Phil Kadner offered his Southtown Star column space to Mike Madigan — so Illinois voters got to hear from the man touted as the most powerful political figure in this state for the past quarter century. Yesterday we began to take a look at what he wrote. I’m incredibly unimpressed to say the least.
The question that’s begged is — how can a guy be so good at politics and so bad at policy or common sense?
As a veteran of the arena let me assure you, most people who are credited with being “good at politics” are similarly bad at policy and common sense. That goes for individuals on both sides of the ideological spectrum. For example, Karl Rove on the political right fits this bill. Type “Rove” in the search box above to learn more about why his name comes to mind.
Let’s continue with Mike Madigan’s waste of Phil Kadner’s Southtown newspaper space. The next section was titled “Responding to Crisis.”
“What options did Illinois state government have to respond?
Revenue enhancements: One possibility was to raise revenues. Many other states have done so….
House Republican Leader Tom Cross issued a directive to his members: Not a single Republican could vote for Governor Quinn’s proposal in 2009 to raise the state income tax 1.5 percent, from 3 percent to 4.5 percent. I voted for it, as did 41 other House Democrats, but without GOP support the bill failed.”
Think tanks that understand economics have compared and contrasted state policies for over twenty years and the grade for Mike Madigan’s Illinois has never been all that good. If he was so powerful, you would think his long tenure would have produced a better result. He couldn’t get more than 41 House Democrats to support his solution mentioned above?
“Spending cuts: In the last fiscal year, Democrats reduced spending by $2.5 billion, or approximately 10 percent of the overall discretionary budget. For the next fiscal year, we have cut another 5 percent from agency operations and given the governor extraordinary powers to cut still further…
Republicans, who voted against this budget, opposed these provisions. Worse yet, after hearing the GOP again trot out its claim that they could solve our fiscal problems solely through spending cuts, I called their bluff — and they blinked…Not one Republican voted for cutting, just as they all voted against the means to meet our pension obligations. Then, I invited them to introduce amendments to my bill to cut whatever particular programs they wished — and not a single Republican identified a single cut!”
Regarding the “cuts” (which sounds terrible) — if I proposed that I spend substantially more than I had, and then bring the number back down to reality — it can also be called sanity, not a “cut.”
Regarding the Republicans not proposing specific alternatives — this column shares that complaint. But it’s still not an excuse the majority party can use. The state is in the control of Democrats. Mike, like it or not, what the Republicans do is immaterial.
“Pension reform: We made significant changes to public employee pension systems that will save our state $300 million in the next year and as much as $100 billion in future costs.
In the face of stiff opposition from public employee unions, and with the support of the state’s leading business organizations, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, we reined in excesses, reduced benefits, improved the system’s long-term viability and, most urgently, eased budget pressures going forward.”
Madigan then whines about the lack of bipartisanship from Tom Cross. Boo-hoo, Mike. Let me get a Kleenex.
Madigan’s last part is titled “The Road Ahead.” He hopes for some “emergency aid” to the states from our bankrupt federal government. Great plan, Mike. While I’m sure your grandchildren will be able to afford the tax burden that you and your party are leaving them, most other people’s grandchildren won’t be able to.
A meat axe needs to be taken to state government — all facets. Mike Madigan might label the call for common sense, balanced budgets, and lowering the tax burden “partisan games.” But most Illinoisans that don’t share his wealth or power know better and don’t appreciate the games.
It’s really past time for the “Brahmans” of the IL GOP to wake up, professionalize their efforts, and recruit into the process a team that can unseat Madigan and his cronies. The fact that we’re losing to this guy is an embarrassment.
©2010 John Francis Biver