The debt hawks are to economics as the creationists are to biology.
Illinois is broke. Your state either is, or soon will be, broke, too. Illinois’s 13 million population owes $13 billion. Like all states, counties and cities, Illinois is not monetarily sovereign, so unlike the federal government, which is monetarily sovereign, states cannot create money to pay their bills. Illinois is far behind on payments to the many vendors who supply services to its citizens. The state has no hope of continuing its “borrow now, pay later” system.
Yes, Illinois may be the most dishonest state in America. Several of its recent governors have gone to jail, and the government is run by swindlers. Although the reprehensible head of the Democratic party in this traditionally Democratic state, Mike Madigan, can be blamed for much of the financial chaos, there is plenty of blame spread around.
We can begin with the voters, who inexplicably continue to vote solid Democratic, despite the astounding record for corruption this party has amassed. Not only is Illinois thoroughly crooked, but so is Cook County and Chicago, also Democratic strongholds. Chicago aldermen traditionally go to jail after a few years in office, and Mayor Daley is the classic Sgt. Schultz, the guy who repeatedly said, “I know nothing, I see nothing.”
Daley sold income-earning city assets, then spent the money, putting Chicago ever deeper in the hole. (Pity the next mayor). And don’t ask about Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who was appointed by his father after his father died (really), and instituted a “friends and family” system of patronage hiring. With all this, voters march to the polls, like little automatons, pull the Democratic lever, and march back out to complain. (In all fairness, Illinois has had its share of venal Republican governors, too, though these guys were mere minnows in a sea of sharks.)
Nevertheless, though the state, its largest county and its largest city all are run by criminals, even a theoretically honest state cannot survive on tax receipts alone. Because monetarily non-sovereign governments cannot create money, inflation forces them all to obtain money from outside their borders.
“Outside” earnings can come exports of goods and services. Example: Salaries earned by Evanston, Illinois residents, paid by Chicago firms. Or outside earnings can come from government support. Example: Illinois pays some Chicago Transportation Authority expenses. And this later approach demonstrates the only way to save Illinois and all the other states.
If the U.S. federal government would give Illinois just $1,000 for each resident, the state debt would disappear. And if the federal government continued to give Illinois an ongoing $500 for each resident, Illinois could pay its cities and counties enough to achieve better schools, better roads, better transportation and other improvements in human benefits, while reducing the onerous property, income and sales taxes, that hurt Illinois’s economy.
Yes, Illinois’s crooked politicians will continue to steal, and Illinois voters will continue to elect them, but state poverty hasn’t stopped the politicians, anyway. And though Illinois politicians uniformly promise to reduce the debt, this requires self destructive taxes and spending cuts. Austerity is a path to disaster. So, the sole financial solution for Illinois and for all states, a solution that will improve the lives of its residents and of all America’s residents, a solution easily affordable by the federal government, is per capita support for all states.
Without increased support to states, America’s quality of life will decline, as schools, roads, health care, nursing homes, housing, courts, police and fire protection, parks and businesses all disintegrate. There is no other solution. Mathematically, America’s states, counties and cities cannot do it themselves. The federal government must do it.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
No nation can tax itself into prosperity. Those who say the stimulus “didn’t work” remind of the guy whose house is on fire. A neighbor runs with a garden hose and starts spraying, but the fire continues. The neighbor wants to call the fire department, which would bring the big hoses, but the guy says, “Don’t call. As you can see, water doesn’t put out fires.”