I’ve written about Illinois corruption before, using some observations made by Mish on his Global Economic Trend Analysis blog. Recently, Mish addressed the issue again. This is easy to do since everything about Illinois seems to keep getting worse. But one point he makes needs to be in every conservative’s arsenal: Why is there such a huge difference between Illinois and neighboring Wisconsin? Mish writes,
Following governor Walker’s courageous anti-union stance, Wisconsin’s state budget went from a $2 billion deficit to a nearly $1 billion surplus. And all this happened with hardly any public-sector employees losing their jobs. Wisconsin is poised to offer its people $500 million a year in tax relief. It looks like Walker picked the right strategy.
Illinois is in a bigger mess.
Mish points readers to Paul Kersey’s article at the Illinois Policy Institute, “Wisconsin’s labor reforms reach three-year mark: Should Illinois have followed Walker’s lead?”
Government union bosses were the only losers. Their membership – and their budgets – dropped by a quarter. And because they knew that they needed to convince workers to stay on board, and many of those workers disagreed with union politics, those unions cut back heavily on their lobbying efforts.
When the battle over Act 10 started, Walker laid out his thinking, which can be summarized this way: rather than raise taxes, lay off government workers, close down schools or cut government services – all the usual ways of dealing with holes in government budgets – he would balance budgets by shifting money and power from government union bosses who had done so much to create the mess in the first place.
Illinois is in a similar mess. The state’s pensions are underfunded by at least $100 billion. Powerful teacher unions can shut down schools to win pay hikes from nearly broke school districts. A temporary tax increase is liable to be made permanent – or worse, replaced with a progressive income tax that will chase more middle-class families and businesses out of our state.
Things can go on like this until state government breaks down under unsustainable debts. Or lawmakers could restore balance the way Wisconsin did, by taking money and power back from government union bosses and returning it to the people.
Challenging government unions was hard, but so far Wisconsin’s approach is working very well. Hopefully the story of Act 10 will encourage Illinoisans to take a long, hard look at government unions in the state.
I have a hard time believing that liberals are unaware of the economic contrast that is being demonstrated between liberal and conservative states. They have to know they are the champions of poverty and corruption.
So they just double down on their pretensions.
Think of all the whining about raising the minimum wage and the assurances we are given that it won’t damage employment. The people who make these assertions act as if they are self-evidently the best and brightest and that whoever thinks that making workers cost more will cause employers to hire fewer of them is a silly rube or a corrupt con man. Yet what is their economic track record? Is Illinois demonstrating the economic genius of modern Liberalism?