Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The system isn't broken, It's fixed

By Dan Proft | May 2, 2009

Illinois state government isn't broken, it's fixed.

"Since 2002, even before he was first elected governor that November, and continuing until he was arrested on Dec. 9, 2008, former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and a circle of his closest aides and advisors allegedly engaged in a wide-ranging scheme to deprive the people of Illinois of honest government."

That is the first sentence from the U.S. Attorney's Office press release announcing Blagojevich's indictment.

If this is true, then by definition his six years as Governor were a fraud perpetrated on the residents of Illinois.

That is essentially what the General Assembly also determined with their impeachment and conviction of Blagojevich.

And yet, on the policy side, there has been little reckoning.

Despite the sweeping nature of the scams alleged, state legislators are not talking about turning back the clock and reducing the size of state government back to 2002 levels. They are looking to raise taxes to finance the very government largesse they deemed improper.

This system isn't broken, it's fixed.

For example, Blagojevich illicitly doubled the number of Illinoisans eligible for state Medicaid coverage. Blagojevich is gone but the benefit is not.

When I asked a Republican legislator friend of mine why the unauthorized expansion of Medicaid has not been rolled back he said, "Who's going to do it?"

Clearly no one in Springfield. Once a benefit has been conferred, even wrongly and even to a group of folks to whom the benefit was never intended, the Springfield political class would rather live with their hypocrisy than risk any political capital to do right.

This system isn't broken, it's fixed.

It is for the same reason that no one wants to defend the performance of the Chicago Public School system and yet no one wants to change it. To illustrate, there is general agreement that charter schools have been a positive innovation. And yet the number of charter schools in Chicago has been capped for the better part of this decade.

This system isn't broken, it's fixed.

The nine Chicago Democrats ("Chicago 9") who run Illinois are many things, but dumb is not one of them. The systems you think don't work are in fact working as intended and, actually, quite well. They are intended to sustain or advance the political careers of those in charge.

And so we don't need to fix Illinois, we need to un-fix Illinois.

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