In sync with parents, children, teachers and community leaders throughout this nation who celebrated National School Choice Choice Week from January 22nd through the 26th, the Illinois Policy Institute likewise participated in the week out of its conviction to continue the fight for school choice here in Illinois.  

But before proceeding with the Illinois Policy Institute’s involvement in National School Choice Week, it is important that school choice be defined. 

The term covers a wide array of programs that provide families the opportunity to choose the school that their children will attend. 

The most common school choice options are tax credits and deductions for expenses related to schooling, charter schools, vouchers, homeschooling, and recently on-line learning technology which is making it possible to completely redesign schooling by providing school reformers with powerful news tools.

In a recent newsletter received from the Illinois Policy Institute, highly praised was a group called K12 Inc., founded by Ron Packard who opened two charter schools unlike anything Illinois has ever seen, which utilize on-line learning technology.   http://www.k12.com/about-k12/our-team/senior-management

Vouchers represent a school choice option not sanctioned in Illinois.  A measure was defeated in the Illinois House of Representatives on May 5th of 2010, which would have allowed students in Chicago’s worst performing and most-overcrowed elementary schools to use taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools.  Fervent lobbying by unions defeated legislation that would have given students $3,700 in vouchers to switch to a private or parochial school from a public school.

Charter schools are found in a majority of states and the District of Columbia.  Illinois does permit charter school.  A measure which would have allowed students in Chicago’s worst-performing and most-overcrowded elementary schools to use taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools was defeated in May of 2010 after being championed by the then Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago).  Fervent lobbying by unions sank the idea to give students $3,700 to switch to a private or parochial school.  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-05-05/news/ct-met-legislature-taxes-0506-20100505_1_school-voucher-bill-chicago-public-schools-inner-city-schools

The “Chicago International Charter School (CICS) is the largest charter school operating in Illinois and is a front runner of leadership in the Illinois school reform movement.  CICS operates a network of 16 campuses across the city of Chicago and Rockford, Illinois, serving more than 9,200 students in K through12th grade. 

Charter schools are privately managed public school.  CICS is therefore publicly funded, tuition-free and open to all city children regardless of income or academic ability. 

Collin Hitt, Senior Director of Government Affairs and an education specialist at the Illinois Policy Institute, as a proponent of charter schools, has worked with the CICS on state legislation and contributed to its journal, Focal Point.  Collin’s work at the IPI focuses on better educational options for Illinois children, such as school choice, education funding and education reform. 

It was through Collin Hitt that I was able to observe an example of school choice in action.  Collin was the initiator in inviting an all-volunteer choir of youngsters from grades 2nd through 6th from Bucktown campus, a Chicago International Charter School, to perform a selection of holiday song at an Illinois Policy Institute event on Wednesday, December 7th.  To read more about Bucktown campus and the December 7th IPI holiday event, see this link:   https://nancyjthorner.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/illinois-policy-institut

As referenced above, the Illinois Policy Institute is committed to fighting for school choice in Illinois.   As such It was only fitting that National School Choice Week received the attention it deserved from the IPI.

On Monday, January 26, Juan Williams and Michael Medved appeared in support of National School Choice Week at Trinity National University.  John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, participated in the event.

Michael Medved, a syndicated radio host and political commentator discussed the overbearing and largely unnecessary role the federal government plays in the American education system.  Medved’s salient take away thought was “Let the money stay home.”

Juan William, a journalist and Fox News political analyst, clearly defined the problem as a quasi-monopoly education system supported by weak politicians that kowtow to the demands of special interests instead of putting students first.  William’s equally important message was “Power to the parents is heart and soul of school choice.”

On Wednesday, January 25, the Illinois Policy Institute scheduled its own telephone conference call to commemorate National School Choice Week. Moderating the conference call was Brain Costin, Director of Outreach.  Collin Hitt, in his role as Senior Director of Governmental Affairs, and Michael Wille, Education Policy Analyst, were on hand to discuss the following:

1.  Forty-one states introduced school choice legislation in 2011, with 13 states successfully enacting bills into law.

2.  Nine out of the top 10 open-enrolled high schools in Chicago were charter schools based on ACT scores.

3. Every single analysis has shown that students who accept vouchers have seen positive benefits including improved test scores, higher graduation rates and increased parental satisfaction.

Not everyone agrees that school choice is for everyone.  To the contrary, Maureen Costello, Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project, called National School Choice Week “a well-orchestrated PR event to celebrate ‘school choice. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-costello/school-choice-the-options_b_1229382.html 

 Regarding school choice, Ms. Costello has this to say:

School choice doesn’t magically improve education.  Charter school proponents may argue that a free market, where parents get to pick and choose among educational options, will produce competition and better schools, but the date says otherwise.

Having down played the success of charter schools, most likely Ms. Costello’s opinion regarding voucher distribution is not unlike her critique of charter schools.

Right next door to Illinois in Wisconsin voucher distribution is working.  Reporter M.D. Kittle, writes of Wisconsin’s success in an article published prior to National School Week, which can be found at the following link:   http://statehousenewsonline.com/2012/01/19/choosing-success-school-choice-grows-amid-controversy  and http://statehousenewsonline.com     

One success story reported by Kittle involves the Messmer Catholic Schools.  In Milwaukee, where half of back males do not graduate from high school, at Messmer 85% of students graduated and continued on to a four-year college, 4% went on to a two-year school or into the military, with only a 1% percent dropout rate. 

Incidentally, Milwaukee has led the way since 1990 when Gov. Tommy Thompson cleared the way for Catholic schools to accept voucher students.

Across the nation vouchers have been maligned and discredited by teacher unions for reasons aimed at protecting their own turfs.   As such it is not surprising that Milwaukee’s school choice program success has been targeted as bogus in what it purports. 

Not so according to Greg Foster, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Educational Choice!  Foster relates a new set of empirical studies recently released on the Milwaukee voucher program that are being spun in a misleading way.  His data clearly show that vouchers are delivering an improved education to Milwaukee students.   Read more about the spin noted by Greg Foster at:  http://pjmedia.com/blog/dont-believe-the-spin-milwaukee-voucher-program-a-success/?singlepage=true

What is School Choice? was best summed up for me by Milton and Rose Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children through their foundation, The Friedman Foundation for Education Choice.

What is School Choice?

School Choice is…

a common sense idea that gives every parent the power and freedom to choose their children’s education.

Common Sense

It is immoral that the quality of schooling is based on the value and location of your home.  School choice gives parents the freedom to choose a school based on its quality and their child’s needs, not their home address.

Parent Power

Most people can’t afford to pay twice for education, once in taxes and once in private school tuition.  School choice gives parents financial power by letting them use public funds set aside for education to send their children to a public or private school of their choice.

