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Illinois Politics--Why It's Time to Rebuild
One thing Illinois sports fans are familiar with is the concept of rebuilding. Whether it's the Cubs, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, the Bears or the Bulls, chances are, somewhere in your lifetime you've seen your team hit rock bottom and need to start over from scratch. That's pretty much where the whole state of Illinois is now.
Again, any fan of a Chicago sports team is famiiar with this feeling. All the other teams (states) are ahead of you in the standngs. You're behind in every statistical category that matters (unemployment, education). Your players are not very good or they're in the wrong positions. Your management has spent money poorly, leaving the team deep in debt and over the salary cap. You can't lure new players (businesses) because you aren't offering enough money, enough prestige or enough chance for success. Your coach (the government) is either too old, too stubborn or too incompetent to turn things around.
Let's look at the stats. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Illinois is ranked 34th in unemployment (with the higher ranked states having lower unemployment). That's the lower half of the country, not high enough to make the playoffs in any sport. The American Legislative Exchange Council ranks Illinois 30th in education with a grade of C, hardly what you would expect from the state that houses America's "Second City" of Chicago.
In terms of money, Illinois is famous for corruption and graft (just ask any of their incarcerated former governors), so it probably shouldn't be a shock that their pension system is about to explode and the state carries higher debt than all but six other states in the country. It's not from lack of taxes. With some areas in the state featuring sales taxes of 10 percent or more, some of the highest real estate taxes in the country, and, according to the Tax Foundation, the 4th highest corporate tax in the country, the tax money is definitely rolling in...to somebody. Boy, it just makes you want to move your successful business to Illinois, doesn't it?
So, how do you rebuild a state? A sports team would unload their manager and their expensive players who are doing no good and replace them with relatively inexperienced minor leaguers with big potential. That's probably the only solution for Illinois. Get rid of the bloated existing regime and bring in some new players. From the dog catcher to the governor (especially the governor), it's time for 100 percent turnover. Are Ilinois residents smart enough and involved enough to demand such a rebuild on election day? I guess we'll find out, but you deserve what you tolerate.