My phone rang twice in less than an hour on Tuesday night. Both messages were long, loud campaign announcements from the same Illinois primary candidate offering to send someone to my house to put a sign on my lawn. Congratulations, Dr. Shah (Republican, 10th Congressional District). You are the first candidate to assault my evening peace and quiet with a campaign robocall.
Illinois is our most fiscally irresponsible state, courtesy of majority Democratic lawmakers who won't be happy until the Land of Lincoln becomes the first in the nation 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.
Illinois, an evolving fiscal catastrophe
Where to begin with this evolving fiscal disaster? Pensions that unions and public employees fight tooth and nail to keep in place even though the costs of 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?
Chicago epitomizes what’s wrong with the left
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 one of the most violence-ridden cities in the nation, a place where summer holiday weekends are celebrated with shootings. Emanuel is proud and fiercely protective of his town’s sanctuary policies, which makes Chicago and its appalling gun violence an easy target for Trump. Sadly, even Republican Governor Bruce Rauner endorsed the same dangerous permissiveness when he signed the sanctuary state bill, the Illinois Trust Act.
What is the Illinois category about?
This category covers the political and financial mess that my state has become. From pensions to taxes to angry teachers to careers ending in the slammer, this is Illinois.
In a state where everything political is offensive an already infamous campaign ad from gubernatorial hopeful Jeanne Ives raises the bar. This is a difficult feat in a state with a history of outrageous campaign spots that often have a tenuous connection to the facts. The truth is there is nothing particularly striking or distasteful about her ad except that it challenges national Democratic Party values the GOP allowed itself to be bullied into accepting.
Illinois and California share a lot of bad ideas. One is allowing their illegal residents to drive so they can easily get to work or school. Passing the Illinois driver’s license legislation was an enormous violation of the public trust even considering that the trust of taxpaying citizens is already a lost cause. Now our state is following California’s lead with SB 31, the Illinois TRUST Act.
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.
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.