Sunday, September 2, 2012

Does the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor Think We’re Idiots by MiC


Shortly after a special session of the Illinois General Assembly ended a couple weeks ago, Representative Daniel Biss described the failure to enact pension “reform” by the politicians assembled in Springfield this way:

“We all look like idiots.”

This line, widely reported, pretty much summed up the view held prior to the special session of roughly 800,000 working and middle class Illinois public employees who keep us safe, care for our sick and elderly, inspire our children, or generally ensure Illinois keeps working. But although this might be a great summation of a growing majority of those paying close attention to the actions of their elected representatives in Springfield, for me this line was more a glimpse into the esteem Springfield politicians hold the majority of people who elected them to office.

We look like idiots to them.

How else can candidates like Daniel Biss, who wants to be the next Democratic state senator from the ultra-deep blue north shore, think we won’t notice that his website describes “our promises of future Medicaid, pension, and retiree health benefits” – rather than an outdated flat tax system or corporate giveaways – as the focus of his “tough decisions” he’d make to fix Illinois’ structural budget deficit? Does he think we won’t notice that his five-point plan for “Jobs and the Economy” has as its first priority a corporate tax cut that subsidizes private sector labor costs with taxpayer dollars? Does he think we won’t notice there is no mention of the need for a graduated income tax, an end to corporate give away, or the reform of TIF district use?

Does Biss think we’re idiots?

Do Democratic leaders like Governor Quinn really think we’ll believe that cutting the income of hundreds of thousands of middle class workers on the heels of the Great Recession won’t tank Illinois’ fragile economy and increase unemployment? With recent studies showing that pension recipients contribute $1.4 billion in sustained economic stimulus to Illinois economy, does he really think we won’t notice how his idea of “reform” will diminish not only the earned benefits protected by the Illinois and US Constitutions, but damage our economic recovery and reap devastating effects on Illinois’ working and middle class?

Does Quinn think we’re idiots?

Do they think that we didn’t notice that politicians in Springfield created this problem by their prolonged fiscal mismanagement of the state’s budget and repeated diversion of pension contributions to support unsustainable tax policy? Do they think we forgot that as they were piously advocating the dire need for pension “reform” they were enthusiastically opening the state coffers in the form of giant tax breaks for corporations earning billions in profit? Now that they’ve created a “crisis”, do they really think hundreds of thousands of voters who never missed their pension payments and who provided decades of service to Illinois’ citizens should be the ones to bail the state out?

Do Springfield politicians think we’re idiots?

Do they really think now that Gov. Quinn, a Democratic Governor who was booed off the stage at the state fair by his own Democratic base, has failed to achieve a pension “reform” deal with the two Democratic leaders in the house and senate – Mike Madigan and John Cullerton – that Springfield politicians can lie low until after the election in November and we’ll forget all this? Do they think that during the lame duck session they’ll be able to push through pension “reform” that focuses exclusively on diminishing benefits while ignoring the state’s real revenue issues and we won’t notice? Do they think we’re not watching to see if they begin to replace our outdated flat income tax used in only six other states with a graduated income tax, reform TIF district practice that was supposed to address urban blight but instead diverts local tax dollars to corporate bottom lines, eliminate give away to corporations that take jobs hostage and extort taxpayers, and restructure the debt to realistic amortization schedules?

If they don’t, they think we’re idiots.

--Mic
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Any Assault on Public Employees… Is an Attack on the Entire Middle Class: http://teacherpoetmusicianglenbrown.blogspot.com/2012/08/any-assault-on-public-employees-rights.html



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