Friday, January 22, 2016

Bruce Rauner accomplishes the impossible






     Let's be fair to the governor.
     Sure, anyone paying attention to Illinois is compelled to believe that Bruce Rauner has accomplished nothing in his first year in office except shred programs for children, the disabled and the poor.
     Not only did Rauner fail to make tangible progress, but he didn't even tread water properly. The normal operation of the state, such as passing an annual budget, failed to occur, sacrificed on the altar of the governor's hunger for term limits, union enfeeblement and other unrelated pet causes. He's like an office manager geting himself hired by promising to expand a business who then promptly fails to pay the electric bill, as a point of principle against the electric company monopoly, so they turn the lights off.  Now we're sitting in the dark, listening to him explain.
     The temptation is to conclude Illinois would do better with no governor at all, than this one who can't seem to manage basic human interactions. On Thursday, Rauner announced his support for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton's pension reform plan, only to have Cullerton immediately cringe away, shivering, from the governor's embrace. "It's not my plan," Cullerton said, explaining that Rauner had twisted his idea.
     But give credit where credit is due: Rauner has accomplished something real,  something that I would have thought impossible:
     He makes Rod Blagojevich look good.

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27 comments:

  1. Mr Steinberg, as a former pork farmer I can tell you a little about pigs. If you confine a pig and it cannot fend for itself or if you give a pig the chance to be on the self feeder, it relys on the farmer to feed it every day If you have a self feeder, one that is kept full constantly, your livestock are content, they eat, lye down, poop and the farm goes on orderly. But if the farmer shuts off the feed to the pigs, they become hungry and they scream and squeal and eventually they will cannibalize the weakest pigs until the herd is eventually extinct. If you ration the pigs slowly off full feed, it is more orderly and while some might be hungry, they will not die. I hope you are smart enough to get my analogy. Madigan and Cullerton have had control of the feed, but the farmer is going broke. Rauner have been hired by the farmer to ration the feed so no one dies of starvation or cannibalism. So now, the squealing begins. I am not a heartless person, but the corruption, greed, graft, politics, entitlement and crime as the orderly way of Chicago and the politicians you have allowed to corrupt our state, leave me no alternative but to say "you reap what you sow". At some point you have to ration before everyone starves.

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    1. Nice analogy...but do you take the food from rationing the pigs on the back 40 and give it to your prized pigs on the front 40? Because that's what Rauner is doing - he plays the political game just as well as the lifer politicians because he was a major chip in their poker game for a long time. The state isn't moving forward with him, only his prized pigs are as they dance their way to the blue ribbon on the heads of the poor guys in the back 40....

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    2. The state cannot move forward until this whole mess is under control. Do you believe in term limits? Will you personally help change what has been happening in Springfield and Chicago. If you won't, you are a part of the problem. BTW, tell us about Rauner's fat cats so we can stop them too.

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    3. The farmer seems to have a grasp on reality while the golfer appears to be protecting his self interests.

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  2. I totally disagree with you on Blago.
    He did hurt hundreds of thousands of people statewide, but especially in Cook County!
    After years of opposition, in 2004 Madigan was finally convinced to allow the overheated assessments in much of the county to be rolled back to 1995 levels, frozen at that level & there was to be a decrease to real estate taxes. The RE tax was to be lowered & the income tax was to raise a small bit to cover that change, a simple tax swap.

    But loony as hell Blago called that a tax increase, instead of a way to help those on fixed incomes, mostly the elderly who have serious trouble staying in the homes they paid off a decade or two ago, because their assessments have skyrocketed though no fault of their own. Instead, that asshole Blago came up with the free rides for the elderly & disabled on Metra, Pace & CTA. That doesn't come close to what they would've saved under the tax swap.
    Since then, Madigan has decided he wants nothing to do with a tax swap, because it will cause his real estate tax business money!

    Remember, real estate assessments are make believe numbers. They're a paper increase & only real estate has to pay taxes on paper profits. If you own a stack you bought at $2 a share & now it's $400 a share, you only pay taxes on the income the stock produces, not on the increased value of the stock until you actually sell it.
    The proper way to tax residential, non-income producing real estate is to fix the assessment at the sale price & then apply a capital gains tax when sold, minus the number of years it was owned by the same people.

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  3. Rod Blagojevich somehow got both Preschool for All and AllKids insurance through Mike Madigan's legislature. Madigan blocked the small tax increase on businesses to pay for it, insuring trouble down the line, but Blago got those services through.
    He executive ordered pharmacists to fill prescriptions for birth control or return the scripts. We now have a law that protects the rights of women from busybodies who were not only refusing to do their jobs, but were *taking the scripts and refusing to give them back so they could be filled elsewhere*.
    He also executive ordered that women in Illinois are free to breastfeed anywhere, since other busybodies try to harass women feeding their children.
    Yeah, he tried to get something for Obama's senate seat--what politician wouldn't? Blago's problem was he was stupidly and openly greedy and wanted to profit for himself and protect himself alone. I'm still stunned he was sentenced to more time than George Ryan, who's greed resulted in the deaths of the 6 Willis kids.
    With all due respect, Illinois Farmer, children and the disabled are not pigs. Societies should be judged by the way they treat their most vulnerable citizens, and Rauner and you show contempt. Illinois is last in state funding for education, and Chicago, despite having 20% of Illinois children, gets only 15% of the funding. Guess how much that 5% is? The same amount CPS needs to meet its budget.
    We need to fund our schools equitably. Rauner has been insistent on protecting the $750,000 tax cut he gave himself and sacrificing children and the disabled to his greed. He's worse than Blagojevich, because he's done nothing for anyone but himself.