Parent Freedom

In America, children are assigned to a school based on where their parents live.  School choice gives parents the freedom to choose a school — public or private, near or far, religious or secular — that works best for their children regardless of where they live.

Great Education

Public education in American just isn’t working anymore no matter what we try or how much we spend.  School choice forces all schools — public and private — to offer the best education possible in order to recruit and retain students.  http://www.edchoice.org/School-Choice/What-is-School-Choice.aspx

Well said, Milton and Rose Friedman, and amen to a perfect finish!

 

  

 As Governor Pat Quinn continues to use taxpayer money as perks to keep companies and jobs from moving out of the state to greener pastures, what returns are taxpayers receiving for their monies? 

On January 26 The Illinois Policy Institute published a revealing Tax & Budget Brief — Wrong way, Illinois:  Failed policies lead more Illinoisans down path of unemployment — that relates the stark truth about how Illinois’s lack of economic recovery factored into creating jobs, using graphs to display Illinois’s failure, unlike forty-six other states, to create an environment where people can be put to work.  http://illinoispolicy.org/news/article.asp?ArticleSource=4639

Recently noted was the first year anniversary since Springfield Democrat legislators used a partisan Lame Duck session to pass record income tax increases under the pretense that the extra revenue would be used to pay down debt.  This was indeed a pipe dream. 

Although the 2011 income tax rate increases enriched the state coffers by $7 billion, did the dawn of 2012 bring with it a less debt ridden state?  Not at all. On the contrary, Moody’s recently lowered Illinois’s credit rating from A-1 to A-2 based on the state’s failure to put its house in order.

According to a fiscal analysis released by the Illinois Institute for Illinois’s Fiscal Sustainability, the enacted FY2012 State budget advocates a spending plan which would increase Illinois’s total general operating deficit to $5.0 billion by June of 2012.  By the end of 2012 the Institute projects that Illinois will have accumulated $5.5 billion in unpaid bills to vendors and local governments  http://www.civicfed.org/press-room/total-illinois-budget-deficit-set-grow-fy2012

Judy Topinka,Illinois State Comptroller, had this to say.  Officially Illinois has a backlog of more than $4.25 billion in unpaid bills, but when factoring in other bills the figure is closer to around $8.5 billion. http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/01/19/topinka-Illinois-unpaid-bill-crisis-just-keeps-getting-worse  

To add insult upon insult, Governor Quinn followed through this month with what he described as an urgent need to borrow $800 million of new 10-year general obligation bonds to pay for investments in schools, roads, mass transit, and other key capital projects across the state to keep the already sinking financial boat of Illinois afloat.  Also in January Quinn stated emphatically that the 2011 income taxes are mandatory in 2012 to help pay the bills. 

It is only fair to ask why, despite a slow positive national economic recovery experienced during 2011 in forty six other states where unemployment dipped, the opposite was true here in Illinois?  Why didn’t the extra $7 billion realized through the 2011 increased income tax rates likewise bolster Illinois’s financial situation to improve the state’s economy and in turn create jobs.  As it was, more Illinoisans were placed on the unemployment rolls during 2011 than in any other state.

Illinois racked up yet another disastrous unemployment record in 2011.  Not only did Illinois place more unemployed Illinoisans on its unemployment rolls than did any other state, but Illinois’s dip was larger than those experienced by North Carolina , Hawaii and Mississippi.

The facts:  Unemployment in Illinois stood at 9% in January of 2011.  By December of 2011 it had increased to 9.8%, netting in Illinois a 0.8% loss of jobs.  In terms easily understood, one in ten Illinoisans who would like to go off to a job in the morning now find themselves unemployed.   

 Why did Illinois miss out on the slow economic recovery which forty six other states were able to benefit from in 2011?  According to the Illinois Policy Institute:

Illinois leadership had substantive policy options when it began 2011 with major fiscal changes.  But rather than reduce spending, tackle it pension problems and reduce the cost of doing business in Illinois, officials chose to kick off the year with the largest tax hike in state history. 

 The Illinois Policy Institute continues to fault “Illinois’s current leadership for failing to recognize that Illinois is completing not only against other states for investment and jobs, but globally.”   http://illinoispolicy.org/news/article.asp?ArticleSource=4639

Illinois leadership must be held accountable by Illinoisans. The policies of the party in power in Springfield and the state are based on the faulty premise that an increase of spending is possible by keeping in place the 2011 income tax rate increases and through borrowing additional money to swell the state’s coffers.

This sounds all too familiar.  The same was tried in 2011 and proved to be a total failure, resulting only in increasing Illinois’s already massive debt.

Springfield demands a thorough cleansing of Democrat legislators in Springfield who know only how to tax and spend.  The chance to do so isn’t open to Illinoisans on March 20, but may the November General Elections pave the way for Illinoisans to vote out Democrat legislators who have caused so much malaise here in Illinois and to vote in Republicans who will focus on meaningful reforms with the right policies to return Illinois to sound fiscal footing and put Illinoisans back to work.  Not open to question is that Mike Madigan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, must go!

 

President Obama has lots of explaining to do.  On January 26 a Georgia court case hearing was held which revolved around the Natural Born clause of the Constitution and whether or not Obama qualifies under it to serve.

More so, if found ineligible, Obama’s name would not appear on the 2012 ballot in Georgia.  Obama’s attorney, Jablonski, was a no show at the court hearing as was Obama, who had been subpoenaed to appear.

Although President Obama’s citizenship has been repeatedly questioned since he took office in 2008, during which time ridicule was the outcome for any one who dared even question the legality for Obama to serve as president as defined by the Constitution, it is noteworthy that a court hearing finally did take place in what is the final year of President Obama’s first term.

Strange is the silence about this matter on NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN.  Has the chance that Obama might be ineligible due to this father’s citizenship become so terrifying to both parties that the matter has been reduced to silence or ridicule?  But, are we as nation of laws anymore or is it about who can seize and hold power?

Why is it that we only know what Obama’s autobiographies tell us about him?  We have no other records of his life except that he attended school in Indonesia under his step-father’s citizenship where he was listen as a Muslim for the purpose of religious education.

Then there was the long-awaited long-form birth certificate that photo shop experts claim had been altered digitally.

Absent are grade transcripts from the three colleges Obama attended.  Absent also is information about Obama’s trip to Pakistan when no US citizens were allowed to travel there (What passport did he use?), and what about Obama’s SS # from Connecticut where he never lived and which was issued to another citizen in 1980?

Somehow we are supposed to say, “Ok, everything is fine,” when it isn’t. 

Why has so much effort and money gone into concealing Obama’s past unless there is something to hide?  If Obama’s so brilliant, why hasn’t he released his college transcripts?  Bush and Gore released theirs.  It Obama’s parents were of modest means, who paid for college?  Harvard isn’t cheap.

