Keep an eye on the budget battle in the state of Illinois. It ties in with what I said a few days ago about the parlous state of US state and municipal finances, which are contributing factors to the risk of a worldwide financial meltdown. ABC News reports:
[Governor] Rauner insists Illinois must freeze property taxes to give homeowners a break, put restrictions on liability lawsuits and compensation for workers' injuries to make business operations cheaper, allow for expansion and increase tax revenue. Term limits and impartial political map-drawing would keep officeholders accountable and thrifty, he says.
[Illinois House speaker] Madigan says the business changes would hurt middle-class workers and calls them "extreme."
Rauner turned that term against the opposing party, saying his plans make "extreme common sense."
"What is extreme in Illinois is our property tax burden, what is extreme is our deficit and our debt, what is extreme is our low economic growth, our low rate of job-creation and our high rate of conflicts of interest inside government," Rauner said.
Democrats sent Rauner a $36 billion spending plan in June. He vetoed it because it was short on revenue by up to $4 billion.
There's more at the link.
The Governor happens to be Republican and the Speaker Democrat, but that doesn't really matter. The battle isn't between political parties - it's between those who want to carry on with their binge of deficit spending, versus those who want to balance the budget and not spend more than they can take in. It's a battle being waged in many states. Illinois just happens to be the worst off of them - and is a microcosm of US deficit spending in general.
Continued deficit spending is simply digging our fiscal hole even deeper than it is already. It makes no economic sense at all - but it makes political sense for those who rely on deficit-funded entitlement programs to, in so many words, 'buy votes' to maintain their positions of power. That's what's fueling the current political impasse in Illinois, and many other states and cities besides.