In his speech last week before the City Club of Chicago, House Speaker Michael Madigan offered what I consider the strongest hint to date of the depth of philosophical differences driving the budget impasse. Invoking Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Madigan explained that he sees government’s role as to “work always to create jobs, to raise wages, to raise the standard of living.” He has stated often that he believes Rauner’s efforts to reform workers’ compensation and remove prevailing wage requirements will do the opposite for middle-class families.
Madigan offers no acknowledgement that policies put in place over the 12 years preceding Rauner’s arrival might have had anything to do with creating today’s fiscal mess — or that today’s fiscal mess might hurt the middle class by driving jobs away.
Rauner, meanwhile, takes the opposite view on government’s role in the economy. It’s government’s interference that hobbles entrepreneurs, drives up taxes and drives factories to states that don’t value unions over job creators. In Rauner’s view, if government keeps its hands off the private sector, jobs will proliferate, taxes will go down and the middle class will be better off.
Rauner, however, offers no acknowledgment that he governs a state that elected both him and super-majorities of Democrats in its House and Senate. He has not mentioned the fact that far more voters statewide supported a tax on millionaires and an immediate increase in the minimum wage than voted for him.
Three of Speaker Michael Madigan’s campaign funds on Thursday reported collecting $445,400 in campaign contributions.
Nearly all of the money came from labor unions or trial lawyers that historically have backed Madigan and Democrats against Republicans and business interests.
All told, four Madigan campaign funds have reported taking in more than $5.87 million since Jan. 1.