Problem Solved?

Illinois is broke. — Gov. Bruce Rauner

Sad to say, this quoted headline — in nearly one and a half-inch tall type — greeted me this week as I picked up our local newspaper.

It’s no surprise that Illinois is in horrid fiscal shape.

The economy is struggling everywhere, but governors in other states aren’t announcing they’re broke. Businesses aren’t fleeing other states by the hundreds. Homes in other states aren’t going on the For Sale block right and left.

Illinois taxes and regulations are “burdensome.” Spending is way out of control. Worst of all, lawmakers are locked in a power struggle between a Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled Legislature — resulting in their failure to produce a state budget since the new fiscal year began in July 2015.

Don’t ask me how we’re paying bills. Individuals and businesses can’t operate long without funds; neither should the government.

Rather than grumbling, I’m going to offer a solution. It’s far too “out there” to fly, of course, but serious times call for serious measures.

(Hey, I won’t even charge for my expertise!)

Here’s what I’d do:

  • Round up every last legislator — governor, too — and usher them into a big, windowless room.
  • Take away their cell phones, tablets, computers, and other “toys” right at the door.
  • Make sure this room has plenty of uncomfortable metal chairs and equally uncomfortable metal tables.
  • Maybe I’d give them coffee, but certainly no food.
  • Tell them the door will be locked…from the outside…and only opened when they’ve hammered out a budget.

I’m betting they’d get sick and tired of each other and their shenanigans pretty fast. And they’d do the job they were elected to do — that is, unless they relish sleeping on a cold, hard floor.

As an added incentive, if they decide to keep fighting, I’d tell them this: Fine. Every day, we’ll come in and randomly select one of you, pull him/her out, and strip him of his office.

No more interns. No more pension. No more salary or cushy perks. Hit the unemployment line like the rest of Illinois and see if you can make it.

You know, it just might work. What have we got to lose?

32 thoughts on “Problem Solved?

  1. Haha! Brilliant plan! Once you’ve got Illinois sorted, could you please pop over and sort out Europe? Mind you, I think you might be being overly kind – do you really feel they deserve coffee? Goat’s milk might be better… 😉

    • I probably am being overly kind, FF — after all, people running a business wouldn’t sit for their employees not getting the work done, so why should taxpayers? I mean, last time I checked, these folks work for US! Goat’s milk? *shudders*

  2. Hey. This is Illinois you’re talking about — the land of “vote early and vote often.” By the time you got them all herded into that room, someone would have had time to bribe the guards, get the key, and arrange to have some deep-dish pizza and brewskis delivered. Who knows where it would go from there?

    Here’s my plan. How about we send up Ted Cruz, and lock them in that room with him? He could lecture them on the Constitution and their responsibility until they cried “Uncle!” and wrote a budget, just to get away from him. 🙂

    • Sad but true, Linda. And while they’re at it, vote dead people, dogs, the mentally ill, and anybody else they can find! And perhaps I’m being too generous because surely somebody somewhere would find a way to profit from this ‘punishment’!

      Are y’all farming out Ted these days? I guess he’s one of those guys you either love or hate, isn’t he? At least you know where he stands — and he’s not in danger of prison like so many of our politicians!

      • I heard a nice interview with him a few days ago, and truth to tell, it sounds like he’s ready to stop traveling for just a bit. I suspect all of the candidates who are out of the race now need some time to decompress. No matter what your politics, the system we’ve devised exacts quite a toll on the candidates.

        • It does indeed. On their families, too. Besides the traveling, they’ve got all those interviews, fundraising chicken dinners, putting signs in yards, raising money… I don’t think that would be a lifestyle I’d choose!

  3. I like it! Excellent plan!! Our Chicago teachers are hurting in a big way. And I am not talking about pensions (the loudmouth CPS Union leader does enough of that) but basic material to do their jobs. Springfield is has a 40% cut per pupil on the table. Some of the principles cried when they saw those numbers—It’s a mess when we have to sacrifice education to pay our bills—the education of the kids who need it the most. I think, they should have to send a smoke signal up when they have reached a viable plan—and if the plan doesn’t work—Goodbye Felicia.

