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Today’s number: 4,600

Tuesday, Aug 30, 2016

* Greg Baise of the Illinois Manufacturers Association spoke to the City Club today. Here’s an excerpt of his prepared remarks

Now, people talk about how the middle class is in trouble. And, it is. They aren’t lying. But those who talk loudest about protecting the middle class are actually doing the most to push it out of existence. For decades, MANUFACTURERS have been the best producers of middle–‐class jobs in the nation. People from all walks of life looked to manufacturing for jobs that paid middle–‐class wages, offered health insurance and built a pension. People who worked for manufacturers were the heart of the middle class. They saved for down payments to buy homes. They were able to raise a family. You didn’t need an advanced degree to make a good living. You needed a good work ethic and a sense of pride in what you produced.

Entrepreneurs who were willing to risk it all created that opportunity for growth, and the responsibility was on its citizens to create their own destiny. Government’s role was to provide a safety net, a helping hand, and monitor and correct the bad actors–‐–‐but not get in the way of those who were doing it right.

For too many, those days are long gone.

What I’m describing now is how many of my members feel and man do they feel it. And please keep in mind, that about 85 percent of my members are SMALL businesses, many second and third generation.
They feel that slowly, but insidiously, government is being led by politicians who think they’re the experts on how to run business. They see the government dictating wages and opportunity, mandating nearly every aspect of running a business, and too often views employers as an eternal piggy bank to solve every woe in society or to fund every novel idea hatched by a think–‐tank.

* His close

Just remember as you leave, in the last seven years….

    Wisconsin created 44,100 manufacturing jobs
    Ohio created 75,900 manufacturing jobs
    Indiana created 83,700 manufacturing jobs and
    Michigan created 171,300 manufacturing jobs.

Illinois created 4,600 jobs. Even Idaho created 9,100 manufacturing jobs. A state better known for its potato farms.

It’s abysmal. It’s pathetic.

It’s time for a change in philosophy and direction by our policy makers.

It’s time to get mad as hell and not take it anymore.

Whether you agree with him on everything or not, he’s an old Statehouse hand and knows whereof he speaks, so go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

51 Comments
  1. - Ratso Rizzo - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:44 pm:

    Globalization, mostly, and then Illinois politics and regulations, as tertiary, has decimated Illinois manufacturing. Manufacturers will almost always go to the cheapest sources of labor coupled with little to no business regulation (workers comp, working conditions, etc). It’s a race to the bottom. The US was strongest when labor and unions were strongest.


  2. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    The Gospel, according to GREG.

    Causation,causation,causation.


  3. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    It is really sad the supposed protectors of the middle class - the Democrats in Springfield absolutely refuse to change course on those policies that are driving middle class jobs out of this state.

    All we hear is from the Speaker is that he won’t reform anything because it would lower the wages and standard of living of middle class families.

    Nothing lowers the standard of living of a middle class family more than their job leaving the state for a better business environment


  4. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    Paul Green offered hemlock to everyone after Baise’s dismal description of our state.


  5. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:53 pm:

    “Government’s role was to provide a safety net, a helping hand, and monitor and correct the bad actors…”

    Yes, sir! Other than every single government safety net & helping hand from Social Security to Obamacare, the Illinois Manufacturers Association really and truly loves ‘em!!1!

    Gimmie a break.

    – MrJM


  6. - Come on man! - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:54 pm:

    The question is are those manufacturing jobs middle class wages?


  7. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:54 pm:

    And CAT is doing more layoffs…mostly cause they bought a competitor for too much at the wrong time.
    Let’s blame Baiser…cant nail BigBrain


  8. - Simple Simon - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:54 pm:

    Hi Rich. His entire article reminds me a lot of yesterday’s topic. Lots of emotion and hurt pride, but short on specific action other than nonspecific tax and worker’s comp reform. A couple of actionable things that most of us would probably agree with, but it seems to fall well short of an economic case to move out of Illinois, leaning too heavily on “climate” or “reputation”. Would love to see specific regs he would cut, or who he would broaden the tax base to, rather than bland generalities. That way we could really have a debate…e.g., how much is an arm worth to Dems vs Repubs.