Anyway, the questions and evidence are a matter of court record now.  We must wait to see how the judge rules about President Obama’s right to be on the November ballot in Georgia as he seeks a second term in office.

Two links are included below for individuals who are interested in learning more about the Georgia court hearing of Thursday, January 26 addressing Obama’s citizenship, the first article by Craig Andresen and the second by Bob Unruh.

OBAMA ELIGIBILITY COURT CASE…BLOW BY BLOW    http://www.thenationalpatriot.com/?p=4138

GEORGIA JUDGE CONSIDERED ‘DEFAULT’ AGAINST OBAMA      http://www.wnd.com/2012/01/georgia-judge-considered-default-against-obama/print/

Obama’s State of the Union disregards the looming buildup of storm clouds

So much has already been written about President Barack Obama’s Third State of the Union Address on the night of Tuesday, January 24, that, as a recipient, I now have an excess of information within me that I must widdle down. As I sat down to write an article, foremost in my mind was what I might say of worth that could add to what Illinois Review readers likewise have been able to discern from post-speech blogs and articles, some dissecting word-by-word President Obama 7,000 word speech.  

As posted by Eric Erickson on Wednesday, January 25, John F. Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” Continuing, Erickson wrote, “Instead Barack Obama’s State of the Union was all about informing the American people that the government is going to do everything for you, and when unable to keep its promises, it will take from the successful and give to you.”

President Obama’s fairness doctrine was exhibited and put on display for all to observe when he invited the secretary of Warren Buffet to sit next to his wife, Michelle, who displayed the opposite of fairness when she showed up in outlandishly expensive $35,000 designer dress fit for a queen.

It is not that Buffet’s secretary was reduced to eating dog food after paying more taxes on her salary than her employee.  It has been reported that secretary Debbie Busanek’s likely salary is between $200,000 to $500,000. I’m sure she is living quite well on what she earns.

As with the deviousness and deception that ran throughout Obama’s address, Buffet’s secretary was invited with one goal in mind, as a means to raise the unfairness of the tax code put in place by Republicans, which taxes individual income from capital gains and dividends at a lower rate than earned income from salaries.

President Obama seems indifferent to Mitt Romney’s $3.2 million payment to the IRS or his charitable giving of $400 million (15% of his income).  By contrast Obama, so generous in spending taxpayer money, donated a shameful 1% of his income.

With President Obama’s usual swagger and flippant attitude he informed the American people, “Let’s never forget.  Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same.  It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom.”

How can President Obama with a straight face tell hard-working Americans that they are not paying their “fair share” when it was revealed on Wednesday, January 24 that forty one of Obama’s White House aides owe $831,000 in back taxes?

Even if all the wealth were confiscated from the richest members of America’s society, it would barely make a dent in this nation’s deficit.  Obama has created $5 trillion in debt in less than four years and his on his way to $6 trillion.

Rush Limbaugh informed listeners on his Thursday, January 26, WLS-AM radio show, that all total there are 8,274 individuals in the U.S. who earn over $10 million a year.  The combined incomes of all 8,274 individuals with earnings of $10 million, adds up to $240 billion, which is only enough to fund government for eighteen days!

It was during Obama’s first State of the Union speech that he promised:  “My administration has begun to go line-by line though the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective spending.”

How then did the $400 million Solyndra boondoggle taxpayer handout slip through the bureaucratic cracks, signed on to by the Obama administration on day one, after the previous Bush administration rejected the request to do likewise?  Reported recently is that hundreds of other government-sponsored solar project went bust like Solyndra.

Michelle Malkin posted an informative bog post on Wednesday, January 25, Obama’s Green Robber Barons, in which she noted that besides Solyndra, the controlling Barons of Beacon Power, Spectra Watt, and Nevada Geothermal reaped in an obscenely unfair share of billions of tax dollars through their ties to the Obama administration.  Michelle Malkin made this astute remark about fairness:  “Fairness is in the eye of the wealth distributor.”  http//michellemalkin.com/

In the fantasy world in which the Obama administration resides, where government is thought to be able to accomplish whatever it desires if it spends enough of your hard earned tax dollars, dreams are being pursued to eliminate pollution and squalor by promoting wind, solar, and batteries as viable, green energy sources to meet this nation’s increasing energy needs.  These pipe dream, pie-in-the-sky sources of energy are only profitable to investors because of generous government subsidies.  They were further touted to produce thousands of green jobs.

It is hokum for President Obama to envision the creation of  thousands of green from investment in solar and wind.  A study commissioned by the University of Juan Carlos and the Juan de Mariana Institute in 2009 tells another story.  The result of the study indicates that despite committing 28,671 million Euros (or approximately $37 billion in U.S. dollars), “for every green job that is attempted to be created, there is a 2.2 destruction of the resources that on average the private sector employs per worker.”

http://www.gresshasissues.com/2010/03/green-jobs-flop-spain/#axzz1PpxPwfI6 <http://www.gresshasissues.com/2010/03/green-jobs-flop-spain/#axzz1PpxPwfI6>  ; http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf <http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf>  — University of Juan Carlos and the Juan deMariana Institute

The green energy fantasy that the Obama administration has unquestionably and whole-heartedly adopted and embraced, as has Europe, rests upon the hoax of man-made Global Warming, as peddled by Global Warming alarmist Al Gore, who is still waiting for the oceans to rise and for the earth to heat up to ravish the planet as he beckons all to heed his urgent call.

The determination of the Obama administration to replace fossil fuels with green energy sources came to fruition last year when the EPA mandated CO2 as a pollutant, citing oil and coal as the main culprits, without which plant life cannot survive.

How proud President Obama was when reveling in the success of his GM bailout, using, as he did, GM as the “poster boy” of American car makers.  It matters not that GM was bailed out by government (taxpayers) to the tune of billions of dollars.  By the way, our government still owns 25% of GM contrary to statements made to the contrary in advertising.

GM, in following the guidelines set by the government ownership, developed the Volt, a green car that was going to light fires in a less than fertile car market.

And how did the Volt fare in the public arena?  GM can make the Volt, but Americans cannot be forced to buy the green GM car. Volt car sales have been  a dismal failure.

A rather feisty hearing was held on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, January 16, in regard to the unexplained engine fires that have started unprompted when the Volt was at rest.  I’m sure future hearings and scrutiny will pursue  over the unexplained Volt malfunction.

My veins ran cold when listening to Obama’s unconvincing patter about the need for an national energy policy.  It was when Obama called for more oil and gas production that I knew President Obama wasn’t really serious.

What about Obama’s recent rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline that would have limited this nation’s dependence on oil from unfriendly countries instead of from our neighbor to the north, Canada?  The Keystone XL pipeline would have delivered Canadian oil to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Incidentally, in blocking the Keystone XL pipeline project, Obama enriched the wealth of his friend Warren Buffet. It so happens that Buffet owns the Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC which transports 75% of the oil currently shipped by rail out of North Dakota.

