by Ghost of John Brown
Over the last year we have seen the State of Illinois morph into the Roman Empire. Speaker Madigan reigns as Emperor Commodus. Sorry, I know Pat Quinn should probably be cast in the role of Emperor, but does anyone in this State REALLY think that Pat Quinn is in control?
In an effort to raise more and more revenue, the State of Illicit (formerly known as Illinois) passed a sweeping gambling expansion bill that would put a casino in Chicago and make slot machines more prevalent than Justin Bieber CD's and just as obnoxious. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude and I love playing poker, but how do we expand the economy by just moving money around from one person to the other with the casinos and the State of Illicit taking a huge chunk? Oh sure, we are going to steal it collect it from out of state visitors passing through O'Hare. Nothing like that midwest hospitality.
Maybe we can legalize marijuana and unemployed factory workers can grow it once their jobs leave the State. "Puffing happy smoke in the Windy City" could be the slogan. When you're high, you aren't going to care as much when Emperor Madigan pilfers your wallet.
If the racetracks aren't making enough money, off gambling, maybe we could convert them to Coliseums and bring back gladiator fighting. Think of the thrill that Democrats would have in throwing Tom Cross, Bill Brady, Kirk DIllard and Pat Brady into a rink with wild lions and tigers. Why Democrats all over the Country would come to the State of Illicit dragging their own Republicans by the bootstrap to the nearest Coliseum. Talk about re-invigorating the tourism industry. Emperor Madigan has already mustered a redistricting map that will pit incumbent Republicans against each other, why not go all the way and have them fight gladiator style in the Coliseum and make a couple of bucks off the affair?
Think of the sponsorship opportunities. SEIU would be good for naming rights to the Coliseum. Although it is unclear if SEIU would run the concessions. You would die of thirst during the 30 minute mandatory work breaks. Even when they do get back to work, you would have to go get your own drinks and there would be a mandatory 80% tip. SEIU employees waiting on you?? Come on, get serious. Illinois taxpayers are here to serve SEIU, not the other way around.
The term "Bread and Circuses" originated with the Roman poet Juvenal (circa AD 100) to describe the way that politicians would win the votes from poor Romans by supplying food and entertainment. The Emperor knew that he had to appease the masses to keep them from rioting. Of course the money to supply the largess came from taxation of the wealthy in Rome.
Today, Emperor Madigan cannot afford to let the public unions and the poor (read Democrats) from defecting, so he engineered a 67% tax increase on the middle class and the business community so he could continue to supply bread and circuses. This last week, instead of addressing the enormous problem with public pensions in the State of Illicit, Emperor Madigan decided to look into it later. "Oh, we'll take care of it later - just trust me."
The Roman Empire eventually fell. Some believe it came about from a general malaise. Some believe that it was brought on by rapid expansion of the government and over-taxation along with the devaluation of the currency. Certainly, one can see a future that includes the demise of the State of Illicit given the Romanesque governance that we seem to have inherited.
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