A Pew Center report on Wednesday, February 17, ranked Illinois dead last nationally in the percentage of necessary money the state has set aside to pay public employees’ pensions. 
Every tax payer, and there are many who live in the area covered by the Lake Forester, should be concerned about the precarious financial health of this state whose budget will never get back in balance unless the whooping $83 billion in unfunded pension liabilities is fixed.  The Illinois Policy Institute, headed by CEO Jim Tillman, should be applauded for offering a groundbreaking solution.  Theirs is the one and only detailed plan to actually fund Illinois pension liability while protecting taxpayers and not breaking the bank.
 The IPI Pension Funding & Fairness Act has been criticized in that it proposes a brief period of borrowing — a 10-year loan amounting to $11 billion. Noteworthy are these two provisions:
  • The first provision institutes a three year budget freeze at FY 2010 levels.  After three years, spending growth would be limited to population growth plus inflation, which would be constitutionally protected and could not be changed without voter approval.
  • The second provision calls for borrowing the difference between the budget surplus and the Unfunded Pension Liability contribution.  This borrowing is strictly short-term and is not intended to be used for “risk arbitrage.”

How does the IPI plan differ from business as usual in Illinois?  Recent borrowing by Governor Quinn can be likened to running up debt on a credit card.  Money must be borrowed to pay for overspending in Illinois. This practice has resulted in borrowing more money to pay off previous Illinois debt, which, in turn, has led to even more borrowing to feed the ever growing beast that is Illinois government.  This practice has left tax hikes and the selling of assets as the only ways left for Governor Quinn to pay the whopping $83 billion Unfunded Pension Liability. 

Quinn’s way out of the unfunded pension crisis in Illinois is to focus on tax hikes rather than to control spending.  And what would Quinn’s tax hikes accomplish, they would only cause more businesses and people to move out of Illinois, resulting in less tax revenue and more unemployment.

The Illinois Policy Institute’s plan, despite borrowing $10 billion initially, would pay down the Unfunded Pension Liability through its proposed spending freeze.  This would result in a decrease in the amount of borrowing each successive year. By FY 2017 it is estimated that the budget surplus will exceed unfunded liability contributions, annual pension payments will have been met, and the Illinois pension system will be on track, as required by law,  to become 90% funded by FY 2045.   

Unfortunately the Illinois pension system has been treated like a neglected child.  Politicians are inclined to defer payment into the pension fund because any consequences of not doing happen years down the road, definitely not after the next election. 

Illinois can’t continue on the same path.  Doing business as usual will only put the state in deeper debt and in a more precarious financial condition.  Raising taxes is also not  feasible at a time when the economy remains shaky and the future is uncertain.  

It is important that you contact your state representatives, Senator Susan Garrett and Representive Karen May.  Are they listening to their constitutents, or are they willing to follow in lock step with their Democrat leaders and colleagues, which is the reason for the present Dooms-Day scenaro Illinois is facing?

The Illinois Policy Institute — a nonpartisan research organization headed by CEO Jim Tillman and dedicated to supporting free market principles and liberty-based pubic policy – –  featured “Obamanomics” author and Washington Examiner columnist, Tim Carney, on Wednesday, February 24.   This is Mr. Carney’s second book.  His first book — “The Big Ripoff:  How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money” — won the Templeton Enterprise Award from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the 2006 Lysander Spooner Award for the “best book on liberty.” 

The event was attended by sixty individuals, who enjoyed cocktails and appetizers in the beautiful 40th Floor Liberty Library at 190 South LaSalle Street before the introduction of Tim Carney. 

As indicated by the subtitle of “Obamanomics:  How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses.”  the theme of Carney’s remarks centered around the concept of  As Government Grows. . . Who Gets Rich?  As explained by Mr. Carney, every time the government gets bigger someone is getting richer.  Instead of this wealth going to taxpayers, entrepreneurs, and consumers, it is going to large corporations and unions such as Goldman Sachs, GE, Pfizer and the United Auto workers .  It is ironic, but not surprising, that the same “special interests” President Barack Obama lambasted on the campaign trail are now profiting handsomely from the big government polices now dominating Washington, D.C. 

Tim Carney told of backroom deals with drug companies in the great health care scam, the buying off of industries with a pork-filled “Cap and Trade” bill to promote the Global Warming Hoax, and the bailing out of Goldman Sachs who has a heavy presence in the West Wing (including Rahm Emanuel). 

