Whoever said that politics is about solutions? Politics is about competition and conflict. It’s about grabbing as much power as you can. It has nothing to do with the right, wrong, or any other way. It’s about butting heads and coming out the winner. That’s why Illinois’ state budget crisis is perfect politics. Springfield found a way to turn the budget into an absolutely insoluble problem, a crisis so perfect that all it does is serve the needs of entrenched state politicians.
The most fiscally irresponsible state in the nation is Illinois, courtesy of majority Democratic lawmakers in Springfield who won’t be happy until their state becomes the first to be allowed to declare bankruptcy. At least there is bipartisan agreement on political corruption. Both parties share the blame for governors going to prison.
Where to begin with this evolving fiscal disaster? Pension reform, something unions and public employees are fighting tooth and nail to block even though the costs of unfunded retirements are unsustainable and saddle taxpayers with unmanageable debt? Irresponsible social policies that cost too much money? Political corruption and waste? How about tax policies bent on extracting every dime from anyone who works and giving the proceeds to everyone who doesn’t?
You can’t discuss Illinois politics without focusing on Chicago, a train wreck of a city fighting tooth and nail to follow Detroit into bankruptcy. Rahm Emanuel skipped out of Obama’s White House to lead what has become one of the most violence-ridden cities in the nation, a place where Independence Day weekend was celebrated with over 80 shootings. With a mayoral election on the horizon, even Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis is talking about challenging Emanuel’s leadership. Will putting a union boss who helped run up city pension debt in charge save this urban disaster from the fiscal pit?
This category covers the political and financial mess that my state has become. From pensions to taxes to careers ending in the slammer, this is Illinois.
Like many in Illinois with a job and money to lose, I am waiting for the hammer to fall. The state Senate’s failing “grand bargain” is a bad omen for those of us who have lived here a long time and know what it portends. Sooner or later a tax increase is coming. It will likely be a big one.
School teachers in Chicago are angry again. Lots of different things tick them off, especially after their union stirs them up and incites them to protest in ridiculous red shirts.
The release of an email from Bruce Rauner written years before he became governor that suggested Chicago teachers have a literacy problem escalated the war over money for the city’s debt-ridden, underperforming educational bureaucracy.
Are you resigned to Illinois being a Democratic Party oligarchy, or do you still believe that our state’s feeble nod to representative government can survive? Regardless of where you stand, the blame for school funding cuts and other fiscal torments can only be laid in one place: at the feet of the people.