Two Questions: Could Illinois File Bankruptcy? Why Vote for Tax-Raising Politicians?

Written by John Biver

The news headlines these days should destroy forever the use of the cliché “it can’t get any worse” when the topic is Illinois politics – and that includes Republican, Democrat, fiscal, etc.

The first question in the above headline is from a very unsurprising CBS News report about just how bad things are in Illinois. A few excerpts from the article:

A financial crunch is spiraling into a serious problem for Illinois lawmakers, prompting some observers to wonder if the state might make history by becoming the first to go bankrupt. At the moment, it’s impossible for a state to file for bankruptcy protection, which is only afforded to counties and municipalities like Detroit.

Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection could be extended to states if Congress took up the issue, although Stanford Law School professor Michael McConnell noted in an article last year that he believed the precedents are iffy for extending the option to states. Nevertheless, Illinois is in a serious financial pickle, which is why radical options such as bankruptcy are being floated as potential solutions.

Ratings agency Moody’s Investor Service earlier this month downgraded Illinois’ general obligation bonds to its lowest investment grade rating, citing the state’s growing pile of unpaid bills and its mounting pension deficit. Illinois, by the way, has the lowest credit rating of any state. Lower ratings mean higher borrowing costs, since lenders view such borrowers as riskier bets.

Ignore the law professors and all the legal talk. Mathematical reality trumps both the law and those with legal backgrounds. Their understanding of politics and dollars is worthless. A good plumber understands physics better than many lawyers understand economics.

I encourage you to read the rest of that CBS report. Citing the important facts that it includes would make this post way too long.

If that isn’t bad enough, here are headlines from three days in a row for you:

Illinois Republicans reveal new budget plan with tax hikes, say Rauner supports it

Rauner calls special session, says he supports new GOP plan that includes $5 billion in tax hikes

Proposed GOP tax increase would continue outmigration and backfire politically, some warn

Click on them, if you dare, and read the ugly details.

I have appreciated the forthrightness of State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington), who has refused to remain silent, for well over a year, when it comes to how Governor Rauner has botch things up. Yes, GOP’s own, Bruce Rauner.

His “let’s not pass a budget and crash the state” gambit I’m sure is seen as clever by the fools that he counts as advisers. Let me assure you it is not. If we do not pass a budget in the coming weeks – that alone will prove my point. No ground has been gained. Massive fiscal ground has been lost as the state of Illinois spends more than $10 million a day over and above tax revenues. And the public is as uninformed as it was before Rauner and his feckless advisers spent tens of millions of dollars on stupid TV ads.

Here is some background you may have missed. The conservative Illinois Policy Institute evidently has had it with Governor Bruce Rauner and General Assembly Republicans. Good for IPI. They’re holding to principle — which is mathematical and fiscal reality — and the best policy course for the vast majority of hard-working poor and middle class Illinoisans. In other words, those without the kind of job security, health care benefits, and pension enjoyed by government employees.

If you’re not disgusted enough at this point, be sure to read Thomas Lifson’s great post over at one of the best websites out there, American Thinker:

Illinois taxpayers fund golden parachute for university president resigning amid scandal investigation

With all due respect, our Republican elected officials seem to think that because of the very fact that they have been elected, they have obtained an ability and a wisdom that is somehow unavailable to us little people.

Unfortunately, it is not true.  Not true at all.

The proof is seen every few years as a new batch of good men and women get elected to the General Assembly and then proceed to be absorbed by the system. They still may think right ideologically, but they fail in ways that only slightly differ from those bad people they unseated.

Bad governing continues to be the norm. Which means their tenure cannot be measured as a success.

Illinois now devotes nearly 25 percent of its state budget to the state worker pensions.” How, exactly, is that complicated?

Here is another recent Illinois Policy Institute headline:

Illinois’ Pension Debt Grew by 25B During 2011 Income Tax Hike

How is this possible? Ladies and gentlemen, it’s just the fundamentals. Sometimes those who rise to power and influence aren’t, for all their other abilities, able to know enough about how to govern. I know you’re shocked at that statement. All kidding aside, I know you’re not.


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Modified by Matthew Medlen.com