for the federal government to consider bailing out states that are in danger of defaulting on massive pension liabilities. “The only way to force recalcitrant states to put fiscal reform on the table is for Congress to take state bailouts off of it,” said DeMint. “Congress must make plain that the taxpayers will not protect reckless state policymakers from the consequences of their policies.” DeMint was joined by Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman, whose state has nearly $170 billion in state pension debt. “Unfortunately, too few politicians are willing to make the necessary reforms to bring Illinois’ pension systems out of the danger zone,” Tillman said, noting that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) is counting on a federal bailout to cover the shortfall in state funds. Overall, officials say that state government pensions in the U.S. are unfunded by $2.5 trillion.