How the Illinois Budget Crisis Exemplifies the Flaws of Big Government

As of Thursday, July 6th, the Illinois state legislature passed a budget for the first time in three years. Because it was haphazardly thrown together in an attempt to beat the deadline of midnight July 7th, the budget is far from fixing the massive financial problems the state has accrued. Thanks to many years of irresponsible financial decisions, growing state welfare and entitlement programs, and high pressure from unions inside the state, they owe their citizens $251 billion in pensions, owe $15 billion dollars of unpaid bills to local providers, and are accruing interest payments that are nearing $800 million dollars in late payment interest fees. Due to this massive amount of debt, economic growth and the availability of jobs will grind to a halt. It seems that in their grand scheme to help those less fortunate, the politicians haven’t just neglected to help those people, but have made the situation much worse by taking away what little opportunity was available.

An unsustainable precedent, to say the least.

Additionally, the new budget will raise both the income tax and the corporate income tax, seemingly trying to tax and borrow the state our of debt and into prosperity. However, it is impossible to regulate cash flow into existence. The only system in the history of the entire world that creates wealth from absolutely nothing is capitalism. Free enterprise is the only hope left for the people in Illinois, as their government has failed them.

PragerU does an excellent job of explaining why the government can’t effectively run the economy (spoiler alert) in their video, “Can the Government Run the Economy?”

Needless to say, the state is now facing the real possibility of a obtaining the country’s first ‘junk’ credit rating. If this happens, the price of their debt will increase to unprecedented levels, crippling any chance of recovery.

Thus, the question I will pose to you is this: Is the government really there to help and support you? When the Illinois state legislature mandated all these entitlement programs, including social service agencies, domestic violence shelters, mental health facilities, and senior and hospice care facilities, it sure seemed like they were. But while hiding their budgetary problems, they were simultaneously increasing union pensions so that they could rely on the union’s vote during election season.  Now, because of their own incompetence, they’re asking you, the citizens of Illinois, for more tax money to fix their mistakes.

Although the poor have been negatively impacted, failure to produce and abide by a budget has not affected the wealthy. In fact, many of them are just leaving the state; money is, after all, mobility. The people who are disproportionately affected are those who rely on entitlement and welfare programs. The people who will endure the majority of the suffering are the ones who already suffer the most; the sick, the old, and the very young.

So, I’ll ask you again: Do you really believe the government is there to help you? Are their actions all in the pursuit of a common good, or are they merely corrupt politicians doing whatever it takes to retain their comfy seat in the capital?

In a recent video posted by Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, she says that the state’s budget crisis “is a simple matter of dollars and cents.” True. She goes on to say, “The state needs cash flow, and we need it now.” This is also true. But it’s what she says about a solution that truly baffles me. Never in the video does she mention the need to cut spending. Instead, she laments that they are having to focus all of their dollars on “children and sick people, to help those who need it most.” So then what’s her solution? Borrow more money, of course.

According to Ms. Mendoza, Illinois can “still do this because the state has never defaulted on its debts.” This is true, but what she doesn’t say is that if the state acquires a junk credit rating, then the sky high interest rates, the amount of rich people leaving the state, the inability of the people to earn a higher income, and the outstanding debts in both pensions and late payments will make credit default a real possibility.

While Illinois is continuing to borrow money and trying to pay their ridiculous interest and pension payments, government schools won’t be able to open. State employees won’t get paid. Funding for all the social service agencies, domestic violence shelters, mental health facilities, and senior and hospice care facilities will be cut.

So, how do you feel about the politicians that advocated for these entitlement programs now? Will you continue to put your blind faith in them? Will you allow them to continue stripping you of your freedoms? Is the government serving you, or are you serving your government? Think very carefully about this the next time you are in the voting booth.  It has real implications. Ask the people of Illinois if you doubt me.

This is not an issue of Republican vs. Democrat or Left vs. Right. Both sides of the aisle have given in to big government pressures, have accepted taxpayer dollars as bribes, and have given special favors to those who are undeserving. This is a matter of statism vs. freedom, of government control vs. individual liberty. Illinois is a great example of a statist society, a society where the people work for the government rather than the government serving the people. It’s time for you, as Americans, to start considering the major damage that big government always inevitably causes before your state falls into the same trap.


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