  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    Illinois is an economic basket case. We need reform, worker’s comp, union busting reform. WI has created more manufacturing jobs than IL? Idaho has?

    Madigan doesn’t care about working people, he just cares about his power. He retains it by creating an incestuous circle of public employee unions, government largesse and corruption.

    Illinois is pathetic with one of the worst unemployment rates, lowest job growth rates and a shrinking population.


  10. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:01 pm:

    Greg is telling us what his members say. If you want to argue with them, then you are proving their point as well.
    We’re listening to experts without credibility or expertise on the topics and issues we choose to debate over, regardless of their field of expertise.

    Anone who studies business doesn’t become a businessperson. Journalists know less than they let on. Same with bloggers.

    Greg is telling us something important. Perhaps we should show a bit of respect for his presentation.

    Disagree all you want, but do it by quoting other businesspeople, not some business professor.


  11. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:04 pm:

    Consumers are also to blame.

    At the grocery store yesterday. Cases and cases and cases of Oreos were being unloaded. Within spitting distance of their old home. Why? Consumers think with their tummies, tastebuds and wallets.

    Just think if most of the Chicago area stuck together and sent a message to the Corporate bigshots.


  12. - That Guy - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:06 pm:

    “- Come on man! - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:54 pm:

    The question is are those manufacturing jobs middle class wages?”

    According to IDES the average wage of a manufacturing production worker in Illinois is $74,000. $100,000+ for engineers. Do you consider those middle class wages?


  13. - Sue - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:14 pm:

    Yea- there is absolutely no need for Rauners Extreme reforms. LOL


  14. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:24 pm:

    One of my bones of contention with the IMA is their failure to address rotten federal trade deals.

    It should be obvious. Advantageous to the powerful ag manufacturing industry, devastating to the steel(and yes, widget) industries. I get it, but remember, all that glitters…..


  15. - Union Man - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:43 pm:

    I don’t think his recollection of our economic history is accurate. I’m reminded of Twain’s observation: Get the facts first, you can distort them later..


  16. - Simple Simon - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:46 pm:

    The reason no one gives specifics is that most Illinois citizens would not agree. I don’t want businesses to pollute our air and water, nor should your business model rely on tax breaks to survive. Nor should you be able to injure workers and send them off with a pat on the head. This is why the TA has never been fleshed out in public. The majority would not support it if the details were known!


  17. - Robert the 1st - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:47 pm:

    =I don’t want businesses to pollute our air and water=

    All those neighboring states mentioned are such wastelands after-all.


  18. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:54 pm:

    Simon, causation changes. You can tear your body up on your personal time until the day I hire you. After that, the employer becomes responsible to make you right. How is that protecting anybody?


  19. - Commander Norton - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    Yes, manufacturers used to provide middle-class jobs… because unions forced them to in many case, and often only until they managed to make the leap overseas where they could get away with paying lower wages.

    Also, no one started imposing college-educated workers on them. More often, manufacturers started complaining that job applicants were underprepared and demanding certificate programs at community colleges to essentially train their workers at no cost to them. They were a major factor in the “college-is-the-new-high-school” movement that has forced so many young adults into crippling debt when their paychecks don’t match the investment in their education.


  20. - James Knell - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    I love it when we are presented with only two choices: the status quo and the Walker/Rauner attack on unions. As if presented with only these two choices long enough, sooner or later in a moment of frustration, enough of us will say, “we have no other choice”. How about these guys go get a real economic develop plan? Oh wait, that won’t fit on a bumper sticker and drive up profits enough.


  21. - Publius - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:00 pm:

    his comments seem to say that things use to be better in the past. If that the same past that had higher Union membership? Is that the same past that the minimum wage was actually a living wage? Is that the same past that provided pensions for their employees?

    do you all remember driving south on 55 between south grand and Stevenson before the government regulated land fills? The smell was horrible.

    I guess if you want jobs in Illinois you have to chose lower wages and unhealthy environment. What happened to corporate/ small business civil responsibility.


  22. - Downstate hack - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:02 pm:

    Great speech by Baise. He hit the nail on the head. Stats on job creation don/t lie.