In his book Tim Carney, as an investigative reporter, has dug up informtion ignored by the mainstream media and which the White House had hoped to keep hidden.   Under the guise of battling corporate America, Obama is really delivering corporate socialism to America through corporate welfare and oppressive regulations. 

Books were available for sale and signing at the event.  In purchasing my copy of “Obamanomics” to be signed by Tim Carney, I noticed that the foreword was by Ron Paul.  Curious, I asked Mr. Carney why Ron Paul was chosen given his questionable positions, especially on the issue of national defense?  Carney’s answer:  “Ron Paul is the only legislator in Congress who has consistently voted against all tax increases and bank bailouts.”

Registration for the event was handled by KatieTruesdell, Manager of External Relations at the Illinois Policy Institute (www.illinoispolicy.org).

How much more can this nation take before she descends into the grips of Socialism?   

Posted on Maggie’s Notebook on February 18 was an account that Michelle Obama has stocked the White House Library with books of Socialism.  (http://maggiesnotebook.blogspot.com/2010/01/michelle-obama-stocks-white-house.html)

Rob Port at SayAnythingBlog took a tour of the White House before attending CPAC and visited the White House Library.  A tour guide told the group that the Obama White House Library was stocked with books chosen by Michelle Obama. Rob took this picture.

If the titles are not clear in your browser, they are, left to right: Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties, Vols. I and II by M. Ostrogorski (UK politics) U.S. Senators and Their World by Donald R. Matthews The Populist Moment by Lawrence Goodwyn The Populist Revolt by Donald Hicks The Socialist Party of America, by John McBrewster, F.P. Miller and Agnes F. Vandome The American Socialist Movement 1897-1912 by Ira Kipnis The Social Basis of American Government by Nathan Glazer The Invention of the American Political Parties by Roy F. Nichols.

Socialism throughout the years of our long political history has been unable to bring down capitalism.  Is that the message Michelle Obama is sending?   I don’t think so.

Recently I viewed a Mike Huckabee TV show during which he interviewed Michelle Obama about her fight against obesity.  Huckabee found Michelle to be quite charming.  How novel!  Charm is what won the election for Obama.  Charm destroys what might be lucking beneath the surface, so what looks impressive on the outside actually spells disaster once concealed motives start to  become known.

As it is with this nation’s continuing path toward Socialism, many are doubting what is happening right before their eyes.  This is not surprising  as 1/3 of the American people hold a favorable view of Socialism.  Especially with  the younger generation, it has been brainwashed in high school and college to believe that this nation and its Constitution needs revising.  As such a revision of American history is the standard now days.  This has resulted in the negative views held by many young people about their country of birth of which they should be proud, but of which they find fault and great misgivings.

Mike Huckabee, when musing about his interview with Michelle Obama, told viewers that they should never doubt the loyalty of Michelle Obama to her nation.   In light of the stocking of books by Michelle Obama about Socialism as seen in the White House Library by Rob Port, might Mike Huckabee’s positive view of Michellle Obama be questionable?

Surely it is not normal for the American people to stock books on Socialism in their homes.  As the White House is the People’s House, why should  books about Socialism be displayed to prominently in the White House Library?

After years of trying to convince the American people that Climate Change is real and that failure to heed the signs will result in catastrophic events that will destroy civilization, Professor Phil Jones, Director of the prestigious Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, recently admitted that there has been no statistically significant warming in the past 15 years. Jones further conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now, which suggest that global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.  This sound like fraud to me and a hoax on the American people.

Despite more and more evidence surfacing against global warming claims, those dedicated to the cause are not about to let it go.  Global warming has become like a religion to them and a means through which to implement their ideology.  This ideology calls for government control over the American people through regulation and taxes and the replacement of free enterprise and capitalism with government owned entities.

For those who grew up in the 40’s and have no sense of history, we perceive what is happening under the Obama as akin to Socialism.  Policies enacted have already set this nation on a path to Socialism and away from the principles of our Constitution.

A recent Pew Poll relating how 1/3 of the American people do not view Socialism unfavorably does not bode well for this nation, given that Socialism has failed wherever and whenever it has been tried in the world.  It is past time for the American people to wake up!

I would like to comment on your Editorial of Saturday, February 13, Build it better.  It was a sensible and well reasoned response to a bi-partisan, televised summit scheduled by President Obama at Blair House on February 25th.

Mentioned in your commentary were solid Republican ideas that must be listened to if Obama and Democratic leaders are serious players in their proposed bi-partisan brainstorming session on health care.