Obama, the self-proclaimed savior of the middle class, scuttled thousands of well paying jobs by opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, choosing to please instead the environmental “greenies” over union approval of the pipeline, even though environmental groups and union represent a steady pipeline of campaign money to Democrats

Although Obama’s State of the Union offered many promises from past addresses that remain unfulfilled, I noticed several important omissions.

It is not surprising that Obama failed to mention TARP or his Stimulus bill.  But then why would he?  Both failed, despite huge infusions of money meant to create jobs and jump start the economy.  Instead, they became slush funds for the Obama administration to pick winners and losers in a game of political payback.

Also unmentioned was Obamacare, recognized by President Obama as not popular with the American people.

Not understood is why Obama failed to acknowledge the presence of still recovering Gabriel Giffords (D-Arizona), who since then has tendered her resignation from the U.S. House, or Senator Mark Kirk’s (R-IL) absent in the Chambers after suffering a stroke in close proximity to Obama’s address.

What was perhaps the most irritating moment in Obama sixty-five minute speech came toward the end when he told the American people:

“Any one who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world.”

The Pew Research Center in May of last year reported that both the U.S. favorability rating and confidence in Obama has fallen sharply since 2009.

Regarding an America in decline, decline can also be measured by the amount of the debt being racked up that will impact future generations, along with a nation’s unemployment level.

According to the Heritage Foundation, “The unemployment rate currently stands at 8.5 percent.  In December of 2011 200,000 jobs were added,” but as Heritage Foundation’s James Shark writes, “At that pace, the unemployment rate will not return to normal levels (or 5.2 %) for four and a half years — not until September 2016.”  http://blog.heritage.org/2012/01/24/state-of-the-union-2012-heritage...

Regarding this nation’s debt, how can our nation not face bankruptcy given its reckless spending and borrowing?  It matters not that Obama’s policies have nearly doubled the debt over just three years since taking office in 2008,  Obama’s child-like response is to blame the Bush administration for his own irresponsible policies that have fostered trillions of additional debt.

Certainly Obama can’t run on his record of stewardship.  Taking the nation from a $5 billion debt on the way to $6 trillion in four years is not a record he can defend.

Although Obama decried the obstructionism of Republicans in Congress for blocking his initiatives to create jobs and stimulate the economy, in truth, Republican in the House have proposed many solutions, all of which were never taken up in Senate, blocked as they were by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Understandably absent was any criticism by Obama of his Democrat-controlled Senate for not having passed a budget in over 1,000 days, which is Senate’s basic duty.

In that Obama has a majority in the Senate, much of what Obama desires in legislation could be passed by the Senate.  How convenient it is for Obama to blame the Do-Nothing Congress (basically Republicans) for his inability to pass legislation that would help the middle class, and then using his dishonesty as a means to convince the American people that he could offer them relief if only those nasty Republicans didn’t stand in the way.

Obama’s address was heavy on class warfare, commitment to raising taxes, increasing regulations, establishing more government agencies — coupled with warmed-up failed policies — that aptly reflect Obama’s extreme leftist ideology which would result in a fundamentally changed country.

It has been disputed that President Obama is a devotee of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radical” and that Alinsky’s rules are being exhibited through the thrust of Obama’s policies and Executive decisions.

As a sweetener to those Americans who can be fooled by misleading rhetoric, Obama has presented himself as a president hard at work for the middle class who needs four more years to finish his job.

But the American people are hurting, President Barack Obama!  While your family is taking extravagant vacations and you and Michelle are enjoying a lifestyle that befits a king and queen, the American people are suffering with much belt-tightening taking place.  But not so for your family!

So far during Obama’s presidency the price of a gallon of gasoline has jumped 83%, the price of ground beef by 4% and the price of bacon by 22 percent.  The American people so far haven’t blamed Obama for the high gas prices at the pump (but why not?) as they did former President President George W. Bush.

Of concern is a present discussion among oil producers about withdrawing the dollar as the unit value for oil.  If acted upon, it would prove devastating for the American economy.

Heavy-handed government regulations and the threat of tax increases only creates uncertainty that keeps employers from hiring and entrepreneurs from launching new businesses.

Indicated by Obama’s State of the Union address is how little Obama actually understands, based on reality, about the State of the Union.

Obama, in previewing his address the weekend before its presentation, said:  “We can go in two directions. One is towards less opportunity and less fairness.  Or we can fight for…building an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few.”   http://blog.heritage.org/2012/01/24/state-of-the-union-2012-heritage...

European governments are collapsing due to policies they can no longer sustain.  Yet Obama remains unfazed on his ruling pathway and is well along the way to taking this nation down the same route as has befallen Greece and Spain.

Personally, I am scared of the possibility that the American people will select the second option.  This nation cannot weather another four years of President Obama with policies that are akin to the failed socialist policies of Europe, with Obama’s added promise that he will go it alone through Executive Orders and rule by Czars if Congress refuses to go along with what his philosophy dictates is best for this nation.

March 20 is fast approaching and with it the Illinois Primary Elections. It is important that voters choose wisely by sending legislators to Springfield whose policy choices do not lead to further bankruptcy.

Highlighted in a recent Illinois Policy Institute report were the following staggering statistics that bode ill for Illinois and its future:

• For the past 15 years, Illinois has lost more than 806,000 people to other states, the equivalent of losing Aurora, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville, Springfield , five of Illinois’ six largest cities, and half of Elgin.

• Along with the loss of 806,000 individuals from 1995 to 2010, went $26 billion in adjusted gross income which would have been part of the Illinois tax base.

• In 2009 alone, Illinois lost $1.5 billion in taxable income when 40,000 people moved to 42 other states.

• States netting the most people from Illinois include the following: Texas, Indiana, Florida, Wisconsin, Missouri and Iowa. Four are neighboring states which negates the idea that Illinoisans are fleeing to warmer weather states.

• Illinois residents migrated to states where, on the average, taxes are lower, including estate taxes; housing is more affordable, and union membership nets 10 percent rather than Illinois’ 18 percent.

These three changes must take place if there is any hope of turning Illinois around:

1. Pension system reform: Unfunded pension are estimated at $85 billion to perhaps as high as $200 billion.

2. Repeal 2011 individual and corporation tax increases. Lower taxes are needed in Illinois to create a level playing field.

3. Tackle run-away health care costs.

As of now there are no doctors in either the Illinois House or Senate to tackle run-away health care costs. Arie Friedman, M.D. is running to replace an open senate seat held by Susan Garrett in the 29th Legislative District and Mark Neerhof, M.D. is running for another open seat held by Karen May in House District 58. Both are outstanding candidates who are willing to take time off from their lucrative medical practices because of concern over the direction of this nation and state, coupled with love of country and their desire to try to make a difference.