  23. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:03 pm:

    === In what world do we live in where a $100 billion PLUS pension obligation can be explained
    away by saying it’s the constitution. If the The Constitution has to be amended to solve this problem, then the elected leadership of this state should get about the business of doing it. A constitutional provision that was drafted in in 1970 cannot and must not bankrupt this great state. ===

    How about in the world where we cherish the rule of law. Where people can be protected from the abuses by politicians who, to curry favor with the electorate, shorted the pension funds to pay for other programs.

    Sure go ahead and change the constitution, but that won’t solve the problem. The debt will exist and the existing employees will not be affected. The GA has already addressed future pension costs. Now rather than continue whining, just bite the bullet and deal with the debt.


  24. - Norseman - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:07 pm:

    === All those neighboring states mentioned are such wastelands after-all. ===

    Simple-minded response.


  25. - The Fool On The Hill - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:13 pm:

    What’s amazing is that the City Club didn’t laugh him out of the room.


  26. - Simple Simon - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:14 pm:

    Because causation is difficult to attribute, exactly how would Dog change causation and how would that affect businesses here? How would your change affect worker’s recoveries? Previous WC changes have not had the effect of lowering bills as much as predicted. Rich has been saying for months that some limited WC reform seems doable, but that one is attached to less popular, union busting items, which is why it has not gotten done. Next?


  27. - sal-says - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:18 pm:

    == he’s an old Statehouse hand and knows whereof he speaks ==

    Well. Part 1 is true; remember back to a former life when Baise was Secty of DOT. Second part; not so sure. Show us the source of the #’s. Generally folks, pols, business types, etc. like to find #’s that support their spin/premise. Michigan? The auto industry has come a long way back during that period.


  28. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:27 pm:

    Lots of self contradictions here.

    - “For decades, MANUFACTURERS have been the best producers of middle–‐class jobs in the nation.” “They were able to raise a family”

    “Government now feel that they are the experts on how to run a business.”

    Next Baise claims that Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan “created” jobs, not the entrepreneurs.

    http://www.centerforregionaldevelopment.com/New%202015%20-%20uploads/Show%20Case%20Manufacturing/Entire%20Report.pdf

    Since 2000, these States mentioned by Baise have LOST up to 22% to 38% of their manufacturing jobs. Yet productivity has increased and conversely manufacturing wages have declined to an average of $19.43 in 2014.

    Who can raise a family on $19.43 an hour?

    Baise and his friends are not paying middle class wages.

    Without the middle class spending there is NO demand for these manufactured products. Without demand the entrempenures have NO business.

    The Government usually gets involved in business when there are abuses.


  29. - Dr X - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 4:27 pm:

    Something like this would go a long way, repeat and repeat.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/over-regulating-small-businesses-who-does-it-really-hurt-employers-or-employees-2011-2

    Will Greg favor univeral healthcare to remove healthcare cost from business offerin’s?


  30. - illinois manufacturer - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 5:47 pm:

    The report linked by Chicago 20 blows his argument apart. Illinois is jn the middle. Is Baise saying follow Minnesota? What is his position on PNTR. He may know Springfield. Does he know manufacturing?


  31. - illinois manufacturer - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 5:51 pm:

    Other than workmans comp…I dont see anything in the speach. Minnesota has much higher state and estate taxes and it has done best since 2000.


  32. - Simple Simon - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 5:54 pm:

    Most of the big job moves I’ve seen have had a really big tax break attached to them, notably Indiana. No surprise that businesses move to the biggest profit location.

    So here’s something. Let a comparison of costs be done for us and adjacent states, dealing with ALL normal costs to own and operate a business, including training employees, wages, insurance, transportation, state and local income and property taxes, estate taxes…everything that could possibly influence business costs. THEN we would be able to judge the situation, not based on some simple minded complaints about the boot of the state being on someone’s neck. I bet Illinois doesn’t do as badly as we think. Truly inclusive, not done by partisans. And then figure in the tax breaks afterward…


  33. - Carl - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 6:00 pm:

    $9 to $10 a hour is middle class? Fine, the world won’t need as many manufacturers.


