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One way or the other, the bill has to be paid

Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

* Pat Gauen on the bickering between Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner over the state’s finances

(I)t’s important to remember that the mess was delivered not by today’s sons but by their political fathers. The problems follow decades of others’ leadership that operated the state on credit while courting votes from happy constituents who suffered neither service decreases nor tax increases.

The recession finally delivered the bill, like a waitress bringing a sizable check to a table of people who ate and drank more than they realized.

They can argue, blaming each other for who ordered what. But when the bickering is done, somebody has to figure out how to pay.

Yep.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


38 Comments
  1. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    Can’t we just wash some dishes instead?


  2. - Sure - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    (I)t’s important to remember that the mess was delivered not by today’s sons but by their political fathers. ***** This is somewhat true but many in the General Assembly today have been there long enough to have voted for that over spending and continue too.


  3. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    Or we could dine & dash maybe. Everybody run out of here as fast as we can to Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, etc. They can’t catch us all.


  4. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    Is Madigan the son or the father?
    How about all those other old birds?

    Now - just because they wrote the legislation, spent our money, borrowed and spent all our credit, and still won’t step down from office - doesn’t mean we have a solution.

    But what it does mean, is that the guys who have sat around doing this for the past generation, are still in our legislative chambers today - what makes anyone think these are the guys to fix the problems they created?

    The guys who caused this problem, are too often still in our General Assembly now.

    So the first job to fix this problem is to get rid of the guys who did it.


  5. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:05 pm:

    Fortunately for our legislators, and not our table full of overstuffed diners, they can pay the bill using other people’s money.

    It becomes much easier to overeat and overdrink when someone else is paying the bill.

    Especially if you can order something to go for your friends as well.


  6. - East Central Illinois - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    Unfortunately for all of the citizens of Illinois, the politicians enjoy the meal and the booze, we get stuck with the bill and the indigestion!


  7. - RonOglesby - Now in TX - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:12 pm:


    This is somewhat true but many in the General Assembly today have been there long enough to have voted for that over spending and continue too

    This!
    yes the Gov changes but MANY in the GA have either been in the GA for a LONG time or been in IL gov for a long time. They should NOT get a free pass.


  8. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    ==But when the bickering is done, somebody has to figure out how to pay.==

    On point.

    People spend so much time blaming somebody that they fail to do anything about the problem. It’s more fashionable to blame the other guy and then sit on your hands and do nothing.


  9. - RonOglesby - Now in TX - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    @ Demo
    “People spend so much time blaming somebody that they fail to do anything about the problem.”

    Yup. its actually more politically profitable to blame than to actually do something and potentially have the one that gets blamed…


  10. - Jack Handy - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Every bill passed in the last 30 years, especially approp bills, had to have the blessing and approval of one one man.


  11. - Barrett's Privateer - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Politicians allocated the money, but let’s not get on our high horses and pretend that we the taxpayers had nothing to do with it. We drive one the roads and send our kids to the schools. We take the protection of the state police and prisons. Everything we ask government to do comes at a cost, and to some extent, our unwillingness to pay that cost set up this budget crisis just as much as the politicians that everyone loves to hammer on. We elected them, after all.


  12. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Don’t presume voters want fiscal sobriety.

    Pass a few budgets that cut spending and increase revenues in order to pay down old bills and fully fund annual pension contributions and see how much applause you get.

    It’s been done. Recently.


  13. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    ==had to have the blessing and approval of one one man.==

    Thanks for illustrating the point of the conversation. How’s that blame thing working out for you? Solving many problems with that?

    That’s what I thought . . .


  14. - anon - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    It’s time to focus energy on how to pay the bill rather than how to not pay the bill.


  15. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    @Wordslinger: It’s been done. Recently.

    When? Seriously — not trying to argue. The only one I can think of who genuinely tried to cut back was Edgar, and even he fudged on pensions. I remember everyone calling him “Governor No.”


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:58 pm:

    “Can we pay part of the bill, kinda-sorta…

    But get everything on the menu, twice?”


  17. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    This is the point I continually make with my GOP friends. It’s not about the ideology. It’s just about the math and so far, Rauner’s math just isn’t adding up.


  18. - steve schnorf - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Guys, how long ago was Blagojevich impeached? Go get the roll call for that impeachment. Now go thru today’s house membership and check off the “yes” impeachment votes against today’s membership, and count the check marks. Now tell me about all the legislators who’ve been around a long time. By the way the same exercise says a lot about the need for term limits.


  19. - Chris - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    “The only one I can think of who genuinely tried to cut back was Edgar, and even he fudged on pensions.”

    He only came close *because* of the “fudging” on pensions. Had he fully funded (actuarially required annual contribution, not the reduced “required” amount of the Ramp) pensions, he would have had to cut a lot more, or increased taxes.

    So, I too am curious what/when Word is referring to.


  20. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    If the GDP of USA is increasing, why shouldn’t there be more gov’t services as the productivity increases?

    Illinois pols have been irresponsible, but services are being cut across the country as gov’t policy causes the rich to get obscenely rich, often from activities that produce no/few goods & services.


