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Madigan in 1988: Democrats should be “party of economic opportunity”

Friday, Sep 9, 2016

* Illinois Issues has dug up a 1988 interview of House Speaker Michael Madigan. At the time, Gov. Jim Thompson had unsuccessfully pushed a tax hike. Madigan blocked it.

Check out these Madigan quotes

The biggest problem facing the state of Illinois is continual economic recovery. … When I went to the legislature in 1971, Illinois was an economic leader in the nation; we were always ahead of everybody else in terms of the economic indicators. But today we either follow the nation or we’re in mid range in the nation. … What I’ve always heard is that the biggest consideration in terms of business investment is the cost of doing business in the state, which is automatically linked to the taxing plan. Contrary to what Gov. Thompson has said, Illinois is not a low tax state. On the contrary, it is either a high tax state or a state which is mid range in the nation in terms of taxation. So I just don’t think that, given the fragile nature of our business environment, that we’re well served by increasing the cost of business when it comes to taxes. […]

I’d like to see Illinois recoup its position of 20 years ago when it was an economic leader in the nation. After you work your way through all of the political issues, you always come down to the No. 1 concern of an ordinary family in this state, which is simply to be able to live decently either in a home or an apartment; to educate their children to the best of their ability; and lastly, to provide for their retirement. Those are the No. 1 concerns of an ordinary family, and the best way for government to respond to those concerns is to work to have a good business environment so that there are economic opportunities for everyone in the state. […]

In my view, the Democratic party should be a party of economic opportunity, where the party works to provide an opportunity to people in America who need an opportunity to get ahead in life. As long as the Democratic party is a party of economic opportunity, it will be the majority party in this nation. When it is no longer a party of opportunity and becomes a “tax and spend” party, then it will be the minority party in the country.

Whatever happened to that guy?

* He was also asked whether Gov. Thompson, who had been in office 12 years, has “been around so long that his longevity has become an issue”

It’s an issue to the extent that maybe Thompson has become stale; maybe the people around him have lost the level of interest that’s really important for efficient government


* There’s lots more and it’s well worth your time to read it all, and I have to go run some errands soonish, so click here and have a good, long look.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Piece of Work - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    So, Mike thinks Illinois was an economic engine in 1971 when he joined the legislature. Well, it is crap now and he has been there 45 years, overseeing much of it.

    I’m in my 60’s and when MJM got elected, I was in high school!!!

  2. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    Piece, I can relate. AA was in junior high in 1971.

  3. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    “Time makes fools of us all. Our only comfort is that greater shall come after us.” — Eric Temple Bell (1883–1960)

    – MrJM

  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    Mike Klemens perspective is very insightful.

  5. - Anon - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:27 pm:

    If they have a -D next to their name, then they have simply “evolved” on a position. Imaging if it were a -R, they would be blasted as a “flip flopper” Go figure

  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:27 pm:

    Tell them what they want to hear, and they will believe you!

  7. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:30 pm:

    You know what I always say when i go to the doctor or car repair place. I’d like the person with no experience please.

  8. - Keyser Soze - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:36 pm:

    The political class has done well. The rest of us, not so good.

  9. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:38 pm:

    Just a thought here: could it be that opinions differ on what “economy opportunity” requires of legislators?

  10. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:43 pm:

    This is anon at 12:38 edit: “economic opportunity” not, “economy opportunity.” Apologies.

  11. - A guy - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    All politics is local…..and personal.

  12. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:46 pm:

    So, if Madigan loses control of the House, Jim Durkin takes over. 21 years in Springfield. Isn’t that too long?

  13. - Deft Wing - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:49 pm:

    If “party of economic opportunity” = public sector unions, he has accomplished his mission … to the detriment of the remaining state population.

    And talk about growing stale! That’d be actually funny commentary if Madigan hadn’t hurt the state so badly. But he did and still does.

  14. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    Christine Radogno is approaching her 20th year in the General Assembly. Way too long. When Durkin and Radogno started, people were still using bag phones!

