Sunday, August 01, 2010

Singing the Illinois Blues
Living in the state of Illinois these days means being faced with many unpleasant questions and realities. Among them are:

1) Is ex-governor Rod Blagojevich going to spend time behind bars, as most expect, or will the slimy weasel somehow get a jury to believe that he was just a stupid guy who was a bad judge of character? If there is one thing I hate, it is when smart people use the old stupid excuse, ala the Clintons, who were the absolute masters at this ruse. Yeah, Blago was stupid -- stupid to try to sell Obama's vacant senate seat via the telephone when he knew the feds had been tapping it. Will we now have two ex-governors in prison? Buh bye Blago -- talk your way out Bubba's love nest behind bars.

2) Who to vote for in the upcoming governor's race? For many years, I have characterized my political stance as moderate republican. I almost always lean toward the right, but have always been most fearful of the extremists, both left and right. This fall the republican candidate for governor is an extremist. Although we are deep in debt, he believes that we can get out of it by cutting the budget and not raising taxes. Now -- my kids will tell you how much of an anti-tax person I am. However, I am also a realist. Regretfully, we need more tax dollars (and prudent spending, of course) to dig us out of the hole our crooked democrat-controlled legislature put us in. So even though I blame the Illinois democrats for the financial mess we are in, I am pretty sure that I will be forced to vote for the democratic gubernatorial candidate this fall. He has been the only politician to show any cojones (he was the lieutenant governor and then moved up to governor when Blago was booted from office) in trying to get us out of our financial mess.

3) How are our schools going to survive? The state has not been paying its bills. The University of Illinois is currently owed $279 MILLION by the state. Other universities, colleges, and school districts are owed obscene amounts. Major cuts appear to be coming. Oh yeah -- did I mention that one candidate thinks that we will straighten the ship by cutting spending and not raising taxes?

4) Will guys like me who have been paying into a pension system for many years take it up the butt because our state representatives and senators, who have under-funded the state pension system for years while funding their own pork projects, will finally succeed in getting a court to let them screw with the pension money? The same politicians who have gotten us stuck in this financial quagmire want to pay for their robbery and incompetence by stealing the hard-earned (and saved) money of public school teachers and state employees. Teachers unions say it won't happen, but who would ever trust the crooked pols and their friends in this state? They always find a way to steal.

I've lived in Illinois my entire life, first in suburban Chicago and now downstate. Never have I had less faith in my state and our elected officials. It is really just sad.


Blogger Mike Heffner said...

Unfortunately, you happen to live in a state of endemic political corruption regardless of party.

I probably share similar politics, and I'm a little tired of clowny economic policy across the board.

linky for thought

6:01 PM  
Blogger KenP said...

I'm sorry your retirement program is under water. But, even at that low level, it is better than most workers have available these days.

Retirement programs did in many industries with bottom lines. Those that avoided bankruptcy revised their programs to 401Ks.

I get the Chicago stations and it is a steady feature where the teacher's union is ---+ and moaning about not getting what they deserve. And don't get them started on merit pay.

In my era there were a half dozen industries where you were hired and thought yourself set for life. The only one left is government.

8:04 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

The disgusting part, Ken, is that it is written into our state constitution and the pols are doing everything they can to get their grimy hands on it. Instead of contributing to Social Security these past twenty years, 8 or 9 % (I don't remember which) has been taken out of every paycheck. The state has neglected to put in its part for several years running, thus the huge debt ... and compounding interest. Now they want to screw us over. This is our fund -- we have no other. And dammit, I have been funding it each and every paycheck for twenty freaking years.

Unfortunately, when reporting on the issue, the focus is always on those few at the top of the food chain -- like superintendents. They, like private sector CEO's, make way too much money.

The part that really sucks is that this, like any other budget problem, could be taken care of if the pols worked together FOR the people instead of lining their own pockets and shuttling state money to their connected friends.

What we really need to do is vote out virtually ALL the incumbents, pass term limit laws, ...

We have such corrupt jerks in our state government and virtually no one in power seems to have any integrity. It's just sad.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Wolfshead said...

The problem with the pols who promise tax cuts is that the usually leave things under funded and then those that follow them over raise taxes to get us out of the hole and then rather than return money once things are caught up they usually decide to start new programs with the extra cash. Then the tax cutters get back in and cut taxes without cutting the programs and keep the damned thing running on a vicious cycle. We need realists in government, those that realize that we can't keep the bread and circus going but also those that realize taxes are necessary to fund necessary programs.

1:01 PM  

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