Regular readers will know that for years, I've predicted that the failing states in the Union - failing because of their feckless, fiscally inept and terminally greedy politicians, plus the cronies to whom they pour out largesse from the state budget - are going to demand that the federal government bail them out, and assume responsibility for their catastrophically large, otherwise unpayable debts, deficits and overheads.
I was right.
As I reported last week, Illinois Democrats have asked for over $41 billion in financial aid, ostensibly related to the costs of the coronavirus pandemic, but in reality specifically earmarked to make up the shortfall in state pension funding, pay off the state's deficit, and basically cover their overspending for the past decade or two. The money has little or nothing to do with the coronavirus, but everything to do with ensuring that their past misdeeds are paid for by the taxpayers of the entire United States, not just those in Illinois. What's more, you and I know full well that if they succeed, they won't change their spendthrift ways. Within a few years, they'll have dug themselves into yet another fiscal hole, and demand to be bailed out yet again - citing this bailout as precedent.
If you want to know some of the facts underlying Illinois' predicament, read this article.
Our analysis at OpenTheBooks.com shows that an Illinois family of four now owes more in unfunded pension liabilities ($76,000) than they earn in household income ($63,585). In a state of 13 million residents, every man, woman, and child owes $19,000 — on an estimated $251 billion pension liability.
Our auditors discovered 110,000 public employees and retirees who earned more than $100,000 last year.
We found tree trimmers in Chicago making $106,663; nurses at state corrections earning up to $277,100; junior college presidents making $491,095; university doctors earning up to $2 million; and 111 small town managers who out-earned every governor of the 50 states ($202,000).
There's more at the link.
It's becoming clear that almost every state and major city that's in similar self-inflicted dire straits is hoping for a similar bailout. Democrats are demanding it; Republicans are pushing back.
Democratic leaders on Tuesday doubled down on their demand for $500 billion in aid to states to help with the coronavirus crisis while rejecting a suggestion by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that some struggling states may need to declare bankruptcy.
“Right now the House is hard at work for the next bill CARES 2, which must contain robust funding for state and local government to pay frontline workers,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a call with reporters. “Governors and mayors, Republicans and Democrats, are crying out for support.”
. . .
"In terms of funding we may have two packages, one for states and one for locals," Pelosi said. Later she clarified: “It looks like we’re going to need 500 [billion] for the states and we may also need a very big figure for counties and municipalities."
. . .
On Monday, President Trump appeared open to signing such a bill, but also asked why taxpayers should bail out “poorly run states.”
“Why should the people and taxpayers of America be bailing out poorly run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when most of the other states are not looking for bailout help?” Trump tweeted Monday. “I am open to discussing anything, but just asking?”
Again, more at the link.
New York City is trying to get in on the act as well.
The word “absurd” doesn’t even begin to describe this ridiculous demand by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he publicly says he wants the federal government to replace all of the missing revenue from the COVID-19 economic shut-down. This is bonkers.
If the federal government was to even consider taking such action it would essentially be promoting all states and cities to remain shut-down forever; because, in the mind of those who live from the government trough, there would be no need to reopen. The mental disconnect here is incredible. I think the needle on my ‘nope-meter‘ just broke off.
While private citizens, private companies and private workers are forced –by government– to remain locked in their homes; unable to earn a living and on the cusp of financial despair, or face arrest; the NYC Mayor wants the government system and workers to be isolated from any economic impact via a federal bailout.
Sundance, blogging at The Last Refuge, believes this is part of a deliberate wider strategy by Democrat-controlled cities and states to prolong the economic impact of the pandemic for as long as possible, hoping that the misery it inflicts will bring them votes in November. It's hard to disagree with him. Bold, underlined text below is my emphasis.
It is being reported the San Francisco Bay area will remain in a state of forced lock-down with an extension of the stay-at-home orders throughout May. Considering this is the home of Speaker Nancy Pelosi,… this decision highlights an expectation that the federal government will bail out local and state governments.
We anticipated this type of approach where Blue states & Blue regions will keep their economies closed as long as possible to inflict maximum political damage. Simply, if San Francisco were not confident they will gain a federal bailout they would not be keeping their economic system closed for another entire month.
