If you think as an Illinois taxpayer, you can't be more humiliated, you're wrong. We've grown used to the snickering about imprisoned governors, 40+ year reigns of Democrat House Dictators and Illinois' never-ending corrupt political family dynasties. We've endured the painful 67 percent income tax increases, the unpaid obligation notices, the identification as the state with the lowest credit rating - despite paying every hard-earned, tax-drained dollar we've ever been billed.
We've suffered the scorn of fellow countrymen for sending Illinois radical Leftists such as Barack Obama, Dick Durbin, Rahm Emanuel, Jan Schakowsky, Jesse Jackson Jr., Luis Gutierrez, Bobby Rush, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright to the national scene.
But the worst humiliation of all is yet to come.
We're about to become beggars.
Columnist George Will makes an argument we've been saying for years - why should the rest of the nation pay for the stupid decisions Illinois political leaders have been making for years? For decades, Illinois lawmakers chose to buy new constituents with shiny, expensive new government programs and agencies to fix the state's problems rather than use the taxpayer treasury to pay bills and set aside money for a rainy day. With every new program and agency, the lawmakers were to claim responsibility for new union jobs with public sector unions such as SEIU, AFSCME, IFT, NEA and the Chicago Teachers Union. With those new jobs came union-monitored votes and favors, and well-funded pensions and health care benefits.
And who paid for them all? Illinois taxpayers Or at least that's what we were told. Fact is pension obligations weren't met, and now the collection call has come in. But there's nothing to offer in a settlement. Illinois is financially tapped out. The only thing left to do, Will says, is for Illinois, California and New York to grovel and beg.
But little help is found among fellow beggars. The United States government is borrowing a billion a day to simply pay interest for the money they've received from Communist China.
Will says it's time for states like Illinois to come clean and let the world know exactly how much they owe. He refers to a tough proposal called the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act, authored by Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican from California. Wills writes:
Nunes' bill would require states to disclose the size of their pension liabilities — and the often-dreamy assumptions behind the calculations. Noncompliant governments would be ineligible for issuing bonds exempt from federal taxation. Furthermore, the bill would stipulate that state and local governments are entirely responsible for their pension obligations and the federal government will provide no bailouts.
Nunes' bill would not traduce any state's sovereignty: Each would retain the right not to comply, choosing to forfeit access to the federally subsidized borrowing that facilitated their slide into trouble.
Perhaps the first step - like Dunes' idea - towards ending a destructive addiction is to admit that one has a problem. That would be good for all involved to find out how bad the problem is. But then what? Begging the federal government to give us money other more responsible states have paid in is unethical and unfair. But when you've created such a mess - or stood by and allowed it to happen - what choice do you have?
And who among us is willing to stand up against the corrupt powers that have taken this state into the depths of financial woes?
Conservatives may find comfort in the fact that they've been unable to organize a strong enough coalition to fight Illinois' disaster. They've dutifully criticized it, stood against it, voted against it and yet they were never effective enough to avert the crisis. Indeed, too many longtime conservatives became sucked in by the perceived power and influence, the rich public sector unions and their campaign coffers, and some even gave the appearance of fighting bad public policy, but comfortably making a living while, in effect, enabling the state destroyers to remain in control.
But those conservatives in Illinois who haven't been persuasive or effective enough to turn the public's opinion will not be spared the humiliation along with Liberals that are to blame for Illinois situation. Together we will beg and then face the final punishment - slavery.
Will says the only place Illinois will have to go where they can obtain mercy is the nation's ultimate financial organization - the ones who print money. But the Federal Reserve won't be forgiving slave masters because if they give Illinois, California and New York what they need, they will suffer, too. Will writes:
People seeking backdoor bailouts hope that the fourth branch of government, aka Ben Bernanke, will declare an emergency power for the Federal Reserve to buy municipal bonds to lower localities' borrowing costs. This political act might mitigate one crisis by creating a larger one — the Fed's forfeiture of its independence.
Conservatives and liberals alike, let's get in the required subservient posture on our knees and prepare to cry out, "Buddy can you spare a billion?"
And let us never forget we made our choices that brought us here.