“Money is no object!”

It must be nice to be able to say that. You hear people say it in the movies, and you know there must be a billionaire here and there in real life who could say it if he wanted to (but probably never does). Still, for most of us, money is an object – a finite object, one you never have enough of, one you can’t afford to light cigars with or toss like confetti from the window of a Bentley.

Of course, if it’s someone else’s money you’re spending, that’s different. Then, it can be no object. That’s how some people act, anyway – particularly, some legislators and judges.

Extravagant retirement benefits for state workers? Great idea! Extravagant unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits? Great idea!

The stupidest idea in the world can seem like a great idea when you know you won’t get the bill for it. Someone else will get the bill, however, and eventually get tired of being dunned for stupid ideas.

If he’s an ordinary taxpayer, he may pick up and move to a state with saner legislators. If he’s a businessman, he may pick up and move and take his business, his jobs, and his corporate taxes with him.

Last month, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce released a report arguing that workers’ compensation rulings have contributed to our state’s economic decline. It cited several cases that expanded employer liability, i.e., raised the cost of doing business in Illinois.

One case involved a policeman compensated for trauma induced by a toy gun. Another involved a maid who slipped and fell in her driveway. A third concerned an employee injured while pounding a vending machine that reneged on a snack purchase.

The Chamber concludes, quite sensibly, that “Illinois business owners, public officials, and voters need to be aware of these key decisions and their deleterious impacts on job creation and retention opportunities.”

This money-is-no-object approach has to stop.

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