The Worst-Governed State in the USA?

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Illinois is in full-on crisis. The state is broke. They are deep in the red, and drowning in debt.

Illinois is the worst-governed state in America. No other state government has been as unabashedly spendthrift and tax-happy. No other state government is as committed to the politics of theft and envy. Things are so bad that lottery winners of pots over $25,000 have been put on hold. They are not getting their money.

Parts of the Illinois government have shut down. Not of all it, of course. For example, the politicians still get paid. Politicians deserve to be paid, you see. Friends of politicians will still get paid. Everyone else, on the other hand, can “el suck it” (as they say in Guatemala).

Retired state employees on pensions are going to get hosed. Many of them probably think that their 20+ years of loyalty to the state government will be faithfully rewarded. I say: fat chance. State Retirees will be the first to get cut. They have no political leverage. There are too few of them proportional to how much money they receive. Their pensions are vestigial.

There is very little the betrayed retirees will be able to do about it. They can sue in the courts. But if the city or the state declares bankruptcy, then a lawsuit will do them no good. The case will not go through.

Public School teachers and administrators in Illinois, especially Chicago, should be worried. They are insanely overpaid, compared to teacher salaries elsewhere. This is because the Teacher’s Union in Illinois has long been a paramilitary wing of the leftist-dominated Illinois government, and they have been rewarded. But the money is drying up. There is a very real possibility that teacher salaries could be gutted. Benefits could be slashed. The pensions for retired teachers, I think, will surely be slashed.

The reaction to this will be typical: massive protests. Demonstrators will flood the streets of Chicago and sing “We shall not be moved.” This does not have the effect it used to. Governor Scott Walker’s victory over the malevolent Wisconsin Teacher’s Union was emboldening. They tried to oust him in a double-jeopardy election, which failed. They flooded the capitol with protesters, banners, and union songs. Walker’s response basically amounted to “Shut up and go home.”  It worked. The general public sided against the union. The Wisconsin Teacher’s Union will not be trying that again. Not under Walker, anyway.

Bottom line: Illinois is out of money. Cuts have to come from somewhere. The currently unionized government workers are going to betray the retirees. They are expendable, in the grand scheme. All other Illinois state employees had better hope they work in a sector with political leverage. It’s all that’s going to matter when they start making budget cuts.

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