  21. - Morty - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 3:06 pm:

    “Pass a few budgets that cut spending and increase revenues in order to pay down old bills and fully fund annual pension contributions and see how much applause you get.

    It’s been done. Recently.”

    Under Quinn. And trust me, I’m NOT a fan of the man.


  22. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    @Demoralized 1:15 & @RonOglesby 1:17 just summed up the governor’s race very nicely.

    Actually, they just summed up the past decade or so of Illinois politics very nicely.

    Possibly the entire history of politics in just 5 sentences. Good stuff.


  23. - Rharaz - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    And yet worker output per hour has about doubled since 1980 (see http://www.bls.gov/data/#productivity ). I’m fairly certain the number of workers has not gone down (much?) since 1980. With this large increase in productivity, one would think taxes should be the same or possibly lower than 1980. Where did those productivity gains go? Who really benefited?


  24. - Lakefront Liberal - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    “Unfortunately for all of the citizens of Illinois, the politicians enjoy the meal and the booze, we get stuck with the bill and the indigestion!”

    No — we the taxpayers enjoy the meal and the booze, in the form of nursing homes, health care, a criminal justice system, schools, roads, etc — and state workers to make it all happen and who, being human, need medical care and pensions. THAT is what needs to be paid for. Stuff for US THE TAXPAYERS.


  25. - Mittuns - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    If wages had grown to with production (or at least kept up with inflation), the need for tax increases or skipping pension payments would not have been necessary.


  26. - train111 - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 3:38 pm:

    Just for yucks: A quickie look at the average terms for people in the Senate and House

    The average term in the Senate (including previous House service): 12.6 years

    The average term in the House (including previous Senate service): 9.06 years

    I don’t know if term limits are that great or not.


  27. - James formerly from Wrigley - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 4:01 pm:

    I’m in my late twenties. Gov. Quinn has been in politics longer than I have been alive. So from my perspective, I do not see how Quinn is, to use the the author’s terms, a son and not a father.


  28. - Anon. - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    OK, so we re-write the intro to SB 1:

    This amendatory Act of the 98th General Assembly is intended to address the fiscal issues facing the State and its retirement systems in a manner that is feasible, consistent with the Illinois Constitution, and advantageous to both the
    taxpayers and employees impacted by these changes. Having considered other alternatives . . .

    we hereby resolve to stiff the waitress.


  29. - RNUG - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 12:55 pm:

    The GA already tried dine and dash (retiree health insurance premiums and SB1 pension reform) but the cops (ISC) aren’t goign to let the GA escape without paying somehow.


  30. - Ray del Camino - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    The restaurant analogy works, and as commenters above have noted, we the taxpayers have been eating the food. The legislators have been ordering what we asked them to. And the better off we are, the more likely it is we are getting steak (better schools, better roads, more goodies for the cops to protect, etc.) than hot dogs, and the higher should be our share.


  31. - walker - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 5:11 pm:

    Train111:

    As you point out, given the existing turnover among legislators, Term Limits are not that big deal, and would change little. Why don’t we just do something there, so the general public can stop complaining about them, and actually focus on our real problems and solutions?


  32. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 5:13 pm:

    ==How about all those other old birds?==

    What makes one a member of the “old birds”? How many years?

    ==- Jack Handy - Thursday, Jul 24, 14 @ 1:19 pm:==

    I don’t recall Madigan approving the appropriations bills when he was House Minority Leader.


  33. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 5:28 am:

    illinois can print it`s own money, pay the bloated pensioner`s in illinois dollars worth less than real dollars( pension didn`t say what dollar to use)


  34. - PublicServant - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 6:06 am:

    ===illinois can print it`s own money, pay the bloated pensioner`s in illinois dollars worth less than real dollars( pension didn`t say what dollar to use)===

    Dope.


  35. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 8:13 am:

    let the pension go belly-up that will fix your little red wagon you chose not to pay into ss you were duped greedy tax feeders lol


  36. - Old and In the Way - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 8:17 am:

    Anon 8:13

    Let pension go belly up…….

    Legally it can’t happen. Pensioners and Bond holders will be paid first……..sorry to spoil your fantasy.


  37. - Anon. - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 8:21 am:

    ==illinois can print it`s own money, pay the bloated pensioner`s in illinois dollars worth less than real dollars( pension didn`t say what dollar to use)==
    ==let the pension go belly-up that will fix your little red wagon you chose not to pay into ss you were duped greedy tax feeders lol==

    It’s not often you get to respond to two “proposals” with one constitutional provision. Article I, Section 10 of the US Constitution prohibits both of these solutions:

    “No State shall . . . coin Money; . . . make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any . . . Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.”

    The State has to honor its contracts and can’t create its own funny money to try to pay them.


  38. - Walter Mitty - Friday, Jul 25, 14 @ 8:23 am:

    “let the pension go belly-up that will fix your little red wagon you chose not to pay into ss you were duped greedy tax feeders lol”

    Say’s the poster child for the need to triple education spending! Yeah, the reason you get the pension is because you don’t get SS…


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