Phil Kadner offered his Southtown Star column space to Mike Madigan — here’s how Kadner explained it:
On May 12, I offered to turn my column space over to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) to explain his views on this state’s budget crisis to the people of Illinois. Madigan, the most powerful political figure in Illinois, responded to that offer last week and here, unedited and (as promised) without comment from me, is his statement.
To say the least, I was expecting more from Madigan, so I will comment.
The Road to the Present:
In discussing the causes of our fiscal difficulties in Illinois, it is critical to note that we are not alone — that in fact, a staggering 46 of 50 states have been forced into deficit budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. Is the state government in Illinois to blame for the national economic downturn? Of course not.
“Forced into deficit budgets”? That’s silly. No state is forced into anything. The Democrats who control both houses of the General Assembly and the Governor’s office made a decision every year since 2003 to spend, borrow, and promise more than they should have.
The blame flows more logically in the opposite direction. More than anything, Illinois is suffering the effects of a profoundly severe recession whose origins can be traced directly to the policies of the federal government since 1994’s ‘Republican Revolution.’
Okay, Mike, you might want to fire the staffer who wrote this for you. That’s silly. Despite Democrat President Bill Clinton’s second term, and Democratic Congressional control in Washington since 2006, the fault still lies with Newt Gingrich?
What follows is worse.
I am not the first to identify a number of national policy failures, prior to President Obama’s election, that hamstrung our state and fostered the economic downturn: (1) tax breaks for the rich; (2) uncontrolled spending; (3) stampeding the country into the Iraq War – a war of choice projected to cost $3 trillion; (4) lack of Wall Street oversight; (5) tax and trade policies that rewarded job outsourcing; (6) giving free rein to predatory mortgage lenders and investment banks; and (7) cheap credit made possible by the Federal Reserve’s low lending rates. These policies served the short-term interests of the wealthy but, over the long term, have created an epic economic disaster that has sent millions of Americans and nearly all state governments reeling.
The bi-partisan mistakes in Washington are well known — including the creation of perverse incentives via unconstitutional entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Democratic Party’s dream organization). But none of that has anything to do with fiscal irresponsibility here in Illinois.
If he calls uncontrolled spending what Republicans did, what does he call what Obama is doing?
It’s good Madigan is stuck at the state level, because he seems to have forgotten the overwhelming bipartisan support for the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mike also attacks those evil, greedy wealthy people. I wonder what the Madigan net worth is. My guess is that it’s very healthy. Regardless, what poor Mike doesn’t understand is that those with money to invest respond to incentives, much like politicians feeding at the PAC trough.
Just like Mike does the bidding of the SEIU, Illinois teacher unions, and the trial bar, businesses act in their own self interest. For example, they leave a state when the tax burden is too heavy. Those with wealth to invest in business expansion or start-ups hold back when taxes are going to be raised, like they will next year when the Bush tax cuts expire.
We’re also evidently supposed to believe that the irresponsibility of Illinois’ state government is the fault of the Federal Reserve. Good luck selling that notion to Illinois voters. Daily, taxpayers here are becoming more aware of state employee pensions and other home-grown scams.
Poor Mike then changes to the subject to events in other states, as if they have anything to do with what is going on here. This section is not worth reading, since it’s off the topic of the problem that Mike helped create in Illinois during his very, very long run as state house Speaker.