Other “wish list” items favored by the Tribune Board included more options for people with pre-existing health conditions; the same tax breaks for those buying insurance privately as those covered by their employers; more options for catastrophic illnesses; real cost control, especially in Medicare and Medicaid; and more assistance to small businesses to assist employees in buying insurance.

This is all well and good, but even before the proposed February 25th summit, there are several reasons why Republicans should be skeptical of Obama’s mission to find enough positive, bi-partisan overlap in ideas so a health care deal can be reached.

  • Democrats couldn’t pass health care reform in 2009, even with Democrat majorities in the House and the Senate.
  • The Democrat Senate and House versions of health care reform, both hammered out behind closed doors, are now stalled over the inability of Democrats to reconcile the two bills.
  • Republicans were denied repeated requests in 2009 to sit down and discuss their health care reform plans with Democrats which included tort reform, allowing insurers to buy across state line, and establishing insurance pools so rates are more affordable,
  • Despite expressing a willingness to start from scratch, President Obama has indicated that he likes what is found in the competing Senate and House versions of health care reform legislation.

Given that much of the pubic has rejected the 2009 version of health care reform, best described as a slow-motion federal government takeover of health care, what makes President Obama believe that health care reform is still doable?

As an ideologue, President Obama actually believes that the American people rejected his Democrat-inspired health care reform legislation because it lacked openness, transparency and bi-partisanship.  Accordingly, Obama is incapable of understanding that the American people do have a good idea of what his plan is all about and they don’t like it.

The Hail Mary pass sought by President Obama on February 25th will not work.  As noted in the Trib’s editorial, “What’s wrong with starting over on health care?”  It would be political suicide for Republicans to agree to a health care reform plan about which both Democrats and the American public have expressed great misgivings.

It was right before the Super Bowl on February 7th that President Obama reopened the healthcare reform issue, after it was all about jobs-jobs-jobs these past few weeks, by envisioning a half-day, bi-partisan conference at Blair House on February 25th, supposedly to get Republicans to share, but to share in what?

There are many reasons why Republicans should be skeptical of Obama’s mission to find enough positive, bi-partisan overlap to craft and pass a healthcare reform bill.

  • Democrats couldn’t pass healthcare reform in 2009, even with Democrat majorities in the House and the Senate.
  • The Democrat Senate and House versions of healthcare reform, both hammered out behind closed doors, are now stalled over the inability of Democrats to reconcile the two bills.
  • Failure to pass healthcare reform is the fault of Democrats, as Republicans were denied repeated requests in 2009 to sit down and discuss their healthcare reform plans with Democrats.
  • Obama says he is willing to start from scratch as long as the final results reaches his goals, but how could this be true when Obama likes the competing versions of both the Senate and House healthcare reform legislation?

Even after the public, by and large, has rejected the President Obama’s plan which represents a slow-motion federal government takeover of health care, President Obama still doesn’t get it!  As an ideologue-in-chief President Obama believes that the American people rejected his Democrat-inspired health care reform legislation because it lacked openness, transparency and bi-partisanship, when in fact the American people have a good idea of what the President’s plan is all about and they don’t like it.

It would be political suicide for Republicans to buy into a healthcare reform plan which many Democrats and much of the public rejects.

For this reason should the proposed bi-partisan healthcare meeting with C-SPAN coverage take place, the Hail Mary pass sought by President Obama will not work. The way to get bipartisanship is to start from scratch. President Obama is not able to be anything but who he is, a hard-headed man of the Left.

When speaking, a trillion easily rolls off the tongue with little thought as to how massive a trillion really is.

Voting along partisan lines, 60-39, Senate Democrats on Thursday, Jan. 28, were able to push through a $1.9 trillion increase in the national debt with a supermajority — Sen.-elect Scott Brown had not yet been seated — which represents a staggering and record increase of $14.3 trillion in total borrowing power.  This is the third time since President Obama took office that Democrats have raised the debt ceiling.

Less than a decade ago $1.9 trillion would have financed federal government operations and programs for an entire year.  Now it’s only enough to make sure that our government can be kept open until after the November election, thus sparing Democrats from another vote prior to Election Day.

It took 200 years to build the federal debt to a total of $1.9 trillion.  As the national debt was approaching $1 trillion in 198l,  President Ronald Reagan described $1 trillion as “a stack of thousand-dollar bills 67 miles high.”  Now 14.3 trillion would form a stack of $1,000 bills 958 miles high, amounting to $45,000 for every American.

