Rauner fans and Madigan fans all so pleased while Illinois fails

SHARE Rauner fans and Madigan fans all so pleased while Illinois fails

Gov. Bruce Rauner (left) and Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Keep on going, Gov. Rauner, no matter how terrible things get here in Illinois. Or so the governor’s supporters seem to say.

They apparently believe anyone who opposes Michael Madigan is good for the state.

Other than party members who owe their jobs to the Democratic organization and campaign contributors who buy influence, I’m not sure how many people thinks the Illinois House speaker is good for the state.


I guess government employees might side with Madigan, since he’s blocking Rauner from ending their ability to collectively bargain. But how do they ignore the fact that Madigan was a legislative leader when the state failed to make payments into their pension systems, creating a debt of more than $110 billion?

We have no way to repay that money and, since Rauner and Madigan have failed to pass a budget for two years, there are now billions of dollars in unpaid bills piling up in Springfield that have nothing to do with the pension crisis.

In fact, we owe billions of dollars in interest on money borrowed to keep the state functioning. That’s future tax revenue that will never be used to build a school, repair a road or pay a state trooper.

Talk to lesser politicians in either party and they will tell you why their guy is doing the right thing.

May not be perfect, they will say, but would you want the other fellow making all the decisions?

They don’t seem to care that young families are leaving this state for cheaper homes, safer communities and better jobs, or that Illinois has underfunded programs for the mentally ill, physically disabled and school children for decades

I understand why Illinois voters elected Rauner given that track record, combined with tax increases that never seem to improve the quality of life.

Other than complain, however, Rauner has done nothing to improve the situation, nor to win the public’s trust. He champions a “turnaround agenda” that would have no impact on the state’s economy if passed and Illinois today is in worse shape than when he took office.

People who live in other states are completely baffled by what’s happening here. How is it possible, they wonder, for a state to continue operating without a budget? How can elected officials ignore their most basic responsibility without a public rebellion?

This isn’t corruption. This is not about people stuffing taxpayer money into a shoe box, selling vehicle license plates for cash, or trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder.

It goes far beyond the nepotism, favoritism and cronyism that have epitomized Springfield since the days of Lincoln.

This is self-indulgent behavior that has risen to the level of political depravity and created a culture of government impotence.

There is a sense that nothing can be done, nothing will be done and nothing is better than anything else that might be done

And so the followers of Bruce Rauner are delighted.

The supporters of Mike Madigan are satisfied.

The masses march on Springfield groveling for better schools and social services, knowing full well that their voices will not be heard by these two men who choose to define their own ineptitude as success.

Former Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson once said, “Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.”

Rauner and Madigan have convinced the people of Illinois that epic failure is acceptable.

Together they sit atop this smoldering dung heap of their creation and simply expect all of us to get used to the stench.

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