February 12, 2015


Hard work of fixing the Deadbeat State begins with confronting unions (WASHINGTON EXAMINER, FEBRUARY 11, 2015)

 Thanks to years of over-generous concessions to the state's public employee unions, Illinois' pension and healthcare obligations have ballooned to $167 billion. Every landowner and business operator unfortunate enough to reside within Illinois stands to inherit a piece of this crushing debt -- as Gerald Skoning recently noted in the Wall Street Journal, they are lucky this obligation does not show up on their credit reports. At this point, a state default -- the first in more than 170 years -- is very much on the cards. To make matters worse, the state's extremely liberal supreme court has repeatedly struck down even modest legislative efforts by Democrats to ease the burden. And the state's obligation to its own retirees threatens its ability to provide basic, vital services that even the most hardened libertarian expects from a state government.

Yet hope springs eternal in Springfield -- and perhaps it springs just a bit higher now that Gov. Rauner is in charge. He has started off on the right foot with an executive order to spare unwilling government employees from paying dues to the public employee unions if they do not wish to join or be represented by them. It is a very small step, but a sensible one that shows the governor knows where the problem is and that he isn't afraid to confront it. Rauner's order, for which he is preemptively seeking approval in federal court, is much like the action of the oncologist who tries to cut cut off nourishment to a tumor ravaging his patient's body from the inside. The unions' intransigent opposition to reform portends disaster for the state's remaining middle class residents, rendering Obama's talk of "middle class economics" moot.

Posted by at February 12, 2015 4:45 PM

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