Sometimes the truth really hurts. It can hurt more than a smack in the mouth or a remark made during a campaign debate, like Chris Christie’s comment about a prominent teachers union deserving a punch in the face. For a lot of us who live in union-friendly cities and states, a punch in the face would be infinitely more pleasurable than having another bite taken from our incomes.
As the Illinois legislature is summoned back to Springfield to deal with the pension debt that lawmakers failed to fix last year, failed to fix last week, and will undoubtedly fail to fix again, why isn’t John Boehner hollering about the dangers of Illinois debt?
Was it a coincidence that our Vice President awarded medals to public safety employees¹ while the president threatened us with the consequences of losing public sector jobs because of sequester cuts? Mr. Obama is good at the propaganda game (see: Tricks From the Obama Disinformation and Propaganda Mill), but his condemnation of a “meat-cleaver approach”² to budget cuts has nothing to do with the jobs that will move the country forward and that most unemployed Americans are seeking.
Should North Dakota and Nebraska residents be lying awake at night, worrying about whether the federal budget crisis will mean less money flowing to states with crushing debt loads? States are just as concerned about the annual yuletide federal budget battle as you are, because in the Obama economy we share and share alike.
No matter what happens, politicians will always have our children’s future to fall back on. Kids are a time-honored secret weapon when budget reform battles resort to shaming the opposition into action, even though the strategy tends to fall apart when both sides rely on children to support their demands.
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?
When do our rights and liberties need an expiration date? Do gray areas need to be reconsidered and renewed every ten or twenty years? Once our government confers rights and freedoms those liberties are all but impossible to take away. Even rights that have no constitutional sanction, like collective bargaining rights for public employees or the guarantee of a prevailing wage conferred by the Davis-Bacon Act, become so entrenched that they stick to us like some very toxic glue that injures the common good.