Remember when the federal government couldn’t pass a budget for two weeks in 2013? Democrats and the liberal media cried foul and warned that the U.S. would topple any day. Establishment RINOs caved under the onslaught of bad PR and now we get less coverage for higher premiums under Obamacare. Well the Left is at it again. Only this time it’s the state of Illinois and the RINOs have been held in check for seven months by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.
The Democrat controlled Illinois legislator had racked up the largest budget deficit in the nation at an estimated $6 billion going into the 2015 fiscal year. The socialist City of Chicago was begging the state government to bail them out of their unsustainable pension burden of nearly $30 billion a year. And–top it all off–the left-leaning Illinois Supreme Court declared a pension reform bill pushed through by Republican legislators unconstitutional, thus effectively crippling the legislative branch.
This is the mess that Bruce Rauner inherited from the previous Democratic yes-man Governor Pat Quinn. For the last year Governor Rauner has fought to implement his Turnaround Agenda to save Illinois from a crisis potentially worse than California’s 2009-2010 $60 billion deficit and Chicago from a Detroit-style bankruptcy. The Turnaround Agenda limits the bargaining power of corrupt public worker unions, puts term limits on legislators that currently get rich off Illinois’ notorious political cronyism, and puts in place Main Street business-friendly policies. It’s very similar to the successful Wisconsin plan put in place by Republican Governor Scott Walker. The only difference? The state legislature is a Democratic political machine led by House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Mike Madigan is the consummate professional politician in every greasy sense of the phrase. For over thirty years he has run the state legislature with an iron fist and a greased palm. While different governors helped lead the state to its current tipping point, Madigan is the only common denominator in every union and welfare handout as well as each business strangling tax hike. He is the definition of a Tax and Spend Democrat. And now that the chickens have come home to roost he refuses to risk his political empire just for the people he rules. He’d rather watch Illinois burn than give up his seat of power.
For seven months Mike Madigan and the Democratic political machine have refused to compromise on a budget, but who does the liberal media blame? Governor Bruce Rauner. After Madigan shoved a budget through the legislator while Rauner was negotiating in good faith they blamed Rauner for vetoing the bill. The budget would have created a $4 billion deficit, but the media harassed the governor for doing his constitutional duty. Now the state workers union wants to strike after refusing to compromise on their contracts and the Chicago Teacher’s Union is pushing Chicago Public Schools ever closer toward bankruptcy. All the while Chicago bonds push ever deeper into junk status. Still the liberal media points its finger at Rauner.
So what? If you live in Illinois this is a big deal, but for the rest of us there are no obvious effects. However, look a little deeper and the national significance of this budget battle is striking.
Take a look at the numbers. Illinois is a state of nearly 13 million people. About 3 million of those people live in Chicago (23%) and an additional 7 million live in the Chicago suburbs (53%). The rest of the state consists of rural and rustbelt communities (23%). It is 71% White, 15% Hispanic, 14% African-American, and 4% Asian. All of these stats are right on the money for the nation as a whole. In fact you could argue that Illinois is a scaled-down version of the U.S. except for one thing: its strong Democratic-leaning. Illinois is frequently placed in the top ten strongest Democratic-leaning states in the Union by Gallup. So in effect, when you look at Illinois you are seeing what would happen if the U.S. suddenly became a liberal “utopia”: crime-ridden cities, bankrupt school systems, corrupt public unions, crippling debt, a do-nothing legislator, activist judges, and a liberal media that blames it all on conservatives trying to salvage their homes.
Sources are listed in order they appear in text:
All demographic info pulled from Wikipedia.