Sending principled individuals to Springfield will start the ball rolling to turn Illinois around, ending the Democrat culture of spending and borrowing.

Doctors Arie Friedman and Mark Neerhof represent principled Republican candidates running for seats in Illinois Senate District 29 and House District 58, respectively, who will not go soft when elected, but who will fight to undo Democrat policies that have placed Illinois at the bottom of the heap in state rankings and brought shame to Illinois and its people.

 

 

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 The first words of Doug Finke’s article published in the Jan. 15 State Journal-Register, “Facing a tough climb on pensions,” left my head spinning.

Finke attributed the following quote to Gov. Pat Quinn: “There is a major mountain to climb this year and I’m willing to lead the expedition.”  

Quinn has many major mountains to scale in 2012 in the wake of his incomplete 2011 climbs, among them being pension and Medicaid reform.
Although Quinn did manage to pass an income tax increase in 2011, it was declared a flop on its first anniversary by the Illinois Policy Institute.

The tax hike neither stemmed the loss of businesses or people from Illinois, helped with the state’s monumental financial problems, or stopped Moody’s from lowering the state’s credit rating down a notch from A-1 to A-2.  

Yet Finke in his article doggedly stood by Quinn’s misguided policy by hinting that Republicans are the ones who are defying logic by calling for a repeal of the 2011 tax hike. In Finke’s world, repealing the tax hike would amount to the loss of $7 billion generated for the state through the tax hike; repealing would only add to the state’s financial problems.

Might you explore these questions, Mr. Finke, before voicing again your misguided assumption that more money will cure what ails Illinois? 1.) What has been done to curb spending in the state? 2.) How was the $7 billion tax rate hike spent? 3.) Why the urgent need to borrow $800 million more in the near future if the tax rate hike did so well in 2011 in adding to the state coffers?

Furthermore, the Illinois Policy Institute’s efforts to get candidates to sign its Pledge to Repeal the 2011 Income Tax Increase should be applauded and not dismissed, if there is any hope for Illinois to achieve an honest, sustainable and accountable government.

 

From the get-go in the Sun-Times surprising Editorial of Monday, January 21, Why we will no longer endorse in elections, the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board made quite clear that the newspaper was founded in 1941 by Marshall Field III to counter here in the Midwest the partisanship of Col. Robert McCormick and his Chicago Tribune, which leaned right for many years, during the Roosevelt administration.

Images and reputations take a long time to restore, as is often the situation politicians face when their reputations have been sullied through the spread of false information. “How can I get my reputation back? has been heard more than once among political candidates who have been unfairly targeted.

Questions for the Chicago News-Sun to consider include:

1.  By no longer endorsing candidates in elections, will it really make a difference in countering long-held perceptions that the Sun-Times is a  left-leaning newspaper?

2.  If newspaper endorsements are of important to some readers, might people gravitate toward the Tribune instead for guidance?

3.  By keeping on the staff commentary writers like Laura Washington, Richard Roeper, Ester Cepeda and Lynn Sweet, all of whom espouse left of center rhetoric, how will it be possible to attract subscribers other than your core group of readers, so essential to keeping the Sun-Times afloat?

Might it be that the Sun-Times is queasy about endorsing its home town candidate for a second term, President Barack Obama, and that by squashing Sun-Times endorsements the Editorial Board will be relieved of publishing the reason why!

The Tribune’s Editorial Board a day later on Tuesday, January 22, stated in an editorial why it will continue to endorse political candidates.  But, alas, what used to be a right-leaning newspaper under Col.Robert McCormick is no longer a partisan right-leaning newspaper, as was evident in the Trib’s endorsement of Barack Obama for president  in 2008. 

I mourn not over the declamation by the Sun-Times not to endorse or the Tribune’s message that it will continue to make endorsements, but over the absence of a Chicago newspaper that does not lean to the left.

Tribune reporter, Kate Thayer, is guilty of failing to do her homework when writing her article, ‘Radical’ Alinsky on Gingrich’s radar, published on Tuesday, January 24, in which Thayer deduced that Saul Alinsky was not a radical and that Gingrich should essentially back off from his untruthful rhetoric.    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-talk-saul-alinsky-0124-20120124,0,4379279.story

On the contrary, Newt Gingrich is entirely justified and correct in his campaign rhetoric which zeros in on Saul Alinsky as a radical.

It is absurd not to consider Saul Alinsky a radical.  As outlined in Alinsky’s book, “Rules for Radicals.”  President Obama embraced the philosophy of Saul Alinsky when working as a community organizer in Chicago.  When elected president, Obama carried Alinsky’s philosophy into the White House.  Since 2010 Obama bit by bit, through Executive Orders and the use of his Czars, has employed Alinsky’s play book to implement policies geared to take this nation from a constitutional democracy to one associated with Utopian.  

Kate Thayer’s article was definitely a hit piece against Newt Gingrich.  Might Mr. Thayer only be following the guidelines of the Tribune to bash Gingrich?  Heaven help the Tribune if she was! 

It will not help to increase the Tribune’s circulation by protecting the so-called Chicago Gang and former White House advisers to Obama, all of whom ascribe to the same philosophy as outlined in Alinsky’s Rules for Radical, among them Bill Ayers, Rahm Emanual, David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett.

 
The background information noted below is more than enough proof that Newt Gingrich was right on with his Alinsky allegation!
http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/communism/alinsky.htm
 

Background information

Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.” –Letter from L. DAVID ALINSKY, son of Neo-Marxist Saul Alinsky

Obama helped fund ‘Alinsky Academy’: “The Woods Fund, a nonprofit on which Obama served as paid director from 1999 to December 2002, provided startup funding and later capital to the Midwest Academy…. Obama sat on the Woods Fund board alongside William Ayers, founder of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist organization.…  ‘Midwest describes itself as ‘one of the nation’s oldest and best-known schools for community organizations, citizen organizations and individuals committed to progressive social change.’… Midwest teaches Alinsky tactics of community organizing.”

Hillary, Obama and the Cult of Alinsky: “True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism, Alinsky taught. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within. Alinsky viewed revolution as a slow, patient process. The trick was to penetrate existing institutions such as churches, unions and political parties…. Many leftists view Hillary as a sell-out because she claims to hold moderate views on some issues. However, Hillary is simply following Alinsky’s counsel to do and say whatever it takes to gain power.

Obama is also an Alinskyite…. Obama spent years teaching workshops on the Alinsky method. In 1985 he began a four-year stint as a community organizer in Chicago, working for an Alinskyite group called the Developing Communities Project…. Camouflage is key to Alinsky-style organizing. While trying to build coalitions of black churches in Chicago, Obama caught flak for not attending church himself. He became an instant churchgoer.” (By Richard Poe, 11-27-07)

 

Opening page –  

“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to he very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom —

Lucifer.

Prologue“The Revolutionary force today has two targets, moral as well as material. Its young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the idealistic early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, ‘Burn the system down!‘ They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world. It is to this point that I have written this book.”

1. The PurposeIn this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace…. “Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.’ This means revolution.” p.3

“Radicals must be resilient, adaptable to shifting political circumstances, and sensitive enough to the process of action and reaction to avoid being trapped by their own tactics and forced to travel a road not of their choosing.” p.6

“A Marxist begins with his prime truth that all evils are caused by the exploitation of the proletariat by the capitalists. From this he logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage — the political paradise of communism.” p.10

“An organizer working in and for an open society is in an ideological dilemma to begin with, he does not have a fixed truth — truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing…. To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of the widely different situations….” pp.10-11

Notes on Saul Alinsky and Neo-Marxism:

Alinsky’s tactics were based, not on Stalin’s revolutionary violence, but on the Neo-Marxist strategies of  Antonio Gramsci, an Italian Communist. Relying on gradualism, infiltration and the dialectic process rather than a bloody revolution, Gramsci’s transformational Marxism was so subtle that few even noticed the deliberate changes.

Like Alinsky, Mikhail Gorbachev followed Gramsci, not Lenin. In fact, Gramsci aroused Stalins’s wrath by suggesting that Lenin’s revolutionary plan wouldn’t work in the West. Instead the primary assault would be on Biblical absolutes and Christian values, which must be crushed as a social force before the new face of Communism could rise and flourish. Malachi Martin gave us a progress report:

“By 1985, the influence of traditional Christian philosophy in the West was weak and negligible…. Gramsci’s master strategy was now feasible. Humanly speaking, it was no longer too tall an order to strip large majorities of men and women in the West of those last vestiges that remained to them of Christianity’s transcendent God.”

2. Of Means and Ends [Forget  moral or ethical considerations]

“The end is what you want, the means is how you get it. Whenever we think about social change, the question of means and ends arises. The man of action views the issue of means and ends in pragmatic and strategic terms. He has no other problem; he thinks only of his actual resources and the possibilities of various choices of action. He asks of ends only whether they are achievable and worth the cost; of means, only whether they will work. … The real arena is corrupt and bloody.” p.24

“The means-and-ends moralists, constantly obsessed with the ethics of the means used by the Have-Nots against the Haves, should search themselves as to their real political position. In fact, they are passive — but real — allies of the Haves…. The most unethical of all means is the non-use of any means… The standards of judgment must be rooted in the whys and wherefores of life as it is lived, the world as it is, not our wished-for fantasy of the world as it should be….” pp.25-26

“The third rule of ethics of means and ends is that in war the end justifies almost any means….” p.29

“The seventh rule… is that generally success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics….” p.34

“The tenth rule… is you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.… It involves sifting the multiple factors which combine in creating the circumstances at any given time… Who, and how many will support the action?… If weapons are needed, then are appropriate d weapons available? Availability of means determines whether you will be underground or above ground; whether you will move quickly or slowly…” p.36

 

Notes: Apparently, Michelle Obama referred to these words during her Democratic National Convention speech:

“She said, ‘Barack stood up that day,’ talking about a visit to Chicago neighborhoods, ‘and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about ‘The world as it is‘ and ‘The world as it should be…’ And, ‘All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do – that we have an obligation to, fight for the world as it should be.”

Do you wonder who — or whose values — should determine what “the world… should be?”

4. The Education of the Organizer

“To the organizer, imagination… is the dynamism that starts and sustains him in his whole life of action as an organizer. It ignites and feeds the force that drives him to organize for change….
      “The organizer knows that the real action is in the reaction of the opposition. To realistically appraise and anticipate the probable reactions of the enemy, he must be able to identify with them, too, in his imagination, and foresee their reactions to his actions….
     “The organizers searching with a free and open mind void of certainty, hating dogma, finds laughter not just a way to maintain his sanity but also a key to understanding life.”
pp.74-75

“…the organizer must be able to split himself into two parts — one part in the arena of action where he polarizes the issue to 100 to nothing, and helps to lead his forces into conflict, while the other part knows that when the time comes for negotiations that it really is only a 10 percent difference.” p.78

“…the organizer is constantly creating new out of the old. He knows that all new ideas arise from conflict; [See Dialectic Process]  that every time man as had a new idea it has been a challenge to the sacred ideas of the past and the present and inevitably a conflict has raged.” p.79

5. Communication[Notice the emphasis on conflict, dialogue, relationships, etc. Team “service” is essential to building strong relationships through “common involvements”]

 “And so the guided questioning goes on without anyone losing face or being left out of the decision-making. Every weakness of every proposed tactic is probed by questions…. Is this manipulation? Certainly….” p.88

“One of the factors that changes what you can and can’t communicate is relationships. There are sensitive areas that one does not touch until there is a strong personal relationship based on common involvements. Otherwise the other party turns off and literally does not hear….

     “Conversely, if you have a good relationship, he is very receptive…. For example, I have always believed that birth control and abortion are personal rights to be exercised by the individual. If, in my early days when I organized… neighborhood in Chicago, which was 95 per cent Roman Catholic, I had tried to communicate this, even through the experience of the residents, whose economic plight was aggravated by large families, that would have been the end of my relationship with the community. That instant I would have been stamped as an enemy of the church and all communication would have ceased.

     “Some years later, after establishing solid relationships, I was free to talk about anything…. By then the argument was no longer limited to such questions as, ‘How much longer do you think the Catholic Church can hang on to this archaic notion and still survive?’ …the subject and nature of the discussion would have been unthinkable without that solid relationship.”

pp.93-94

6. In the Beginning: The Process of Power [Notice the compromise needed to build the power base. Yet, since pragmatism has eroded all values, it’s simply a matter of ends justifying means. It’s not unlike churches that attract members through the world’s entertainment — then continue to soften or hide Truth in order to keep them happy and lure more.]

“From the moment the organizer enters a community he lives, dreams… only one thing and that is to build the mass power base of what he calls the army. Until he has developed that mass power base, he confronts no major issues…. Until he has those means and power instruments, his ‘tactics’ are very different from power tactics. Therefore, every move revolves around one central point: how many recruits will this bring into the organization, whether by means of local organizations, churches, service groups, labor Unions, corner gangs, or as individuals.”

     Change comes from power, and power comes from organization.” p.113

The first step in community organization is community disorganization. The disruption of the present organization is the first step toward community organization. Present arrangements must be disorganized if they are  to be displace by new patterns…. All change means disorganization of the old and organization of the new.” p.116

Compare with this excerpts from “Group Decision and Social Change” by Kurt Lewin:

      “A change toward a higher level of group performance is frequently short lived: after a “shot in the arm”, group life soon returns to the previous level. This indicates that it does not suffice to define the objective of a planned change in group performance as the reaching of a different level. Permanency of the new level, or permanency for a desired period, should be included in the objective. A successful change includes therefore three aspects:

  • UNFREEZING (if necessary) the present level… 
  • MOVING to the new level . . . and
  • FREEZING group life on the new level.”

An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent… He must create a mechanism that can drain off the underlying guilt for having accepted the previous situation for so long a time. Out of this mechanism, a new community organization arises….
     “The job then is getting the people to move, to act, to participate; in short, to develop and harness the necessary power to effectively conflict with the prevailing patterns and change them. When those prominent in the status quo turn and label you an ‘agitator’ they are completely correct, for that is, in one word, your functionto agitate to the point of conflict.”
p.117

Process tells us how. Purpose tells us why. But in reality, it is academic to draw a line between them, they are part of a continuum…. Process is really purpose.” p.122

7. Tactics“Tactics are those conscious deliberate acts by which human beings live with each other and deal with the world around them. … Here our concern is with the tactic of taking; how the Have-Nots can take power away from the Haves.” p.126

Always remember the first rule of power tactics
(pps.127-134):

1. “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

2. “Never go outside the expertise of your people. When an action or tactic is outside the experience of the people, the result is confusion, fear and retreat…. [and] the collapse of communication.

3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

4. “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

6. “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

7. “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Man can sustain militant interest in any issue for only a limited time….”

8. “Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

10. “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.”

11. “If you push a negative hard and deep enough, it will break through into its counterside… every positive has its negative.”

12. “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’…

     “…any target can always say, ‘Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?’ When your ‘freeze the target,’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the ‘others’ come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…’

     “One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.” (pps.127-134)

 

 Saul Alinksky, Rules for Radicals, Vintage Books, New York, 1989.

Additional Notes: Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:

“Known as the ‘father of modern American radicalism,’ Saul D. Alinsky (1909-1972) developed strategies and tactics that take the enormous, unfocused emotional energy of grassroots groups and transform it into effective anti-government and anti-corporate activism. … Some of these rules are ruthless, but they work.”

Article by Phyllis Schalfly titled “Alinski’s Rules: Must Reading In Obama Era,” posted at www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=318470857908277 (2-2-09)

       “Alinsky’s second chapter, called Of Means and Ends, craftily poses many difficult moral dilemmas, and his ‘tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends’ is: ‘you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments.’  He doesn’t ignore traditional moral standards or dismiss them as unnecessary. He is much more devious; he teaches his followers that ‘Moral rationalization is indispensable at all times of action whether to justify the selection or the use of ends or means.’…

       “The qualities Alinsky looked for in a good organizer were:

  • ego (“reaching for the highest level for which man can reach — to create, to be a ‘great creator,’ to play God”),
  • curiosity (raising “questions that agitate, that break through the accepted pattern”),
  • irreverence (“nothing is sacred”; the organizer “detests dogma, defies any finite definition of morality”),
  • imagination (“the fuel for the force that keeps an organizer organizing”),
  • a sense of humor (“the most potent weapons known to mankind are satire and ridicule“), and an
  • organized personality with confidence in presenting the right reason for his actions only “as a moral rationalization after the right end has been achieved.’…

“‘The organizer’s first job is to create the issues or problems,’ and ‘organizations must be based on many issues.’ The organizer ‘must first rub raw the resentments of the people of the community; fan the latent hostilities of many of the people to the point of overt expression. He must search out controversy and issues, rather than avoid them, for unless there is controversy people are not concerned enough to act. . . . An organizer must stir up dissatisfaction and discontent.'”


Home 

See also Obama: Training an army of world servers

Collectivism in churches and Trading Truth for a “Social Gospel”

 

 

 

A Tribune front page article by reporter Michael Hawthorne on Sunday, January 22, titled, CLIMATE CHANGERS, named two coal-fired plants owned and operated by Midwest Generation, Crawford and Fisk, as a key source of greenhouse gas contributing to Climate Change. Listed also were 18 other big industrial emitters of greenhouse gasses in the Chicago area.

My reaction to the Tribune story is based on documented and scientific evidence that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever played on mankind. The EPA decision in declaring CO2 a pollutant lacked scientific grounding, but instead was ploy to malign and phase out fossil fuels to advance so-called unreliable and doomed-to-fail renewable energy sources like sun and wind — Consider Solyndra as one of many misguided investments by the Obama administration at taxpayer expense — and to peddle upon a gullible public electric cars as a way to save the world from catastrophic happenings due to Global Warming.

Chicago-based Heartland Institute, Joe Bast, CEO, was the prime source of my reasoned decision based on studies by thousands of scientists worldwide whose findings remain hidden through selective reporting by the news media in favor of global warming alarmism.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D, Science Director at The Heartland Institute, has conveniently place these “10 Facts Abut Climate Change” on the back side of his business Card:

“1)  Global temperatures have not risen since 1998.

2)  900,000 years of ice core records show continuous 1,500-year warming cycles.

3)  It was 7 degrees F warmer in the 13th century when Greenland was actually green.

4)  Carbon dioxide is to plants what oxygen is to man, not a pollutant.

5)  Computer models used to forecast future warming cannot calculate the known past.

6)  Antarctic ice is increasing far more than Arctic ice is melting

7)  Historically, CO2 concentrations have risen after, not before, warming periods.

8)  Many in the news media promote global warming alarmism through selective reporting.

9)  The climate is always changing.  The present warming is neither unusual nor harmful.

10) Findings to prove man caused global warming has reached $5 billion annually.”

May Illinoisans soon wake up to what is happening to their state.  Man-made climate change is being promoted for nefarious purposes.

Promoting wind and solar while condemning greenhouse gas sources will only hurt the pocketbooks of Illinoisans and hinder the state’s economic recovery.

 

 
 
Two articles were published in tandem, but a day apart, detailing the out-of-control and severe financial status of Illinois.

I suspect that the Chicago Tribune’s article came first in the lineup on Thursday, January 19, Topinka:  Illinois’ Unpaid Bill Crisis Just Keeps Getting Worse, and that it served as the spring board for the following day’s opinion piece on January 20 in The Wall Street Journal, The Greece Next Door, which contrasts Illinois’s credit rating downgrade to positive happening in Wisconsin.  http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/01/19/topinka-illinois-unpaid-bill-crisis-just-keeps-getting-worse     http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204555904577164944279702590.html?mod=djemBestOfTheWeb_h

Both articles instead of fostering a sense of citizen pride for their state, should serve as a siren of despair and a wake up call Illinoisans.

