Democrats Destroyed Illinois
In 2014, my home state of Illinois elected a Republican governor for the first time in 12 years. Since the time of our last Republican governor, George Ryan, the state has been marred by lavish spending, corruption and scandals—all on behalf of state Democrats. It all started with the corruption and arrest of Rod Blagojevich, who tried to sell an Illinois senate seat for money, and is now ending with bankruptcy and a potential social collapse. The 2017 version of Illinois is the result of 12 years of Democrat rule.
Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of fraud, bribery, conspiracy and extortion. Among his many charges was the attempted sale of Barack Obama's old Senate seat. The case gained national notoriety in 2008, but Illinois's problems were just beginning.
State Democrats, who control almost every branch of Illinois's government except the governor's office, have tried to block every productive and cost-cutting measure introduced by Bruce Rauner since his inauguration on January 12, 2015. For those of you outside of Illinois, Rauner was elected on November 4, 2014 as Illinois's 42nd governor. A Republican, Rauner pulled off an historic win by taking all but one of Illinois's 102 counties and 50% of the vote. In June, Democrats failed to cut a budget deal or to deliver a workable budget to Rauner's desk, leaving the state hanging during a dire fiscal crisis.
Since being elected—and in the face of the state's looming bankruptcy—Rauner has proposed a freeze on property taxes, a move to pass right-to-work legislation and an overhaul of Illinois's worker's compensation system. Democrats refused to budge on any of his proposals, some of which would have saved Illinois millons of dollars. Democrats have fully rejected Rauner's attempts to spur economic growth and to save both the state government and taxpayers millions worth in expenditures.
Illinois is the only state to have gone more than two years without a budget. The state has instead been living day-to-day on court ordered spending, without any consensus between Democrats and Republicans on proper spending measures. Illinois has become a dead-beat state, unable to pay universities, pensions and several agencies responsible for securing social services.
Experts from all walks of life have suggested bankruptcy as the only solution to Illinois's fiscal crisis. As of June, Illinois owes nearly $15B in unpaid bills—that's billion with a B. As reported by Reuters, Chicago's school system has suffered gravely:
The legislature also failed to approve a stand-alone K-12 education budget. A $15.7-billion bill to ensure schools open in the fall passed the Senate but was soundly defeated in the House.
Its demise leaves the financially struggling Chicago Public Schools (CPS) without an additional $475 million in funding in part to help pay for rising contributions to teacher pensions. CPS officials have warned of "draconian" spending cuts to deal with a $1 billion budget deficit.
Democratic leaders on Tuesday refused to immediately take up Rauner's short-term budget plan, shunting it off to a bipartisan working group. Future budget deliberations will be complicated by the fact that a tougher, three-fifths voting majority to pass a bill kicks in on Wednesday.
The Illinois House and Senate also passed new measures requiring bills to pass with three-fifths of a majority, rather than a simple 51%. It is almost as though Illinois Democrats—and some Republicans—are trying to hammer the last nail into their state's coffin.
Democrats won't even talk to Rauner about the budget, brushing off every one of his attempts as “partisan”. Obviously, this has been getting to Rauner, causing him to lash out and say things like, “We're like a Banana Republic. We can't manage our money.” Rauner has also taken a more combative approach when dealing with Democrats.
Vendors ranging from universities to pension and social security providers have either not been paid at all or have only received a portion of what they require. Illinois has a $130B pension liability as of June and has faced warnings from credit agencies about a further downgrade if it doesn't tackle the problem.
To say that Illinois will swing to Rauner's side and begin cutting the waste and reforming union laws, pensions and taxes would be a major lie. There is no sign that Illinois voters have learned a single thing from the past 12 years.
With Democrats shuffling in and out of the House and Senate over the past decade, providing no real solutions but the typical Democratic tax-spend policies, voters still appear willing to keep giving Democrats another try. At least according to opinion polls.
Despite Rauner's best efforts to save Illinois taxpayers from throwing their money into the flames without any cost-cutting measures in place—like his threat to veto another Democrat tax hike—Rauner has been described as the most vulnerable GOP incumbent for 2018.
All in all, Illinois owes more pension than it will ever take in. It isn't the only state with this problem, but because of extensive mismanagement and corruption, Illinois has evaporated its threshold of survival and reduced its own life expectancy. Unions across Illinois have increased the entitlements of their members and they've used the Democrat machine based in Chicago to accomplish their goals.
Illinois Has Been Looted
Cook County was the only county Rauner failed to win. The epicenter of Cook County is Chicago. The Democratic machine has buried its tentacles into Chicago—and therefore all of Illinois—by using effective community organizing and unionization. Chicago isn't only a murder and homicide capital, it is the de facto capital of the Democratic Party and the home of Barack Obama.
Saul Alinsky would be proud to see his tactics in full effect. No other city in America can be used as an example of full Democratic Party control than Chicago. Many people will disagree with me, but Chicago is the heart of the Democratic Party in America and until a stake is driven through it, Illinois and America will be forever enslaved by left-wing values and ideals.
Through Chicago, Democratic organizers and operatives have created a network of union bosses, top-level bureaucrats and judiciary to outsource their efforts across America and Illinois. Illinois Democrats receive more than 85% of their wealth and power from Chicago through donors and high ranking figures. The DNC relies on Chicago as a its national headquarters for strategic and operative planning across the country. Some of the DNC's most accomplished thinkers are from Chicago. From Barack Obama to the Clintons, every influential member of the Democratic Party has a vital connection to the party's Chicago apparatus. Chicago has either been the birthplace or the springboard of every major Democrat initiative over the past 20 years.
In the process of becoming the heart of the Democratic Party, Chicago has been robbed. The process goes something like this: unions raise the cost of employment for employers and businesses by increasing entitlements. These same unions have used the Democratic Party to push through bills that have siphoned money from union members and Illinois taxpayers into the Democratic Party's treasury. This happens with increases in entitlements and dues, which are paid for by union members and taxpayers, both of which see increases in their personal expenditures either through hikes in taxes, employment costs or union dues.
This vast wealth of money from union members and Illinois taxpayers goes straight to the unions and their leadership, who then redistribute the funds to Democrats across the country through political and financial support. Much of that wealth comes through taxation as well, which in turn ends up in the wallets of prominent Chicago Democrats.
The $130B worth of pension liabilities that may or may not ever be paid to Illinois taxpayers won't have any negative effects on the people who have made the state's expenditures unsustainable. Whether it's Rauner himself, Michael Madigan, John Cullerton or the executive director of Illinois's biggest union, Roberta Lynch, the pensions of Illinois's most powerful will be paid out before millions of Illinois taxpayers see a single nickel.
This is how millions of Illinois taxpayers and union members have been looted. Through the promises of bigger pensions and secure retirements, they've been conned into paying more in taxes, union dues and labor costs so a few wealthy bureaucrats can retire in Florida after they've spent years organizing Democratic campaigns centered on identity politics, division and corruption.
To strike at the heart of the Democratic Party is to strike at the organizations and unions that operate out of Chicago.