Monday, June 8, 2015

Rauner's the one, says Sun-Times

Having vowed to "shake [the state] up," he is showing "what a shake-up looks like," demanding "basic pro-business reforms before he will even talk about raising taxes. . . . Nobody should doubt he will continue to chop away if he and the Legislature’s Democratic leadership cannot find common ground."

He will be "the bad guy" if necessary. "He clearly won’t settle for yet another politically expedient short-term fix."

"He's not kidding." Not so the Democrats, says S-T, "especially House Speaker Michael Madigan." Smart money will not go on him. "It doesn't make sense," when the bettor considers his 30 years at the helm (as House Speaker), of the last 32.

Problem? Unemployment 6 percent, vs. 5.4 percent nationally, "far higher" that the Midwest average. Population growth "stagnant." The business climate "consistently ranked among the worst in the nation," bond rating worst. The state’s awash in red ink — pension obligations "threaten to gut the entire government."

Time for a change. Rauner is "all about change, which is why he was elected." Madigan is "all about no change," offering " a yet "deeper hole."

Rauner’s cuts "a scare tactic," say Dems. "But it looks to us like a real plan." Again, he's not kidding, holds out possibility of cutting "much more."

“Middle-Class Agenda,” Dems have responded, (typically) "long on crowd-pleasing gift-giving": new tuition tax credit, higher minimum wage, free community college, and "guaranteed paid sick leave for all workers in the private sector, even those who work only part time"! (Santa Claus, we hardly knew you!)

Lovely, but how pay for it? (Classic Dem response to this question was by Congressman Danny Davis at Malcolm X College in August of 2009, as ObamaCare was being debated, "No matter the cost, quality health care should be provided for every citizen.")

S-T: "Except for a call to close 'corporate loopholes,' nothing in the Democrats’ plan even hints at the sad truth that our state is broke." Downplay the problem, Downplay the problem -- like Sen. Don Harmon in a series of town hall sessions in the summer of 2013.

Which leads S-T to ask who is the real champion of the middle class" -- the legislature that can't say no or "a governor . . . who understands that Illinois is in desperate need of more fundamental reform?"