As related by Illinois State Comptroller, Judy Topinka, on a WBBM fellow report by Regine Schlesinger on January 19:

“Illinois keeps falling farther behind on its debt. Officially the state has a backlog of more than $4.25 billion in unpaid bills.  But Illinois State Comptroller Judy Topinka says when one factors in other bills, the figure is closer to around $8.5 billion.  Those other outstanding bills include tax refunds, employee health insurance, and bills that have not yet reached her desk. 

Topinka says this is extremely disappointing, since a year ago, the state sharply increased income taxes.  Said Topinka,  ‘After the largest tax hike in our history, the state continues to be in this precarious fiscal position with persistent payment delays, and frankly, the situation is unlikely to significantly improve in the near term.’

Some state officials say the solution is more borrowing to pay the bills, but Topinka says the solution is to cut spending.”   http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/01/19/topinka-illinois-unpaid-bill-crisis-just-keeps-getting-worse 

The The Wall Street Journal commentary had this to say about the dismal fiscal management of IL, before continuing on with a glowing picture of Illinois’s north of the border state, Wisconsin, contributing its improved financial status to Governor Walker’s now maligned pension reforms:

“Run up spending and debt, raise taxes in the naming of balancing the budget, but then watch as deficits rise and your credit-rating falls anyway.  That’s been the sad pattern in Europe, and now it’s hitting that mecca of tax-and-spend government known as Illinois. 

The WSJ article goes on to inform readers about Moody’s downgrade of Illinois’s state debt to A2 to A1 — the lowest among all 50 states — despite the recent one year anniversary to raise individual income taxes by 67% and the corporate tax rate by 46% by Governor Quinn and fellow Democrats. 

Given that Illinois raised $7 billion in extra revenue through its 2011 income tax rate increases, intended, by the way, to put the state back on sound fiscal footing and to improve its credit rating, The Wall Street Journal has every right to question why Democrat state legislator during 2011 made no effort to either curb spending or tackle meaningful Medicaid and Pension reforms so desperately needed, facts upon which Moody lowered Illinois’s credit rating.

Recently Governor Quinn branded Republican lawmakers as unrealistic when they suggested that the 2011 income tax increases should be repealed as failed policy.  

According to the Illinois Policy Policy Institute, John Tillman, CEO:

“The tax hike flunked.  It failed to put Illinois on sound fiscal footing, it failed at restoring confidence in government’s ability to meet serious challenges head on.  It failed to strengthen the state’s economy.  It failed to create opportunity and prosperity.  it failed families and the businesses that want to be a part of making Illinois great again.”  http://illinoispolicy.org/news/article.asp?ArticleSource=4614   

Even with the additional $7 billion in revenue, which seemed to disappear down a rat hole or into thin air, spending grew in Illinois, bills went unpaid, pension reform stalled, Illinois’s unemployment problem worsened, and the tax hike made Illinois less competitive and forced businesses to leave the state.  

To add insult upon insult, recently Governor Quinn tendered a bond sale of $800 million of new 10-hear general obligation bonds which is to be used to pay for investment in schools, roads, mass transit, and other key capital projects across the state. 

As reported in the already named WSJ article, because of Moody’s downgrade of Illinois state debt from A2 from A1, “The state’s cost of borrowing for $800 million of new 10-year general obligation rose to 3.1% — which is 110 basis points higher than the 2% on top-rated 10-year bonds of more financially states.  This translates into millions of dollars of extra cost for already cash-strapped Illinois.

To one Illinois lawmaker, who just happens to be my own IL House representative in District 58, Democrat Karen May, she is not in the least concerned by recent reports in the press about Illinois’s credit rating and recent $800 bond sales.

Rep. Karen May had the following to say to her constituents in a Internet newsletter on Friday, January 20:

“You may have seen recent reports in the press about Illinois’ credit rating and recent bond sales.  Some press reports didn’t tell the whole story, and the state’s bond sale actually went quite well.  Certainly, our credit rating is of concern, however our recent bond sale was well received by investors and demand was high.  At 3.9 percent, Illinois’ bonds sold for the lowest interest rate since at least 1976, according to the Governor’s budget office.  This is good news, despite dire predictions.”

Karen May is living in a world of fantasy, as are most Democrat lawmakers Illinoisans have sent to Springfield.

(Note:  As Rep. May is not running for another term in the House this November, there is an open House seat in District 58.  I have endorsed Dr. Mark Neerhof as my candidate of choice for May’s House seat.  As a practicing obstetrician, having served patients in the Chicagoland area for more than 20 years,  Dr. Neerhof qualifies as a businessman and would bring his knowledge to the House to fix the broken Medicaid system, along with his fervent desire to cut spending and deal with pension reform.). 

Although credit-rating agencies have explicitly warned against borrowing to pay for operations, Illinois doesn’t get the message.  It just keeps on borrowing. 

As noted by Illinois State Comptroller Judy Topinka:

“Moody’s made it clear that it would view further borrowing to pay current obligations as a negative act that would cause another downgrade.  The only way out of this mess is to keep cutting spending, provide for a business climate and, for once let growth outpace spending.”  http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-11/news/ct-edit-borrowing-20120111_1_pension-costs-pension-reform-comptroller-judy-baar-topinka

A little more than half way through The Wall Street Journal editorial of January 20, revelations are made to reveal the reasoning behind Illinois as The Greece Next Door to Wisconsin.  Wisconsin’s Governor Walker is credited for his “plan to require government workers to pay a larger share of their health-plan costs, and to shore up the pension system by trimming future retirement liabilities” 

Despite the union-financed attempt to remove Walker from office, unlike Moody’s warnings to Illinois, “Moody’s has praised Mr. Walker’s budget as “credit positive for Wisconsin,” adding that the money-sving reforms ring “the state’s finances closer to a structural budgetary balance.” 

As a result: 

1.  Wisconsin has jumped from 41st to 17th in the ranking of state’s business climate; Illinois dropped to 48th from 45th.

2.  Governor Walker balance the budget without new taxes.

Wisconsin voters better wise up to the positive happening in Wisconsin before they throw out Governor Walker and see their state return to the not so Good Old Days! 

Research led me to this excellent article published in the City Journal by Christine Schneider, Winter 2012,  It’s Working in Walker’s Wisconsin (The governor’s controversial labor reforms are already saving taxpapers million.   http://www.city-journal.org/printable.php?id=7771 

Illinois voters better keep an eye on the positive results in neighboring Wisconsin where serious pension reform took place and

Governor Quinn is at least acknowledging that Illinois’s gaping pension obligations is making it impossible to fund other obligation such as education, health care and public safety, but will Democrats once again be cowed by powerful unions from whence comes votes and political campaign contribution?