With Republicans like this, who needs Democrats?

IL Republicans tainted by SEIU contributions

Click the link and look at the list. If you wonder why the polls show independents out number Republicans in Illinois, you need go no further than that list. The Republican HOUSE AND SENATE Committees are on it, for Pete’s sake!!

If you have to say “Obama’s not a loser”…

It a pretty sure thing that he’s a loser.

“President Obama is no loser just because Chicago didn’t get 2016 Summer Olympics”

Speaking of loser…

The coming failure on Iran

Obama’s Disastrous Foreign Policy

Jimmy Carter can now rest easy

Ironically, to save the ‘welfare state,’ you have to dump the Unions

There has never been a better opportunity for the center-right to expose the “Public Sector Union Movement” for the expensive fraud that it is. As you read the article below, you should realize that our society is rich enough to provide education, health care access, retirement security, and other benefits of a “social safety net” for our citizens.

We are not rich enough to provide those things if we burn trillions on worthless bureaucrats, administrators, greedy and protected contractors, insiders, and the entire cesspool of corruption that comes with the current practices of obscene public waste, fraud and abuse.

This is the perfect time for the center-right to stand up and save the best aspects of the safety net specifically by exposing the way the left has abused it. California and Illinois could lead the way in this regard.

The Golden State’s safety net strains

With empty pockets and maxed-out credit, California is debating whether it can continue honoring all parts of its social contract with the state’s most vulnerable residents.

The state faces an unprecedented drop in tax revenue and a widening budget deficit amid the deepest recession in decades, prompting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to propose cost-cutting steps that once seemed unthinkable.

At stake are programs for the poor, elderly and frail, placing millions of people in the nation’s most populous state at risk of falling through a decades-old social safety net.

Ending the welfare-to-work program for mothers and their children would affect about 546,000 families, and health insurance could be eliminated for 1 million children from low-income families. Services for Alzheimer’s patients, disabled and other frail recipients of in-home care also would be greatly reduced under the governor’s latest budget proposal, leaving more than 400,000 people without such support.

Arne Duncan’s empty rhetoric

As some one who has been saying “Fund Children, not Bureaucracies” since before 2005, it’s nice to see Arne Duncan lift some of my rhetoric.

Imitation truly IS the sincerest form of flattery.

Now if only he could make the rhetoric a reality by telling his new boss (Obama) how morally wrong he is to destroy the DC voucher plan, thus throwing 100s of disadvantaged kids back into the worst urban school system in the nation.

Unions don’t care about children, and they never did. They care about their nearly unlimited power and greed.

When Duncan says that, I may start to take him seriously. Given that he’s using my rhetoric, what ever the actual source he derived it from, I guess the day may come where they actually start believing it and acting on it…

…Assuming the Teacher’s Unions give them permission.

Arne to Illinois, “Shape Up”

So what does Duncan want?

He wants Illinois to lift its cap on charter schools. State law says there can be no more than 60 charter schools in the state, but there is demand for more than that. Why the cap? Because charter school teachers usually don’t have unions, and the teachers unions see that as a threat.

“Great charters make a huge difference in kids’ lives. What I loved about charters is they’re a school of choice,” Duncan said. “If kids stop showing up, we’ll take the school out. The money follows the kid.”

Duncan is absolutely right—the cap on charters just cheats children, and it has to be lifted.

Duncan wants Illinois and other states to chart the performance of children, and connect that performance to their teachers, and connect those teachers to the education schools that produced them. He’s saying: Let’s find out who’s turning out good teachers and which teachers are turning out educated kids.

Quinn riding the “Road to Disaster”

Conspiracy Theorists everywhere are wondering whether the time is right to start asking if Quinn has any interest at all in being elected Governor in 2010.

It isn’t as if he didn’t inherit an disaster, so everyone is going to willing to cut him a little slack, but his “All Taxes, No Spending Cuts” budget, combined with using the Chief Architect of Illinois’ financial disaster John Filan, has to have everyone asking why he’s physically handing his own head to The Madigans.

Quinn has chosen the wrong adviser

There can be no question that Filan was one of the leading architects of the state’s current financial disaster. He was a political powerhouse in the Blagojevich administration, the mastermind behind the former governor’s budget smoke and mirrors that resulted in a $10 billion-plus deficit.

As impeachment and conviction drew near, Blagojevich rewarded Filan with a post overseeing the Illinois Finance Authority.

A record like Filan’s ought to disqualify him permanently from participating again in state government. But Quinn, who’s proposed a massive tax increase, is relying on Filan for advice on his pending budget.

That hardly sounds like the change Quinn promised, and it’s not, if legislators are correct.

Critics of Quinn’s budget proposal note that it contains the same kind of budget gimmicks Filan proposed during Blagojevich’s tenure. It calls for skipping mandated pension payments and proposes some of the same tax increases (closing so-called business loopholes) the General Assembly rejected when they were proposed by Blagojevich and Filan. State Sen. Dale Righter, a Mattoon Republican, said “John Filan’s fingerprints are all over the budget.”