Just what does the 1.9 trillion figure represent?:

  • In money:  $1.9 trillion equals about $6,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.
  • In military operations: $1.9 trillion is twice the money America has spent in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.
  • In seconds: 1.9 trillion adds up to about 60,000 years.
  • In hours: 1.9 trillion would go back almost 220 million years ago when dinosaurs were just beginning to dominate the Earth.

No reasonable person could deny that federal spending is out of control.  To make matters worse, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
shows that the U.S. could run a deficit matching last year’s $1.4 trillion shortfall.

Could it be that many Americans don’t care about the insane debt being being racked up.  Will it even be possible to pay back the interest on such a massive debt which is estimated to be $6 trillion over the next decade?

It is time to take action.  The November 2nd General Election will give voters an opportunity to reverse the drift away from the freedoms and principles set forth in our Constitution, before Socialism — already viewed favorably by 1/3 of Americans according to a Pew Poll — overtakes this nation and completely destroys the can-do spirit of the American people.  For it is through free enterprise that this nation will prosper.  Spending massive amounts of money is not the solution to creating jobs or wealth.

I would hate to think that this generation of Americans has become so self-centered and selfish that they live only for today with little or no concern about how their narcissistic behavior will affect future generations of Americans.

Frightening is that a recent Pew Poll indicated that 1/3 of the American people have a favorable view of Socialism, which  is akin to the progressive policies being enacted by the  Obama administration.

How is this so?  Poll results warned Democrats that the term “liberalism” (and being a liberal) did not register well with the public, but that the term “progressive” polled favorably. Democrats therefore started to call their policies progressive rather than liberal.  Progressive policies are not unlike those espoused by Socialism in past decades.

Americans who accept Socialism are likely to look upon government as a nanny state.  It is likely that most have no historical knowledge as to what Socialism represented in the past?  If this nanny state mentality continues to expand in a nation where people were once too proud to accept handouts, our insane national debt of  $14.3 trillion will only continue to climb.

Spending massive amounts of money is not the solution to restoring prosperity which, in turn, produces jobs. The can-do spirit that made America must be revived.  I would hate to think that this generation of Americans have become so self-centered and selfish that they live only for today with little or no concern about how their narcissistic behavior will affect future generations of Americans.

It is time to take action.  November 2nd will give voters the chance to stem the current drift of this nation toward Socialism, which has failed wherever and whenever it has been tried, and back toward our Constitution and the principles and freedoms it sets forth which are the sources of this nation’s prosperity.

I am weary after the intensity of the work and the effort that went into my support of several Republican candidates in the Tuesday, Feb. 2nd election.  I am also tired of the TV and radio commercials, the automatic telephone messages from candidates, the invitations to attend teleconferencing Town Hall Meetings, and the sleek-looking candidate mailings that flooded my mailbox and which more often than not stretched the truth about candidates.

Just what did all these efforts produce for the five 10th District candidates seeking to fill the vacancy left by Representative Mark Kirk who was successful in his U.S. Senate bid?

The answer is best told in the amount of money each candidate had to spend to advance their candidacy.  And why should money matter?  It cost big bucks to run TV ads and to mail out glitzy candidate literature.

I employed the January 28th issue of the Lake Forester (Pioneer Press) as my guide to establish the fund-raising efforts and campaign spending of the five 10th District candidates for the  2010 election cycle from July 1. 2009 through Jan. 13 (10th Congress primary races drawing big money by Lynn Stiefel).  The Primary Election results were  quite interesting.

  • Elizabeth Coulson raised $460,632, spent $329,105 and earned 16,084 votes.
  • Robert Dold raised $459,114, spent $261,102 and earned 19,605 votes.
  • Arie Friedman, MD, raised $35,737, spent $28,357 and earned 7,223 votes.
  • Dick Green raised $550,537, spent $484,048 and earned 7,566 votes.
  • Paul Hamann raised $356, no record of what he spent, but earned 1,073 votes.  Hamann was the only candidate who called for an immediate withdrawal of troops  from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Robert Dold, as the winner of the Republican Primary, will  face Daniel Seals in the November General Election.

In observing the above listing, Green was the top fund raiser, yet his money didn’t translate into votes.   Dick Green raised roughly fourteen times as much money as Arie Friedman, yet their vote totals were quite close  — 7,566 for Green and 7,223 for Friedman.

The same can be said when comparing Friedman’s campaign contributions with those of Coulson and Dold.  Both raised approximately eleven times more money than did Arie Friedman, yet Friedman’s vote totals, in comparison to the money spent, were quite impressive.

Also of note is that Arie Friedman, M.D., unlike the other four candidates, mounted only a ten-week campaign.  Candidate Dick Green started his campaign in January of 2009.

Arie Friedman, M.D. — a Desert War Veteran, a  Pediatrician who was recently rated as one of the best in the nation, and a Small Businessman — was a stellar candidate for the U.S. Congress.  His was a grassroots campaign that was limited in funds and handicapped by his late entry into the race.

I have concluded that because of Friedman’s candidacy, Robert Dold won instead of Elizabeth Coulson, who many feel is a Democrat in sheep’s clothing.  Friedman was able to snatch away from Coulson the votes she had counted on from voters most concerned with healthcare, such as doctors and medical professionals, as well as Jewish moderates, who have supported her in the past.

In checking out Coulson’s liberal record in Springfield during the thirteen years she represented the IL 17th District, it is obvious that the SEIU supported Coulson.  She was even too liberal for a district that had reelected Mark Kirk five times!

Even though Arie Friedman lost his bid for the U.S. Congress, he has no regrets.  In attending a gathering of Arie supporters at Flatlanders in Lincolnshire on Election Night, Arie was gracious in his congratulations to Robert Dold and urged his supporters to back the winner with the same enthusiasm they had for him.  Arie himself plans to campaign with Dold to make sure the seat stays in GOP hands.

Most telling is what happened the morning of February 3rd at a Republican Unity Breakfast in Chicago.  Friedman attended with Campaign Manager Paul Miller, reassuring Dold of their support.  Absent were Elizabeth Coulson, Dick Green, and Paul Hamann.  This speaks highly of the character of Arie Friedman, M.D.

It is my hope that Dr. Friedman will continue to pursue political office when the time is right.  We need good people to serve this nation, not as a career politician, but as one who will serve the interests of his constituents with integrity, passion and dedication, for these are the same qualities that have to far shaped Dr. Arie Friedman’s life.  He will  have my support  in any future campaigns.

It came as little surprise, but I was still disappointed, when the Chicago Tribune obediently followed the Republican Establishment endorsements of Andy McKenna, Matt Murphy, Judy Topinka, and Mark Kirk despite its editorializing throughout the past year for new and fresh candidates who could sweep corruption and bring needed change to Illinois.  McKenna, Murphy, Topinka, and Kirk were hand-picked by the Republican Establishment and then promoted and supported  financially, in its mistaken belief that retreads and left-of-center candidates are the way to go for a winning Republican ticket in the November General Election.

There was some good news for Illinois Conservative voters, Tea Party Movement people and pro-family voters, who have long rejected the dictatorial approach of the Establishment in hand-picking candidates. Their votes did make a difference.  Andy McKenna went down in a yet unsettled race for governor, leaving pro-life Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard in a tie for the governorship candidacy.  Jason Plummer, a fresh new face and also pro-life, defeated Matt Murphy as the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor.

My biggest disappointment was the selection by Republican Primary voters of Mark Kirk to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate.  Is it possible for a  candidate who strays far from Republican values to be supported by conservatives and Tea Party Movement people in the November General Election?

Pragmatic individuals will vote for Kirk for the sake of electing a Republican, even if that Republican is objectionable to them.  For others, Mark Kirk only defiles the name of the Republican Party in his rejection of the principles outlined in both the state and the national Republican Platform.  Accordingly, Mark Kirk is looked upon as a classic RINO or a Democrat in sheep’s clothing.  Kirk’s voting record speaks of an individual where there is little daylight on issues between Giannoulias and himself.

Even if Mark Kirk should win the U.S. Senate race given that Illinois has twice as many Democrat as Republican voters, and that Democrats will surely mount a brutal and nasty fight to keep the Senate seat in the Democrat aisle, Democrats will still win as Mark Kirk, for starters, is a reliable Democrat on social issues.

This question remains, will Mark Kirk generate interest from “real” Republicans in the November 2nd General Election — the base of the Republican Party — to win his Senate race, or will Republican Conservative voters opt out of casting  votes, as a matter of conscience,  for Mark Kirk  and Judy Topinka?

Conservatism is alive and well in Illinois.  It will only falter if Conservatives  give up and allow the Republican Establishment to call the shots.