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    1. sorry for the formatting. phone didn't paragraph properly.

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    2. Your thoughtful, well-written, intelligent letter is refreshing. I usually don't bother reading the comments nor submitting an entry since most comment entries to blogs are angry, immature rants that play fast and loose with actual facts and simply gives the writer a platform to spew. Yours was a welcome exception. Your points were well taken.

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  4. Your description of what happens after Rauner's death puts me in mind of the 1970 musical: "Scrooge!" Thinking of the scene where someone is dancing on Scrooge's coffin singing-"Thank you very much."

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  5. I believe both political parties were complicit in the decisions to short payment into pension funds, the root of current financial problems. Democrats and Republicans, each in their own way, got elected by promising they could provide services without paying for them.

    On zealotry, something Mirabeau, an advocate of moderation, said about Robespierre, who presided over the terror that cost many their heads, eventually including his own, seems pertinent: "He will go far. He believes everything he says."

    Tom Evans

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  6. To Illinois Farmer: Chicago and its suburbs, collectively, is the teet that feeds all of the Downstate pigs. If the Chicago metropolitan area seceded from Illinois, the remaining state would be little more than a slightly gussied up Mississippi. It's unfashionable for politicians to talk about it but the reality is that Downstate is a welfare state sucking up tax dollars generated by the Chicago metropolitan area at a rate far beyond what would any economist would consider reasonable. Moreover, as a lifelong DuPage County resident, I can assure you the corruption in Chicago, in many ways, pales in comparison to the corruption in DuPage, Lake, Kane, Will, Kendall (Hastert land), as well as most of the rest of Downstate. The prime difference being that as a politician in Cook County there is ALWAYS someone out to get you, even members of your own party. Whereas in DuPage and most other suburban and Downstate counties, the local Republican machines control things and people with an iron fist. As a former prosecutor and attorney with thirty years experience I've personally witnessed political intimidation of judges and blatant corruption. It is just all kept quiet because there is no real over site. I don't believe the U.S. Attorney could find his way to DuPage County with GPS!

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    1. "The remaining state would be little more than a slightly gussied up Mississippi..."

      To be fair TO the rest of the state, at least they would not be in debt 103 BILLION with a "b" dollars.

      This mess in Chicago is simple to fix. The city leaders gladly bent over (negotiated) by the teachers union and committed to really good comp plans including fat pensions.

      Fine.. What they DIDN'T do was raise the taxes on the 2.7 million Chicago residents to pay for it. You lefties love taxes and unions so much. Time to pay check for that love.

      But if you believe that the rest of the state is corrupt worse than Chicago (which is laughable to even read) then you have to support the governor's push not to bail out Chicago or cities around the state will do the same thing. Make huge promises and not adjust taxes... and then come to the State expecting everyone else to bail them out.

      You should be thanking the governor for holding the line.

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    2. jcj smithers: The mess in Chicago is easy to describe. Not so much to fix.

      Interesting handle, BTW. Does that mean Rauner is Monty Burns?

      Bitter Scribe

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    3. No Downstate wouldn't $103 billion in debt. But Downstate would be nothing but two lanes roads & no expressways.
      Downstate is a pathetic leech, sucking the Chicago metro area dry for the last 150 years!

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  7. Nice column, Neil.

    One of the most annoying thing about the Rauner debacle is how the Tribune has been smooching his butt. The beat reporters have actually been very good about bringing perspective to their coverage, but the editorial pages have been shamelessly swallowing whole his preposterous assertion that crushing public employee unions will magically bring prosperity. Even Eric Zorn, who could normally be counted on to serve as a counterweight, weighed in this morning with a "Well, what plan do the Democrats have?" column.

    Bitter Scribe

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  8. Well, Blago had nice hair---there is that.

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  9. Did the teacher's union give you a stipend to write this or were you happy to carry their water for free?

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    1. Nah, isn't Smithers the aide to C. Montgomery Burns. Maybe it's parody.

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  11. Let's face the fact that the state of Illinois will not improve until Bruce "Not Springsteen" Rauner is replaced with Lisa Madigan. The city of Chicago will not improve until F-bomb Rahm-bo is replaced with Toni Preckwinkle...or me! Until these changes are made, we can only expect more of the same Illinoising problems (crime, corruption, cover-ups, deficits, higher taxes, cutbacks, failed economics policies such as Reaganomics, gridlock, cronyism, nepotism, etc.). We deserve so much better, but we reside in the Midwest state of Illinois (Land of Lincoln) instead of Minnesota (Land of Humphrey).

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    1. You mean the Toni Preckwinkle who reinstated Toddler's obscene 1% sale tax?
      That rotten lying creep!

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  12. I think none of the above would have been necessary had the people of Illinois elected Judy Baar Topinka governor when they had the chance. And I'm a died-in-the-wool Democrat!

    john

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    1. I voted for her and urged others to do the same.

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    2. I really regret not voting for her, especially since I met her and found her charming and very likable.

      My concern at the time was that her much-vaunted "frugality" would translate to slashing social programs. Next time I'll listen more to my instinct.

      Bitter Scribe

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    3. Social program slashed today:

      Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

      "In all, over 30 programs are closing, and more than 750 positions are being eliminated, or 43 percent of LSSI’s total employees. As a result of these closures, approximately 4,700 people will no longer be receiving services from LSSI."

      The state owes them $6 million. What good are hostages if you allow them to expire, Governor?

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