Filan defends his position by denying any involvement in criminal misconduct in the Blagojevich administration. But it’s not that what Filan did was illegal, it’s what he did that was legal but unconscionable and unforgiveable that matters.

The Illinois Budget isn’t a budget, but a legalized money-laundering scheme. Filan is the Launderer-in-Chief. Quinn is toast. One can’t but assume he’s cut some kind of deal with The Madigans.

Please enlighten me if I’m wrong.

Pat Quinn committing political suicide

Over at Capitol Fax, Rich Miller is posting on Quinn’s push for a 50% increase in the income tax. This is political suicide.

First, the Madigan’s are engineering Pat’s political death, with the Speaker Madigan ready to increase taxes while the AG Madigan cynically argues against tax increases she knows “must pass” under this state’s current fiscal and political landscape.

If Quinn were more courageous, he’d end the absurd talk about “more money for education,” (they are the ones that bankrupted the state), cut spending much deeper than expected for a Democrat, and cement the political independents and center into his corner. As things are going, he’s increasing the taxes that AG Madigan will be disbursing. If it’s is true that tax increases are necessary, far better to expand the sales tax base to services than to increase the income tax.

When balancing this budget, 75% deep cuts and 25% tax increases would be the proper mix. Given that Illinois is a “Grant Making” state in terms of disbursing funds, zeroing out grants to all non-essential recipients would be the best place to start.

Ending all pension increases would be the next.

I would have thought Pat Quinn would have played this better. Too bad he’s destroying his chances for getting elected in 2010.

Illinois Blue in more ways than one

The folks at “State and Local Policy Index of the United States” have just released their latest study.

They compare state and local policies across the US to create a measure called Freedom in the 50 States: Index of Personal and Economic Freedom

Talk about a picture being worth 1000 (more like 10,000) words.

A decent Midwestern state, dragged into the same abyss once reserved for corrupt states run by public employee unions.

UPDATED-Illinois Citizens Coalition Founders sue Dan Hynes

News Coverage is Here

John Bambenek and I have filed suit to enjoin Dan Hynes from spending any more money. The Illinois Constitution calls for a balanced budget (though the drafting was intentionally vague). The budget is not balanced under any reasonable definition that a person might use.

Hence, the state can’t spend any money.

Some may call this foolhardy or Quixotic. They may be right. However, if the citizens lose this suit, it is yet more evidence that Illinois is NOT a Constitutional Republic, but a kleptocracy run by a politcal class whose decisions are the very definition of the Rule of Men, not laws.

The PDF is here.

What do you call 20,000 government layoffs?

A good start!

California budget crisis jeopardizes 20,000 jobs

(CNN) — California lawmakers were told to bring their toothbrushes and prepare for a long day Tuesday, with the goal of passing a budget as the state faces a $42 billion deficit and 20,000 layoff notices were set to go out to state workers Tuesday.

The Republican governor, who declared a fiscal emergency in December, has butted heads for months with the Democratic majority over alleviating the state’s $11.2 billion revenue shortfall this fiscal year alone. The cuts would save California $750 million for the year. The state’s $42 billion deficit is for the current and next fiscal years.

Schwarzenegger warned lawmakers about the cuts last week, urging them to approve the latest budget proposal. However, voting was stalled over a 30-hour weekend session as the legislature mulled over 26 pieces of legislation that make up the budget package.

The State Assembly in Sacramento postponed action until Tuesday. A single Republican vote was holding the budget from passing with a two-thirds majority, McLear said.

Ask yourself this little question. What does less harm, tax increases as far as the eye can see, all to fund promises that never bore any reasonable relation to reality, or steep cuts in government spending, focused on unwarranted pay and pension benefits?

You all know the answer. Cut, Cut hard, and Cut deep. Cut Education Bureaucracy deepest of all.

Here in Illinois, the situation is a little bit different, as our budget is mostly opaque grants to obscure, redundant, and duplicated “programs.” The fact remains, however, that we can’t afford this bureaucracy. Indeed, we never were going to be able to afford it.

Start hacking before you raise one dime of tax.

What’s wrong with the proposed Illinois Gas Tax Hike?

It makes Illinois even less competitive in relation to its neighbors, as well as other states.

As one of the few conservatives arguing for steep hikes in gas taxes (with corresponding LARGER cuts in Social Security tax, mind you) it is clear that the WORST place to enact gas tax hikes is at the state level.

Frankly, if Obama REALLY wanted to do a “stimulus bill” properly, he would phase in steep gas taxes over 2 years (25 cents every 3 months until it gets to about $2.00) and use the proceeds to dole out cash to states on a per capita basis.

He could even ameliorate the bite by getting states to reduce their gas taxes in exchange for federal revenue sharing of the increased gas taxes.

Regardless, I must say that I feel sorry of Pat Quinn. He was left with a mess created not just by Blagojevich and the Democrats, but by 25-30 years of piggish party hacks in both parties who turned Illinois into state bankrupted by pension-seeking public patronage pigs.

His best bet is to triangulate with smart Republicans (assuming there are some) early by hacking spending to the bone fast and early, and take credit for the better financial picture when the election rolls around.

For an excellent primer on “Pigovian Taxes,” go here.