Thanks heaven for the 50 states. If it weren’t for them, there would be no method at all for winnowing out stupid policies. Caterpillar’s CEO has started to make it known that other states are vying for the Peoria-based company. Who can blame them? Illinois has consistently demonstrated its contempt for business in the last few years, sliding seven places in business climate favorability and continuing to make it difficult for businesses to move into the state.
The alarm has gone off, but Governor Quinn and the state legislature are still asleep. Economic recovery depends on producing economic value. Politicians and bureaucrats do not do that. Companies do. The more companies conclude that Illinois does not look like a good place to call home, the more they will pull up stakes and head to places that still have a measure of fiscal sanity.
Worse than the present fiscal crisis is the one breathing down our necks. Illinois ranks at or near the bottom of states in terms of its unfunded pension obligations. Wisconsin is going to look like a beach party when citizens of this state are asked to pony up for the years of false promises. Piled on top of a likely mass business exodus, we will look like depressed lemmings* headed for the nearest cliff.
* Lemmings do not actually commit mass suicide, nor have any ever been clinically diagnosed with depression. Other misconceptions include that they fall from the sky. Nonetheless, the lemming metaphor continues to be apt for situations in which the mindless follow the clueless to a gruesome end.