Kadner: The Complaining Man in the Land of Lincoln

SHARE Kadner: The Complaining Man in the Land of Lincoln

Gov. Bruce Rauner | AP photo

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So the guy in the bar was complaining about all the lousy politicians in the state of Illinois.

“Have you ever seen such a mess?” the man asked no one in particular. “You got massive income and sales taxes, property tax bills so high people are moving to Indiana, businesses leaving the state, and a pension debt running hundreds of billions of dollars?”

Two fellows standing nearby nodded in agreement.

“We can’t even pay our bills as they come due,” The Complaining Man continued. “We got like $8 billion or $9 billion in overdue bills just sitting on some desk down in Springfield because despite all the taxes in this state we don’t have enough money to pay people for the services they’ve performed.”

The other two guys at the bar said, “It’s not right” and “They’re all crooks.”


“You wouldn’t run your home like that, am I right?” The Complaining Man bellowed. “You have a budget and you stick to it.”

There was some muttered agreement, but the other two guys didn’t seem as receptive as they had been a few minutes ago, no doubt recalling a time when they may have been late paying a credit card bill or sending a child support check.

“Bartender, a round of drinks for everyone,” The Complaining Man barked.

Suddenly, the mood seemed to brighten and more than a dozen people who had been sitting at tables surged toward the bar wanting to make sure they got their share of the free booze.

“You want to know whose fault this is?” The Complaining Man said. He didn’t wait for an answer.

“It’s Mike Madigan,” he continued. “The guy has been the speaker of the House for like 35 years or something. He’s like the king of Springfield. You can’t vote him out of office.”

There were shouts of agreement and someone said, “I’ll drink to that.”

“The schools in this state are crummy because of Madigan,” The Complaining Man barked. “He lets the teacher’s unions control everything. They give him money.”

Everyone in the bar agreed the teachers were bums because their own kids were geniuses but failed to get good grades.

The Complaining Man continued, “Construction unions aren’t much better because they’re sucking millions of dollars of your tax money up to pay their workers a lot more than the minimum wage.”

Some of the bar patrons said that was true but several (guys who were truck drivers, electricians, plumbers and carpenters) were no longer enthusiastic about joining in the chorus of support.

“Another round of beers for everyone,” The Complaining Man boomed.

His audience cheered that announcement and a tiny voice at the end of the bar said he wanted to hear more about ways to make the state better.

“Term limits,” The Complaining Man said. “You’ve got to have term limits so these politicians can’t stay down in Springfield forever and collect big salaries and hefty pensions and hire all their friends and relatives.”

Everyone in the bar was cheering The Complaining Man and there was almost complete agreement that term limits would be a very good thing.

“And we need to reform workers compensation laws in this state and make it harder to win big lawsuits when cars explode or cribs collapse and strangle babies.”

No one seemed to know what to say to that, but The Complaining Man ordered another round of drinks and people took turns slapping him on the back

“Hey, you ought to run for governor of this state,” someone yelled, as The Complaining Man pulled out his wallet to pay the tab.

“I already am the governor,” The Complaining Man replied.

A man at the other end of the bar turned to a friend and said, “He hasn’t done nothing but come in here and complain for the last two years.”

“Hey, he bought six new Republican legislators by spending millions of dollars of his own money.”

“You used to be able to buy Democrats for a lot less,” the other man replied.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

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