* Brian Mackey in Illinois Issues magazine…
Rauner insists his proposals — including a gradual roll-back of the income tax hike, restrictions on lawsuits and an expansion of the sales tax to include some services — would spur growth in the number of jobs. [Richard Dye, an economist with the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs] says it’s possible for tax policy changes to sometimes — “not generally, but sometimes” — have an effect on jobs. But there are many other factors that more directly affect a state’s employment: “the overall economic condition, the capital stock and education level of the state, the national economy, incentives by other states, and so on,” Dye says. “All things that are beyond the governor’s control.”
So why do candidates claim prowess in job creation? “The advantage to the candidate is that most people don’t read the economics literature,” Dye says. “There is this vague association [between] the time a particular politician is in power and what happens to the economy.” Lubotsky amplifies this point, acknowledging that job claims would be useful to candidates for advertising purposes: “They can’t go out and say, ‘You should vote for me, but honestly, what I do won’t have much of an effect.’ ”
He’s right. Few politicians would make such a statement. But a private citizen might.
Back in 2011, years before he declared his candidacy for governor, Rauner participated in a panel discussion at Dartmouth College on the future of the U.S. economy. After nearly an hour, conversation turned to the risky investor behavior that led to the Great Recession and the federal government’s role in regulating financial markets. Another panelist asked Rauner: “We had a giant financial crisis in which the financial sector caused a huge recession that haunts us to this day … shouldn’t we try and fix some of the problems that created the situation?”
Rauner said the government was making things worse. Then — and this is the key moment — he opined on the nature of large economies: “We’re talking about free markets. Markets are cyclical. Get over it. We’re not going to predict it. We’re not going to stop it. We’re not going to control it. That’s what it is.”
Rauner 2011 acknowledged that economic downturns are inevitable and opined that governments can do nothing to control them. Rauner 2014, however, seeks to blame Quinn for not taking the right steps to address Illinois’ economic woes. Rather than telling voters to “get over it,” he’s attempting to harness their anger to propel him into high office.