With all due respect to Tom Morelloâs 1990âs rock band, this article is not about music. I refer instead to the Chicago-style political machine. Michael Powell of the New York Times published an interesting article on July 2 that exposes some rather ugly realities regarding the fiscal health of the state of Illinois. Here are some sobering statistics –
â˘ Illinois has a $12 billion deficit. Put in perspective, 50% of the state’s entire budget.
â˘ The University of Illinois’s has not been paid 45% of its state appropriations this year.
â˘ Illinois has $62.4 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. Some experts think that the number is significantly higher. Regardless of the exact figure, everyone agrees that the pension is at least 50% underfunded.
â˘ The Illinois governor would like to borrow an additional $3.5 billion to cover just one year’s worth of pension payments, but the state’s credit rating is so poor that this would translate into $1 billion worth of interest over the life of the loan.
â˘ The state owns $5 billion to schools, rehabilitation centers and childcare.
â˘ In 2006, the Illinois unemployment rate was below 5%. Now it is more than double.
â˘ The state ranks in the top 10 in foreclosures.
â˘ Five years ago, the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park issued 650 home building permits. In 2009, they issued only one.
In response to this financial spiral, the Illinois legislator recessed this month without deciding how to pay 26% of the state’s budget. State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie also thinks the situation must not be that dire. She was quoted as saying:
“In the long run, we’ll muddle our way through”.
Perhaps her definition of “muddle” includes a federal bailout. But a federal bailout will not solve the root causes responsible for this stateâs self-inflected fiscal crisis. Those causes include political pandering, lack of leadership and political corruption that has run amok. Two of the last six governors have served jail terms, and now Rod Blagojevich is on trial. He is being prosecuted on racketeering charges that have involved the White House.
In the meantime, Illinois fiscal malaise is taking its toll on honest, hard-working people.
â˘ Literally hundreds of young teachers are moving out of state because of state layoffs and dismal job opportunities.
â˘ A 100-year-old pharmacy in Beardstown is closing because the state is late on its payments.
â˘ A Chicago funeral home director charged with burying the impoverished has not been paid for six months.
These are merely anecdotal examples, but they serve to illustrate that any private enterprise providing services to the state of Illinois is getting stiffed. No pun intended.
So here’s the point. The Chicago-style “political machine” has exported its brand of politics to the White House.
Thatâs the same Chicago-style political culture that has brought the state of Illinois to the brink of fiscal ruin.
Thatâs the same Chicago-style political corruption that landed two governors in prison and a third on trial.
Thatâs the same Chicago-style political âleadershipâ who believe they can simply “muddle through” the situation.
Now their shining star Obama is pushing his own brand of Wall Street financial reform legislation, which has already cleared the Democratic-controlled House on its way to the Senate. The White House believes it knows best how to micro-manage financial institutions. Many of the talking heads disagree, citing that this proposed legislation is hollow, full of special-interest exemptions, overly burdensome and does nothing to address the elephants in the room called Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This legislation also allows un-elected bureaucrats to bypass bankruptcy laws and unilaterally seize control of any firm they believe to be in trouble. So it appears that you can take the politicians out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the politicians. They intend to muscle-in on private enterprise territory. Having a Chicago-style political machine promoting financial reform is like having a Mexican drug cartel in charge of our border security.
Sorry, that’s a bad analogy because I believe the Mexican drug cartels are in charge of our border security.
I, Frank DeMartini, would like to ad some additional information to Craig’s Article based upon events of the past few days. They are relevant only peripherally to Craig’s Article but definitely need to be mentioned in this column. Both events relate to Attorney General Eric Holder, who in my opinion, is proving to be one of the worst Attorney Generals this country has ever seen. It should be added that these are not the opinions of Craig Covello, but are mine exclusively.
The first is the decision to sue the State of Arizona on its Immigration Law based upon the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. (It is interesting to note that the lawsuit ignores the Tenth Amendment); and,
Second, the decision not to prosecute the two Black Panthers who were standing outside the Philadelphia Polling Place with billyclubs on the day President Obama was elected in 2008.
The Arizona decision is comp
lete pandering to what is perceived a Democratic voting block, the Hispanics. There is simply no either reason to file the suit. The Arizona Law merely mimics the current Federal Law which is not being enforced. So, the Supremacy Clause argument should not stand. Further, there is evidence that legal Hispanics in Arizona support the law. And, the country on the whole supports the law by a 70/30 margin according to the latest polls. Is the Obama Administration conceding the middle class white vote by filing this lawsuit in order to gain the Hispanic vote? Is there any other reason for this lawsuit to have been filed on than on race based grounds?
The Black Panther decision also cannot be looked at in any way other than on racist grounds. There is videotape of these two men standing outside the polling booth with the billyclubs. There is video of them trying to intimidate a voter. Why not prosecute? In fact, a former member of the justice department was on Fox News last night stating that there is no tenable position for not presecuting. And, yet Eric Holder does not. Has mister left wing idealogue Eric Holder now openly become a racist?
Based upon these two decisions, I have no choice but to answer yes. I cannot think of any other reason why these decisions were made. I am sure that I am going to be labeled as such for even having the guts to say this. But, I really do not care any more. The Chicago thugs are in control and they are going to do whatever is necessary to stay in control even if it means ignoring the law to appease their voting blocks. In this case, the African Americans and the Hispanics. And, unfortunately for the country, these decisions are entirely race based.
If anyone can come up with any other reason, please feel free to comment. This is one in which I would really like to be proven wrong
Copyright 2010 by Craig Covello and Frank DeMartini. Used with Permission. All rights reserved.