  15. - Honeybear - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 12:59 pm:

    God I just hate politicians. I worry because my daughter has a silver tongue and she can spin like a pro. God help me. Sometimes I let her get away with stuff just because her explanation was so artful. Regardless, I can’t stand the neoliberal “opportunity” myth from anyone. I really didn’t like Madigan before and I like him less now. “Economic opportunity” is a cultural hegemony that has kept working folk in line for a long time. It is the carrot on a stick out in front of us. In our effort to reach it we are wearing ourselves to the bone.

    Happy Friday and Get off my collectivist lawn!

  16. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 1:30 pm:

    Mike Madigan- who knew the Turnaround Agenda circa 1988 was his idea.

    So refreshing to hear from a pro business democrat. They are an endangered species these days.

    I would love to hear his explanation for the 180 turn in his perspective.

  17. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===the 180 turn in his perspective.===

    I read the entire interview. It was remarkably consistent with the Michael Madigan of today, in my opinion. I’m sure if anyone could get him to sit for a similar interview today, his comments on economic growth would be very similar to what he said in 1988.

  18. - Stark - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 1:48 pm:

    -Lucky Pierre-

    Try reading the interview before commenting. If you did read it, you read a different article and mixed them up. Point out where he talks about workmen’s comp reform and term limits. Go ahead, I’ll wait. 180 degree turn? Give me a break.

  19. - Fairness and Fairness Only - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 1:49 pm:

    I wasn’t even born in 1971.

    It sounded good then. It sounds good now. Too bad it’s an empty soundbite. We need plans, action and accountability from both parties.

  20. - Anony - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 2:17 pm:

    Tough to believe anything that escapes Madigan’s mouth. He cares nothing about the people, unless he benefits.

  21. - BK Bro - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 2:19 pm:

    Lol than MJM got a taste of real power. Now he takes money (or is at least involved in facilitating donations) from a who’s who of interest groups that promote the opposite of what he said in this piece. Kind of a sad story. Bring back the old Mike!

  22. - Ron - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 2:22 pm:

    Time to retire Mr. Madigan. You have held Illinois back for far too long.

  23. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    When has Speaker Madigan spoken out recently about ” being cautious about taking money from constituents pockets?”

    Every decision remains political - he was against the tax increase because he thought it would be easier to get a Democrat elected Governor.

    The quote about the state should live within its means is a definite 180

  24. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 2:47 pm:

    LP, he was against Thompson’s much larger tax increase. He ultimately got behind a smaller tax increase that passed the next year. He has always favored continued cuts with new revenue. He has often said the state should live within its means.

    Just because you can’t hear it doesn’t mean he hasn’t said it and his record largely backs him up.

  25. - Anonymouth - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    I loved the article. It really humanizes a person who, for all unfortunate intents and purposes, has become a villainous cartoon character in the media. I loved the part where he talked about taking his family to baseball games and the Indiana Dunes. I loved that the thing he wants to be remembered for most is being a good father. To this day, these things still ring true. It makes me sad to see such vitriol in response to this article. I suppose it is a reflection of how politics has changed over the years. There were always disagreements among the parties (and their leaders) on issues of policy. Now, unfortunately, it appears that disagreements on policy are coupled with personal resentment of those that disagree with us. I suppose Madigan has also contributed to this environment. In any event, it doesn’t help get things done.

  26. - A guy - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 2:56 pm:

    Maybe we can just get Doc and Marty to put the Speaker in the time travel vehicle and set it to 1988. That would solve everything.

  27. - Shemp - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 3:20 pm:

    Great entertainment for a Friday afternoon, thanks!

  28. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    Like 47, in reading the full article, I didn’t see a radical departure.

    For example, a property tax freeze without union-busting poison pills could be passed today if the governor were so inclined.

    I certainly didn’t see anything remotely resembling support for a union-busting “Turnaround Agenda.”

    I’d suggest protecting collective bargaining rights and prevailing wage are supportive of “economic opportunity.”

  29. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 3:36 pm:

    How exactly can property taxes be frozen if there is no flexibility on labor costs, Springfield mandates or work rules etc?

  30. - FDR Democrat - Friday, Sep 9, 16 @ 3:50 pm:

    20 years from 1988 means Sam Shapiro was Governor.
    Guess Democratic leadership was good for Illinois.

    The next Governor, a Republican, put in the state
    income tax…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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