There are two kinds of taxpayers in Illinois. The first endorses the stupidity cooked up in Springfield, no matter the consequences. The second kind of taxpayer knows better, endorses responsible fiscal policy, and understands that it is time to get out of a state doomed by debt (see: Live in Illinois? Get Out Now). Both kinds of taxpayers should get what they deserve.
Election confirms it: Illinois is finished.
The election stuck Illinois taxpayers with veto-proof Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature. Redistricting worked its magic. Republican Joe Walsh was a notable federal election casualty, though the congressman could have chosen a better role model for his public pronouncements on the right to life than Todd Akin.
Too many Illinois residents bent to big labor and government employees and said no to HJRCA 49, the public pension amendment that would have put some restraints on attempts to hike public employee retirement benefits. The only consolation is that given the partisan makeup of the legislature the amendment would probably have turned out to be little more than an annoyance to be shoved aside when the urge to spend on public pensions returns (see: Investing in Education Obama Style Is a Bad Budget Choice).
Get away from Illinois debt. There is still time.
The Democratic Party rules Illinois, but the guilty are state residents who keep the party in power. When Illinois put up its “Save Our State!” website, responsible taxpayers and businesses should have taken the hint. We need to get out and get out now, before state lawmakers decide to wall us in until every penny we have is taxed away and tossed into the stinking pit of public pension debt.
Refugee camps for fiscally responsible Illinois taxpayers?
States with more favorable business climates and manageable debt have been beckoning Illinois companies since the 2011 income tax hike. What about those of us who work, pay our taxes, do not qualify for public pensions, and know that the end of Illinois is here? When things get bad enough and we start to flee over the border in droves, perhaps states wishing to compete for our tax dollars could offer vouchers for hotel rooms or free meals while we search for a place to live. When the weather is warm Wisconsin could set up Illinois taxpayer refugee camps, tent cities to live in just until we find work and get back on our feet. Let’s face it. After Springfield has had its way with us we will arrive broke, disheveled, and thankful we have our shorts left to stand in. We will need all the help we can get. Illinoisans are resilient, though, and will repay the favor once we have escaped to a better place.
What do those who support Illinois debt deserve?
Sooner or later, residents who helped ensure that the Madigan and Cullerton contingents can carry on unchallenged will find that the jobs in Illinois have vanished because the businesses have departed. Responsible residents will be happily paying taxes to other states, where their money can go to something other than public pensions and debt. What will happen to those who stay behind?
Someone has to pay for government services, employee salaries, and the lavish benefits mandated by Springfield lawmakers. For state residents who do not have jobs or pay taxes but demand that the handouts keep coming, times will be especially tough. When Illinois public officials can no longer keep the water running, the streetlights lit, the neighborhoods policed, and the classrooms taught perhaps FEMA can help out, though post-Katrina and Sandy experiences might put the agency’s abilities in a crisis up for dispute.
Perhaps Illinois can qualify for a federal fiscal disaster bailout of some sort. Given that we are stuck with Barack Obama for four more years the state will still have a sympathetic ear in the White House. Of course, when the president finishes the economic ruin he started during his first term there might not be a state in the nation worth inhabiting, but for now there are better places to live than Illinois. One thing we know for certain. Illinois debt is beyond fixing and its government, irresponsible politicians, and wrongheaded voters are not worth a second thought. They can bathe in Illinois debt, spend their last dimes on public pensions, and wait for Obama to save them. The rest of us will be living our lives somewhere else.
Update, November 10, 2012:
One more thing . . .
Brainless politicians in Illinois, California, or any state counting on a federal bailout might want to read the opening to Thursday’s Congressional Budget Office Report on government debt and the deficit:
Federal debt held by the public exceeds 70 percent of the nation’s annual output (gross domestic product, or GDP)—a percentage not seen since 1950 …¹
This is not new information, but the only ones who can address debt and spending know that there is little political value in solving problems. So what comes next? Will state governments have to seal off their taxpayers so they can’t escape until the bills are paid, or will Washington decide to quarantine debt hotspots like Illinois to save the rest of the country?