“[T]he wealthy have rigged the economic rules of the game to allow people like Bruce Rauner and the millionaires who got him elected to siphon off most of the wealth for themselves and leave middle income incomes flat.
“One of those rigged rules is found in the Illinois State Constitution. It would make sense to get much of the money needed to finance public services from those who have benefited most from the state's economy - rather than those whose incomes have been flat. You'd do that with higher income tax rates on millionaires and billionaires than the one charged for ordinary working people.
“But when the state constitution was rewritten in the 1970's, the wealthy organized to insert a provision preventing State Government from having progressive income tax rates. They wanted to keep their own share of taxes low, and to shrink state revenue in general by requiring that if tax rates go up for them they have to go up for ordinary people as well.
“That problem needs to be fixed with a Constitutional amendment that allows a progressive income tax - which of course Rauner adamantly opposes. But in the meantime it would still be possible to raise desperately-needed revenue in ways that mainly target the wealthy taxpayers by providing substantial personal exemptions in any new tax aimed at replacing the state's temporary income tax surcharge that expired last year. Rauner, of course, opposes any new state taxes and if you want to know why, just ask the mega-wealthy donors who financed his $63.9 million campaign to occupy the Governor's mansion.
“Through his new state budget, Rauner intends to continue his life's work excavating the pockets of the poor and middle class in order to benefit himself and his wealthy associates. That's why Rauner serves as the personal embodiment - the poster boy -- for Wall Street's War on the Middle Class. Bruce Rauner may think that he is auditioning for a spot on the 2016 GOP ticket or a cabinet post in a Bush, Walker or Christie administration.
“In fact he could easily become the national symbol of the trickle down economic theory that has failed to produce benefits for everyday Americans and is at the core of the economic philosophy of every one of the 2016 Republican Presidential aspirants and their billionaire backers.”
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Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist, and author of the book: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com. He is a partner in Democracy Partners and a Senior Strategist for Americans United for Change. Follow him on Twitter @rbcreamer.