  34. - illinois manufacturer - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 6:02 pm:

    2000 was PNTR with China .EPI estkmates that was 2 million jobs. Much of the rest was automation and demand collapse. Imports from China are now down 10 percent from last years peak of 400 billion in imports and we have had only a blip in manufacturing. Mh guess is half the stuff we import from China we could live without. Half is some sort of electonics.


  35. - illinois manufacturer - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 6:04 pm:

    The economy is very poor. It isnt hard to find good labor for 10 an hour….sorry to say but true at least downstate.


  36. - Thunder Fred - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 6:27 pm:

    Always surprising to see how fast public union workers are to throw their private “brothers and sisters” under the bus. Who do you think lost those 300,000 jobs?


  37. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 6:44 pm:

    - Thunder Fred

    The answer to your question is of course, Ronald Reagan.


  38. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 9:08 pm:

    Baise is simply spinning an updated version of the trickle down economics canard.

    If the State could only enrich manufacturers, then they could employ more manufacturing workers at “middle class” wages.

    Just a few years ago Caterpillar was lamenting the lack of qualified apprentice machinists that required an college associates degree in mathematics.

    After two years of college level mathematics these highly skilled machinists can now earn a whopping $12 an hour at Caterpillar while their CEO, Oberhelman made $17.9 million last year or $8,606 an hour.

    If that money was spread among the Cat workforce it would be spent in Illinois on goods and services instead of socked away in off shore tax havens.


  39. - Ron - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 9:29 pm:

    Idaho gained more manufacturing jobs than Illinois, that should be enough to tell us something is very wrong here. Do you think we have one of the worst unemployment rates and slowest job growth rates because we are business friendly?


  40. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 9:53 pm:

    Race to the bottom for wages.

    http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/idahos-share-minimum-wage-workers-declines-now-2nd-highest-us

    “Idaho’s share of minimum wage workers declined 0.6 percent from 2012 to 2013 according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The drop means Idaho no longer has the largest share of minimum wage workers in the country; Tennessee has taken Idaho’s spot.”


  41. - Team Warwick - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 7:24 am:

    Now that all the state employees are on strike like my gubner promised, i want one of the higher paid jobs with all those wonderful raises and bonuses like my gubner promised.


  42. - Ron - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 7:25 am:

    And yet Idaho and Tennessee have growing populations, Illinois is losing population. Something is very wrong here.


  43. - Ron - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 7:26 am:

    What is the cost of living in Idaho? How about Tennessee?


  44. - Trolling Troll - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 8:06 am:

    The only people who believe in trickle down economics are the few who benefit from it, and their paid trolls.


  45. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 8:08 am:

    - Ron -,

    If you think Idaho and/or Tennessee are the same as Illinois, and then better than living in Illinois, have at it, lol


  46. - Delimma - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 8:46 am:

    Decades ago, we were sold a bill of goods. If we merely gave corporations and business people (including small businesses), tax breaks so they could make a little money, those profits would be reinvested and more people would be hired at higher wages.

    Corporations are experiencing record profits.
    Automation has reduced the number of employees required to manufacture goods.
    Oh, and many of those jobs are now off shored to cheaper countries so the companies that promised higher wages and more employees can make more profits.

    Something strange is afoot at the circle K.


  47. - D. Schwarz - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 8:47 am:

    Manufacturers bemoaning the loss of jobs/lack of job creation is a straw man. Can we have an honest conversation about automation in manufacturing?


  48. - Anon - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 9:10 am:

    Anyone got the numbers for how many public service jobs we’ve lost?


  49. - Ron - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 9:14 am:

    Illinois had 769k government jobs in July 1990. In July 2016 we had 828k.


  50. - Ron - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 9:15 am:

    Contrast that with 912k manufacturing jobs in July 1990 vs. 579k in July 2016.


  51. - Triple fat - Wednesday, Aug 31, 16 @ 11:28 am:

    Here’s a blast from the past. Remember when middle class Presidents of Manufacturing Associations and former IDOT Secretaries could make close to a million dollars for doing hardly anything but use their connections and influence? http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-02-10/news/9802100112_1_illinois-gaming-board-casino-dealings-casino-queen


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