Like in a good Agatha Christie mystery, there’s a whole train-full (or, in this instance, Capitol-full) of suspects in the case of Who Killed Illinois? Just like on the Orient Express, they’re all guilty to one degree or another.
Here’s who’s at the top of my list: Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan, in that order. Other folks had their hands on the knife, but these two are the ones who really drove it in.
Maybe you can blame Madigan. He’s been there long enough. But Rauner? C’mon folks.
It was obvious that Illinois was going to fail as a state before I left in 2000. That was 17 years ago by my count.
Impossible promises made to public unions, for one. And that’s not a small one either. Suburban school districts that were driving property taxes through the roof (they’re doubled since I left, incidentally, by my count) and then the general pension promises on top of that.
For those who continue to say “but it’s a contractual obligation” or even “it’s protected by the State Constitution” I reply thus: A contract to do an impossible thing is not a contract at all.
You cannot enforce a “contract” you make with me where I am to jump over the Empire State Building unassisted. Why? Because the act contemplated is impossible.
Similarly, a promise to pay an exponentially increasing amount where the exponent is larger than the tax base growth rate is also impossible. That’s math, and it makes any such promise void.
The longer the people of Illinois fail to demand that all of the medical providers in the state who are and do conspire to drive up and fix prices, refuse to quote a price before a procedure is done and engage in other similar acts, all of which I remind you appear to be illegal on their face under 15 USC, face indictment and prosecution the further down the hole the state will go.
The longer the people of Illinois refuse to demand that all public pension promises that were made with knowledge that the “growth rates” promised and assumed exceeded the historical or any rationally-arguable future growth in the tax base be declared void due to fraud at the time of the agreement the further down the hole the state will go.
You can try to enforce payment of said pensions but you can’t make blood run out of a stone. If there is no money, there is no money. If you don’t pay the teachers, police and firefighters who are on the job now because you take all the cash and give it to the pensioners the current employees will not show up as nobody in their right mind works without being paid.
15 minutes later the entire Chicagoland area is overrun with gangs and burned to ash.
Go ahead folks, keep pretending. It won’t work because it can’t, but denial of mathematics is something that politicians are exceedingly good at. I left the state in no small part because I saw it coming, it was mathematically inevitable and utterly nobody would do anything but scream “but you made a contract” when I brought up the fact that at the time the promise was made the people negotiating it on both sides of the table knew full well that it was mathematically impossible for what they “negotiated” to happen.
Watch and learn, because this same dynamic is coming to the rest of the nation — and in Washington DC, driven by Medicare and Medicaid where exactly the same dynamic, driven by the same medical scam, has been unfolding for the last 30 years.
Via Market Ticker.