    • Isn’t it awful, Kb? Our universities (several of which are right in my backyard almost) are really hurting. Kids are worrying about dropping out because they can’t get their scholarships renewed; staffs are being cut. And I haven’t even touched on how hard it is for small businesses. The big guys can afford to pick up and relocate; we little guys depend on word-of-mouth for our existence.

      I’ve talked to too many folks downstate who’d be willing to fire the lot of ’em and start with a completely clean slate…were it not for fear of attracting worse than we’ve already got. And giving them the opportunity to “work” a week or two, then take a “recess” is maddening!

  4. Should be a NATIONAL plan, I say! On the walls there should be said rules:

    All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

    Share everything.
    Play fair.
    Don’t hit people.
    Put things back where you found them.
    Clean up your own mess.
    Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
    Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
    Wash your hands before you eat.
    Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

    • DD, I’ve always loved these Kindergarten rules! And you know, they really do serve as a blueprint for life. ‘Clean up your own mess’ seems especially apropos for the political arena. Wonder how many ‘messes’ they make and keep making, without regard for the cleanup crew?!!

  5. *applause*

    EXCELLENT plan, Debbie! You know, it’s the same here in Philadelphia. I mean I really hate to say this but Philly (government/political-wise) is very corrupt. Our last governor, I liked very much. However our current one is the pits. The main (and only reason) I think Philadelphia sustains itself without going broke is because of all the Universities and colleges that are in this city. We have a TON of them, which keeps the money flowing into the city and the businesses going. Philly is a HUGE college town.

    FAB post topic, my friend! Have a terrific weekend!

    X to you and Dallas

    • I was wondering if any of my Pennsylvania readers would comment on their budget problems, too, Ron. I read that, when your state finally ratified its tax and spending plan, Illinois “gained” the dubious honor of being the last state in the union to have a budget in place. Wow, just an honor we need, right??

      Part of me was actually afraid of posting this. We never know who’s reading, after all, and I don’t usually like to stir up a political hornet’s nest! It’s just gotten so bad that I felt compelled to “damn the torpedoes,” you know?!!

      Happy Friday and Happier Weekend! xx

    • Bug thingies while they’re a “captive” audience, right, Professor?? Yes, that would be grand sport. I’m for whatever will get them to pass a budget and start us back on the right track!

  6. I like to think they don’t start out so awful and lugging that sense of entitlement…but that they system and perks and distance from their constituents lands them there. Why does it seem so difficult to keep the starry eyed intentions some of them began with? I think your idea would work – oh that you all could implement it.

    • Thank you, Barb. I agree, most of them seem to start out with good intentions (gives new meaning to the adage, “The Road to Hell,” huh??) Anyway, too soon, they learn the ropes, how to get by without working, how to “prove” they’re doing something important. We’re pretty tired of the lot of them and are desperate to do something…anything, really…to save our state from bankruptcy (or whatever it’s called when states are broke!)

    • Oh, Pat, it truly IS a mess — makes me ashamed to even live here! Perhaps our officials are hoping the voters will be so distracted by having to eke out a living that we won’t fret over the mess they’re making. Be very glad you escaped!!

  7. I think it would work. Certainly if we ask them to work a full week it would be beneficial too. Here in Michigan we’ve been almost broke for as long as I can remember. Though this governor has presented a balance budget the last few years. Still…we have the Flint water problem that will suck up any reserves we’ve got. It’s a problem everywhere.

    • I’ve been reading of Flint’s water problems, and that’s a real problem. People have GOT to have fresh water! I didn’t realize you had financial problems in Michigan, too. I guess it’s kind of rampant, sad to say. But sending legislators to the capital for a few days, then letting them go home (without solving the problems) seems crazy to me.

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