Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More Hysteria from IPI and Chicago Tribune

Illinois Is Burning?  More Hysteria from the I.P.I. (and the Tribune Editorial Board)

Usually it takes at least a couple of days before the Chicago Tribune’s Editorial Board follows an emotional diatribe by Illinois Policy Institute’s opinion writer Diana Sroka Rickert with an echoing piece re-mastered to smooth some of the hysteria and to borrow some of the arguments. 

Perhaps with Bruce Dold now in charge of the daily, McCormick (the novice Editor) couldn’t wait to follow up.  It was quick, but in keeping with Dold’s models, he and his team elevated Rickert’s rants, cleaned up the innuendos, and thieved her arguments in a more, well, tastefully manner.

But, it’s always wise to remember that the Illinois Policy Institute enjoys a special relationship with the Chicago Tribune, one in which the far-right leaning group gets expansive opportunity to promote their tea-party, state’s rights, free markets, and no taxation policies.  And that relationship is symbiotic, as the Trib can later (usually more than one day) edit and refine the I.P.I.’s latest tirade into something more palatable for their avid readers and corporate elite. 

According to Rickert’s argument, General Assembly legislators – Democrats – are playing at computer games like Candy Crush, while the state budget goes undone.  This is not a new phenomena – legislators of both parties have been caught before doing emails, seeking purchases on E-Bay, even playing Battleship with each other – but this affront by Rep. Cloonen and Rep. Smiddy took place while the debate over the budget took place and was caught on WCIA television.  Heavens!

WCIA has always been receptive to the I.P.I.’s offers to put their own spin on what is happening in Springfield, and as a centrally located television studio in Champaign area, they both have continued to curry this relationship. You’ll find the I.P.I. is often part of their coverage.  

The WCIA helps I.P.I.; and the I.P.I. helps the Chicago Tribune.  Symbiotic.

Bruce Dold with Editorial Board of Tribune
Back to the Rickert article:  while the legislators (2 of them played upon their computers/smartphones) nothing transpired with the 2016 budget.  Then, Rickert chastises the Illinois public for not getting what’s happening: “Many people have oversimplified the budget impasse as a battle between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Madigan.  The fight is so much more than a personality clash between political titans.” 

Ironically, she then reduces the differing positions as black and white: “One side believes our state is in crisis and needs fundamental reforms to grow and prosper…”The other side says things are working just fine, thank you – oh, and let’s raise taxes again.”   

Thanks for explaining the intricacies.

The next day, the McCormick Tribune Editorial Board fired off its own I.P.I. follow-up: “Since last summer, we’ve been writing about Madigan’s refusal to entertain any form of compromise with Republicans or with Rauner to get his state back on track.”

After that, they “borrowed heavily from Rickert’s barney.

Rickert: “State Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie, one of Madigan’s top allies, told a Springfield reporter, ‘It’s entirely possible that we won’t have a budget during the governor’s term of office.’”

Tribune: One of Madigan’s top lieutenants, Rep. Lou Lang, D. – Skokie, told a crowd of union workers last week that it is Rauner who’s not interested in doing the job he was elected to do,  then he added: ‘We may or may not have a budget during the entire term of Bruce Rauner.’”

Rickert: “State workers make up less than 1 percent of Illinois’ workforce.  Yet they think the rest of us – the 99 percent, if you will – want to pay more in taxes so they can get a raise?”

Tribune: And the crowd of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees cheered.  What do they care?  They’re still getting paid.”

Ms. Rickert should certainly be flattered.  Indeed, one hopes (and suspects) that the Editorial Board in their oak-lined meeting room are paying a significant stipend to Ms. Rickert for so helpfully paving the way in ink and anger.

Bottom line  in agreement:  Both the Tribune and the I.P.I. are shocked,…SHOCKED… by the pain placed upon their perceived real victims of the budget impasse:   the taxpayers of Illinois.  Especially, they both exclaim, if nothing is done with the budget for 2016.

But the latest reports from the Moody’s by Mark Zandi indicate the inability for Illinois to secure a budget for this next year – 2016 – will serve to further destroy the already damaged social service network in Illinois:  state spending on social services will end up anywhere from $400 million to $500 million less than last year.”

Taxpayers?  Not really.  Think of the marginalized, the poor, those who have less. 

"There will have to be some pain first…"
So, Rauner’s battle with “the way it has been” vs. “the way I want it” will continue, and the state will continue to lose middle and low-income jobs as a result.  More than 5000-plus jobs for service sector individuals this next year.  And, without those workers who spend everything they earn, Illinois will see a further loss of those who represent nearly 67 to 70% of our economy.

A recent report from the Center for Budget and Tax Accountability is more than sobering.  It is remindful of our responsibilities as humans to one another and to our fellow citizens.  

When – not if – the next state budget does not pass:

And while low-income families of all races suffer when Illinois' poor fiscal policy forces spending cuts, African Americans are hurt disproportionately. Sure, most — 54 percent — poor people in Illinois are white, but that's just because most of the state's population, 77.5 percent, is white. However, as a group, only 11 percent of Illinois whites are poor. Meanwhile African Americans, who represent just 14.5 percent of the state's total population, nonetheless account for 29 percent of its poor folks. Indeed, almost one-third of Illinois' African Americans live in poverty. 
Which is why it's so incredible — as in, lacks credibility — when some politicians and talking heads claim that Illinois' fiscal problems won't be fixed until some "crisis" forces a resolution. Apparently, it isn't a crisis when lousy fiscal policy just harms poor folks generally and African Americans specifically.”

In her opinion, Ms. Rickert declares the state is burning while its poor "taxpayers are crushed."

Those who are truly crushed are already on the ropes and unable to pay taxes, unable to earn enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment