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Wednesday, April 21, 2010  

The More Obvious It Is, the More Necessary to Repeat It

Whetstone, on Pat Quinn's proposed 'iTax':

Either way, Illinois politicians are going to have to do unpopular things to fix the budget deficit, and some of them are going to lose their jobs because of it.

This is true. Part of the problem with Quinn's approach of throwing a bunch of ideas up there and seeing what sticks is that there is no way to raise significant revenue or cut significant spending without pissing people off. Each idea in isolation gets picked off as unpopular, politically infeasible, or not worth the risks involved with overcoming those particular problems. The only way, it seems to me, is to bundle a whole bunch of unbearable measures together that reasonably approximate a balanced budget. That way, everyone is suffering but there is a payoff in sight.

Instead, our political culture in this state is shot through with magical thinking. Let's do a six-month budget and put off the hard stuff until after the elections! Let's fire up the mighty engine of editorial indignation to spur the process forward! As for voters, I don't know what we're thinking. Perhaps we're in denial. Perhaps we assume that a blue-ribbon Bloombergian candidate can somehow save us. I don't know. But since we don't want to know the truth and will punish any office holder or seeker who tries to acknowledge it, the people--however few they must be--who actually care about governing this state are just going to have to suck it up and be willing to lose their jobs. There are worse things in life.

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posted by Benjamin Dueholm | 1:32 PM
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