. . .
It is likely that Democrat governors and Democrats in the House have organized a specific media allied approach to demand the federal bailout. There is simply no way any state or local region would remain shut down unless they were confident of funding.
Any bailout would only help the local and state government. It would not help the private sector, or private sector workers. By using federal taxpayer funds to replace missing tax revenue, the Blue states/regions would be protecting their own big government ideology.
The three step plan seems predictable:
This is going to be one hell of a battle.
- Get out ahead of President Trump.
- Defy the ‘all clear’ and shape economic benefit to their political allies.
- Then use Fauci’s upcoming dossier to hit the administration for heartlessly opening the economy too early.
Essentially we are looking at a Spring and Summer conflict, an economic civil war between Blue states/regions and Red states/regions.
More at the link.
Essentially, many state and local governments are using the pandemic as an excuse to suspend constitutional rights and liberties, and govern by decree. They're now trying to extend that to the federal government as well, by making it dance to their fiscally irresponsible tune. As the American Spectator points out, "Now that officials have learned they can suspend our civil liberties by edict, expect such “emergency” measures any time there’s another crisis, real or perceived." I expect that'll apply to bailouts as well.
I don't think those agitating for a federal bailout, using the economic misery generated by the pandemic as a lever to apply pressure, have thought this through. If their residents find that government largesse is no longer flowing (at least in the amounts they want); and if they believe (or have been told, loudly and repeatedly, by their politicians) that they're entitled to such largesse; then they're going to get out of control and try to take what they want. The results are likely to be catastrophic for law and order, and civil society.
I think the ordinary people of America realize this. After all, that's why they bought more guns in March than any other month in previous US history. They're getting ready to defend what's theirs - and I believe they're right in anticipating the need to do so. Again, bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
"Simply put: I wanted peace of mind when it comes to the safety of my family," Eaton said.
. . .
"To me, it's all about protecting my family, and if a gun makes that easier, so be it," Scott, a California tech worker with a wife and daughter, said.
Many of the new gun owners cited concerns about personal protection as states began emptying jail cells and police departments announced they would no longer enforce certain laws. Jake Wilhelm, a Virginia-based environmental consultant and lacrosse coach, purchased a Sig Sauer P226 after seeing Italy enact a nationwide lockdown on March 9.
"[My fiancée and I] came to the conclusion in early March that if a nation like Italy was going into full lockdown, we in the U.S. were likely on the same path," Wilhelm said. "Given that, and knowing that police resources would be stretched to the max, I decided to purchase a handgun."
. . .
"I think a lot of people were afraid of exactly what's happening now," Viden said. "They're afraid if it continues to go on longer, things are going to get worse."
. . .
The fear extended past the disease to how communities would bear the strain of job loss, lockdown orders, and law enforcement policies adopted in the wake of the spread. One Tampa inmate who was released over coronavirus concerns has now been accused of murder, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Brian, a 40-year-old living near Tampa, lost his full-time bartending job in March but was concerned enough about deteriorating public safety that he dipped into his savings to purchase a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.
"My biggest fear is that our local police force comes down with the virus," he said. "If the good guys are all out sick, who is going to stop the bad guys? When people have no hope, they get desperate. And we fear the worst is to come."
More at the link.
You want to know why my friends want me to upgrade their rifles? You want to know why I've been warning about COVID-19 as a threat to personal security, and suggesting ways to keep your shooting skills honed, even during the lockdown? You want to know why I wrote my recent three article series about personal defense rifles? Look no further. To quote a sixties trope, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." As I pointed out a few weeks ago, the grasshoppers are already coming after the ants.
I expect that problem to become exponentially worse during the next two to three months. Other observers are even more pessimistic than I am. (Try this one as an example: "The economy is dead on arrival, the pin to the grenade has already been pulled, the majority of Americans simply don't realize it yet.")
I don't think it's going to be as bad as that, but it's certainly going to be a very difficult few years ahead. I can only hope and pray that the worst expectations and predictions are wrong.