Senator Don Harmon of Oak Park, Illinois, high in the ranks of the Ruling Party and leader of the Democratic Party of Oak Park, took to the podium at Oak Park’s Carleton Hotel on a day in late June of 2013 for his annual breakfast-event report to the Oak Park Business and Civic Council.
It was time once more to explain things to bankers, business owners and operators, and other issues-aware citizens and taxpayers with varying amounts and shapes of skin in the game, including the joy and satisfaction that arises from the taste and smell of progressive politics.
The state was in turmoil. The two legislative chambers were at odds over a pension solution. The Democrat governor, a one-time gadfly with Oak Park roots, was soon to cut off legislators’ pay checks to goad them to activity.
Harmon was optimistic. He protested “sky [is] falling” rhetoric about the pension problem and praised the legislature for having “cut government to the bone.”
“We can afford” pension payments, he said. “We never missed a payment, we never will.” Here and throughout, pensioners’ worries but not the state’s fiscal problems were at the forefront.
“It’s a budget issue,” he said, to further calm pensioners’ worries. Indeed, the budget just passed, a “pretty good” one, “pays the pension fully” for the coming year.
He joked at one point. Legislators “kind of solved the pension problem with the 2010 reform,” tightening benefits for new hires. “‘Tain’t funny, McGee,” Fibber’s wife Molly used to tell him on the radio. . . . .
Budget that tries to reverse the state’s downward trajectory vs. one that kicks can down road:
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Sunday vowed to veto a House Democratic state budget bill if it gets to his desk, setting up a potential election-year blame game against Speaker Michael Madigan should public schools throughout Illinois fail to open this fall.
Pension debt solution vs. same-old, same-old:
The threat came as Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel ratcheted up their battle over the governor’s Friday veto of a bill that would have created a new funding timetable for Chicago police and fire pensions. Emanuel labeled a city property tax hike that now could be needed to fund pensions a “Rauner tax,” while the governor faulted the mayor for failing to come to Springfield to work for comprehensive reforms.
Businesses vs. unions and trial lawyers:
The spring session is scheduled to end at midnight Tuesday, but Madigan said Sunday that the House would remain in “continuous session” past the deadline — the same term he used at the end of May 2015 when the stalemate started — and disregarded Rauner’s call for a quick grand compromise that included elements of the governor’s pro-business agenda, parts of which would come at the expense of Democratic allies in organized labor and civil liability attorneys
Trouble is, businesses create jobs if given a chance, unions work to raise cost of doing business while taking care of their own, lawyers love high-payout cases in which they profit handsomely.
Guess who helps or hinders economic growth and prosperity.
What to tell people and when to tell them. Keep cards close to the vest:
iii Keep Matters for a Time in Suspense.
Admiration at their novelty heightens the value of your achievements, It is both useless and insipid to play with the cards on the table. If you do not declare yourself immediately, you arouse expectation, especially when the importance of your position makes you the object of general attention.
Mix a little mystery with everything, and the very mystery arouses veneration. And when you explain, be not too explicit, just as you do not expose your inmost thoughts in ordinary intercourse. Cautious silence is the holy of holies of worldly wisdom.
A resolution declared is never highly thought of; it only leaves room for criticism. And if it happens to fail, you are doubly unfortunate. Besides you imitate the Divine way when you cause men to wonder and watch
He published several best-sellers without permission, this one in 1647, and paid for that sin.
Balthasar Gracian [1601-1658], a Jesuit priest, wrote this collection of pithy sayings four centuries ago.
Gracian speaks to the twenty-first century as well as the seventeenth. It’s only a matter of time before someone markets Gracian’s life advice to busy executives, like Sun Tzu or the Book of Five Rings (if it hasn’t been already). . . .
Robbins notes in his introduction that Gracian (1601-1658) in 1657 was “punished by the Jesuits for his consistent failure to obtain formal permission to publish, as required” — not only this “oracle” but a novel and other works.
This included being removed from his teaching post, being publicly reprimanded, and put on a diet of bread and water. He considered leaving the Jesuits for another order, but was rehabilitated and sent to a college, where he died months later.
Begin with this first epigram, from the 1892 translation by Joseph Jacobs.
i Everything is at its Acme;
especially the art of making one’s way in the world. There is more required nowadays to make a single wise man than formerly to make Seven Sages, and more is needed nowadays to deal with a single person than was required with a whole people in former times.
So matters stood in the 17th century, as now in the 21st, when the advice applies as precisely now as when written.
Source: The Art of Worldly Wisdom Index
A “regular people” party?
The most interesting thing Donald Trump has said recently isn’t his taunting of Hillary Clinton, it’s his comment to Bloomberg’s Joshua Green.
Mr. Green writes: “Many politicians, Trump told me, had privately confessed to being amazed that his policies, and his lacerating criticism of party leaders, had proved such potent electoral medicine.”
Mr. Trump seemed to “intuit,” Mr. Green writes, that standard Republican dogma on entitlements and immigration no longer holds sway with large swaths of the party electorate. Mr. Trump says he sees his supporters as part of “a movement.
”What, Mr. Green asked, would the party look like in five years? “Love the question,” Mr. Trump replied. “Five, 10 years from now—different party. You’re going to have a worker’s party. A party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years.”
My impression on reading this was that Mr. Trump is seeing it as a party of regular people, as the Democratic Party was when I was a child and the Republican Party when I was a young woman.
This is the first thing I’ve seen that suggests Mr. Trump is ideologically conscious of what he’s doing. It’s not just ego and orange hair, he suggests, it’s politically intentional.
Knows what he’s doing, that is.
Source: Peggy Noonan, Clinton Embodies Washington’s Decadence – WSJ
Rahm is just mad because someone else believes in not letting a crisis go to waste.
The mayor said in a statement: “With a stroke of his pen, Bruce Rauner just told every Chicago taxpayer to take a hike.”
That said, about wasting a crisis, Rahm has a lot of nerve, getting indignant about this, he being a lover of the blue-state model, whose idea of a crisis is an opening for a new fix-it program.
Thumbnail-sketch case study of standoff fallout:
The budget standoff hit home for Rachel Grainer when Illinois didn’t put up the money it promised seniors under its property tax-deferral program.
Fine. Of course, standoff doesn’t stand alone. It’s ridiculously inflated Democrat budget vs. Republican Gov. objecting to same. So I would like to see something futuristic that illustrates Illinois with budgets like this one.
Somewhere there’s a really smart columnist who can put future flesh and blood out there, online and on paper, to give us an idea of what the Republican governor finds objectionable. I ask you, is it too much to ask?