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Sound Familiar? O/t

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by bigdogtx, Jan 3, 2010.

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  1. bigdogtx

    bigdogtx Well-Known Member

    Aug 5, 2006
    Just change Illinois to America and you can see where heading!!!!

    Splurge. Borrow. Repeat.

    You're a deadbeat, an astonishing $4.9 billion overdue in paying your bills. You owe much of that for services that were provided many months ago by people who, day in and day out, care for your ailing, handicapped and often helpless fellow citizens.

    You're also -- sorry to be blunt -- inept. You repeatedly spend more than you earn and borrow to fill the gap. This year you'll outspend your income by some $12 billion.

    In the process you've embraced debts that could plague your descendants after you're dead and gone. Examples: You've bizarrely promised your workers some $80 billion more in pension payouts than you can afford. What's more, you've promised them additional billions that you don't have for their health care after they retire.

    Sure, you can delude yourself and pretend these obligations belong not to you but to your faceless state government. That's bogus. State government is really a checking account; it collects, and spends, tax dollars. If you're an Illinois citizen, these massive shortfalls are your obligations.

    Halt right there. Ask yourself how many more billions in debt you'll blithely take on in the near future -- if you don't immediately change how you do business. That may mean you have to fire some people you hired to manage your money and provide for your most vulnerable fellow citizens.

    Your money managers are the politicians who run Illinois. Many of them have failed you spectacularly. What will you do now?

    -- -- --

    Your state is in dreadful shape financially -- well on its way to being New Michigan or, worse, New California. Don't take our word. Here's what Moody's Investors Service said Dec. 8, citing a lack of political willpower here to fix deficits as reason for downgrading Illinois' bonds. That downgrade can only make all the borrowing more expensive for taxpayers. Among states, only California's bonds now are rated lower. A heavy paragraph with a gloomy message:

    "Moody's also has revised the outlook for (Illinois general obligation bond) and related ratings to negative, reflecting the continuing likelihood of large structural budget deficits, growing negative year-end fund balances, strained operating fund liquidity and mounting pressure from pension and retiree health benefit obligations."

    Yet as 2010 dawns, many of your pols have an incredible deal for you: Yes, they've made you insolvent -- that means you can't pay your bills as they come due -- but they promise to make everything spiffy if you re-elect them. They will pay down your debts, which they manufactured in your name. To that end, they want you to hand them even more of your income in . . . taxes.

    -- -- --

    We have watched those politicians in recent years create ever more obligations for taxpayers -- yet also spent citizens' money in ways that defy common sense. Many public officials are so terrified of bucking public employees unions and other interest groups that they've ducked crucial decisions: to reduce pension benefits for future state hires, to move Medicaid patients to managed care, to demand consolidation of small school districts, to outsource costly internal functions like janitorial and food services . . . The list of money-saving moves private companies long ago would have made goes on and on.

    One result of the pols' chronic refusal to respect the public's money as if it was their own: Officials of this state, and too many county governments, deliver greater loyalty and more secure futures to their public employees than they deliver to the citizens who pay their salaries. That's unjust.

    -- -- --

    Illinois pols cannot ask for more in taxes until they reform how they spend the tens of billions they already collect each year. Trouble is, many of the candidates for governor and for legislative seats see more revenue as the paramount remedy.

    That is, having dug a deep hole, they want to fill it with more of your tax dollars -- while simultaneously digging the hole deeper.

    Gov. Pat Quinn, meeting with the Tribune editorial board, opened a discussion of the state budget with a narrow statement that the General Assembly "needs to address the revenue issue." Hiking taxes is Quinn's Job One. His primary election opponent, Comptroller Dan Hynes, wants a tax-raising constitutional amendment that couldn't produce a cent of new revenue until 2011.

    Candidate Andrew McKenna, by contrast, often blends into his answers the sobering phrase, "Given the resources we have . . ." He would freeze spending at 2006 levels for a few years in order to pay down Illinois' huge debts and unfunded obligations. Dan Proft, one of McKenna's Republican opponents, would halve the state income tax, shave billions in spending immediately -- and then forbid future spending hikes that exceed the rate of population growth plus inflation. State Sen. Kirk Dillard talks of raising revenue by encouraging employment -- his Project Green Tape would cut the cost of doing business by streamlining regulatory processes, re-examining fee increases from the Rod Blagojevich era and recalibrating Illinois' unemployment and worker's compensation taxes. Jim Ryan, a fourth Republican, realistically observes that, "We need a governor capable of saying 'No.' " That governor, Ryan says, is in for a "fight."

    What suffuses these comments is a businesslike understanding that McKenna put succinctly: The people of Illinois deserve to be told that, "Every day, we're living beyond our means. . . . The old preconceptions have to be thrown out."

    -- -- --

    Those preconceptions include the notion that Illinois citizens exist for the primary purpose of supporting 7,000 governments, about 2,000 more than in any other state. In the 21st century, taxpayers are supporting a vast architecture of Illinois governments engineered for the needs of the 19th -- obsolete townships, tiny sewer districts that should merge into larger ones, mosquito abatement and other so-called special districts.

    Another loopy preconception that needs to be jettisoned: That Illinois can sustain itself by continuing to borrow. Today's Illinois borrows from future generations by burying them in debt, and in effect borrows from its own suppliers and providers by not paying them money they're owed. Today's Illinois even borrows from itself: The sometimes acceptable practice of short-term lending repeatedly has been overused and abused. The result is a Ponzi scheme on speed that pays yesterday's costs with money borrowed today and due back, with interest, tomorrow.

    On Feb. 2, Illinois voters have a choice. (November 2010, Americans have a CHOICE)

    We can raise up our little porridge bowls and ask for more of the same.

    Or we can demand that public officials aggressively streamline their governments and how they do business.
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