Oh Budget, Where Art Thou?

[Submitted/published State Journal-Register]

“Damn! We’re in a tight spot!”

You can’t put it much better than Ulysses Everett McGill summing up his predicament in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”  It’s also a perfect synopsis of our state as Moody’s announced the downgrading of Illinois’ bond rating.

Moody’s and other agencies were the geniuses issuing top-notch ratings for all those derivatives and mortgage paper a few years back.  As it all imploded.  Six months or so later, they downgraded all that paper.  They’ve also just downgraded Greece — they’re not sure borrowing trillions to fix the problems caused by borrowing billions will work.  Now they tell us.

Any day I expect them to issue a report that Michael Jackson better start watching his meds or there could be severe health consequences.  My point being, if Moody’s is saying you’re not looking good, there’s no point calling a doctor.  You should just call the undertaker to make arrangements and save your loved ones the trouble.

What none of the throng of nice, hard-working tax supported groups (state workers, pensioners, schools, not-for-profits, et al) seem to be able to grasp is that the state is absolutely not broke.  It would require 50 billion dollars to attain broke.  What the state is is bankrupt.  It’s like stupid – there’s not a cure, it’s a state of being.

Unfortunately, they’ve all unwittingly made a deal with the devil over the last couple of decades.  They’d elect politicians who promised “free” money.  In return, they wouldn’t have to raise their own money for worthy causes, or wonder how the state could pay one retiree for every couple that were working, or keep hiring when the entire economy is tanking.  Until “later.”

It’s “later.”  The devil is calling.  He doesn’t take plastic.

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