Illinois is bankrupt. It just hasn’t declared it…yet. Things are so bad in the Prairie State that both S & P and Moody’s downgraded its credit rating to one step above junk status. That is the lowest rating for any state ever. Illinois has seen its credit rating lowered an amazing 12 times since 2009. Moreover, the debt-rating agencies warn that the Land of Lincoln could lose its investment grade entirely if it doesn’t take decisive action to rein in its chronic deficits and runaway spending.
Illinois is one of only eight states with a diminishing population. Last year alone, 37,508 citizens fled the progressive paradise in search of greener pastures, by far the most of any state. (West Virginia experienced the second largest net population loss, due to coal plant closures caused by President Obama’s “climate change” policies). A 2016 Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll found that nearly half of Illinois citizens would like to leave the state! The number one reason given for this desire? High taxes.
The state faces a troubled economy, staggering debt, and, incredibly, a government that has no apparent idea how to extricate itself from its self-inflicted fiscal problems. It owes contractors and suppliers many billions of dollars, and has $140 billion in unfunded liabilities for ridiculously lavish government employee pensions. In fact, Moody’s Investor Service reports that the state’s taxpayers are on the hook for a staggering $251 billion dollars in unfunded public union pension liabilities. On top of all this, Illinois has operated without a budget for three years.
And things are about to get worse.
The state’s Democratic-led legislature recently approved a $15-an-hour minimum wage, which will certainly lead to layoffs, business closures, higher unemployment rates (especially for young people), lost tax revenues, and other unpleasant realities. To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, after many years, Illinois has finally run out of other people’s money. It is time to pay the piper or face doomsday.
But, the state blithely continues to spend tons of money it doesn’t have, even as its plummeting credit rating has increased the cost of borrowing more cash, which it persists in doing in a pathetically self-defeating attempt to maintain the status quo. Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, Democratic control freak, wants taxes to be increased, but is against other measures and any real structural reform that might actually prove beneficial.
Well, there he goes again. He wants to exacerbate the very problem that is driving people to literally leave the state. Unless the Illinois legislature “somehow” finds the courage to reduce taxes and spending, the state will be on track to someday become another Venezuela or Puerto Rico, albeit with slightly better baseball teams.
Therefore, I propose that, in the interest of unity, we in the rest of the country dutifully- and immediately- start holding bake sales and selling lemonade from sidewalk stands, and promptly turn over all the incoming revenue earned from those endeavors to the great state of Illinois.
Furthermore, I believe we need to hold a lengthy telethon, on PBS, to raise money to retire Illinois’ debt. Granted, this may appear futile given that the entire mainstream media is essentially engaged in one eternal telethon to aid and abet Democrats and progressive causes and to try to convince everyone that spending and taxing profligately will someday lead to a utopia on Earth, but we have to do something, right?
And imagine the thrills as the telethon trotted out the likes of Kathy Griffin, Johnny Depp, Madonna, Rahm Emanuel, Elizabeth Warren, et. al., in an all-out blitz to raise enough cash to keep Illinois afloat for another year or two, without forcing it to reduce the rate of increase in its funding of…almost everything. Then, as emotions swell, Barack Obama, a single tear easing its way down his cheek, would stride onto the scene and implore all who were watching- and listening to the simulcast- especially in Washington, D.C., and Hollywood, California, to give all they can to make certain the erstwhile Garden of the West can continue to ignore the Second Amendment, the First Amendment, immigration law, and fundamental principles of sound economic and fiscal policy.
People would be able to bid on everything from bongs to blow jobs, keeping the throngs of volunteers manning the phones (recruited from colleges across the country) busier than Bill Clinton in a sorority house!
Maybe we could even get Jerry Lewis to show up for a few hours. After all, no one knows more about telethons than Jerry Lewis. Jerry once said, “Comedy is a man in trouble. And without it, there’s no humor.”
Illinois is hilarious.