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.
At the end of another abysmal 12 months Illinois can finally declare without a doubt what its greatest accomplishment was in 2015: talk. Lots and lots of talk.
This time there was a Republican at the helm.
Bruce Rauner has been sitting in the governor’s seat for a year. Before predecessor Pat Quinn left office, he made a final State of the State address that boasted progress that was illusory at best and at worst destructively expensive, or at least would have been if his plans had gone anywhere.
Where best to start with everything happening in Illinois? Do we begin with more credit downgrades,1 two Republican ex-governors turning on Governor Bruce Rauner,2 or Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to scrape up $250,000 to fund a Chicago gun buyback program?3 Let’s set these aside for the moment and focus on something that perfectly defines the budget insanity in Illinois and proves Rauner is right about the urgency of a turnaround, no matter what the consequences are.