Paycheck politics

Paycheck politics

Illinois' governor wants voters to know he helps those "who don't have big-shot friends."

Facing a tough re-election campaign, Gov. Pat Quinn is falling back on his well-deserved reputation as the populist defender of the little guy.

First, he announced that he's withholding legislators' paychecks until they pass pension reform.

Then he started denouncing William Daley, his opponent in the March 2014 Democratic Party primary, as just another rich out-of-touch banker who helped push the economy into a brutal recession in 2008-09.

Most recently, Quinn has announced that he's renewing his push to increase in Illinois' minimum wage to $10 an hour.

"It's a principle as old as the Bible. If you work 40 hours a week, you should not live in poverty," said Quinn.

That claim may come as a surprise to those who were not aware the Bible expresses an official position on the minimum wage. But it's no surprise that Quinn has fallen back on his official political religion — appealing to popular resentments — as the election season approaches.

Quinn pushed similar legislation earlier this year, urging a minimum wage hike in his State of the State address. The proposal, however, drew vehement opposition and ultimately got lost in the shuffle as legislators wrestled with a series of budget, debt and public pension problems.

Proposals to raise the minimum wage have a surface appeal that's hard to deny. For starters, it's always easier to spend someone else's money.

But here's a few things to remember:

— At $8.25 an hour, Illinois' minimum wage is among the highest in the nation.

— If you want less of something, increase its cost.

— Illinois currently has an unacceptably high 9.2 percent unemployment rate and a reputation as a state with a hostile business climate.

Some, of course, would benefit if the minimum wage is increased in stages from $8.25 to $10 an hour. But others would suffer — both in the form of current entry-level jobs lost and new entry-level jobs not created.

Quinn's plan to raise the minimum wage may be an effective vote-getter. But it's bad economic policy that will put this state even farther behind the eight ball than it is now.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on August 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

Bottom line is that Quinn is just another corrupt "reformer" governor in a long line of previous corrupt "reformer" governors, and wantabee governors.  Nothing changes except the names.  Illinois politics is corrupt.  How can it be changed?  Not through the ballot box.

When the people have no legal recourse to end thievery, they must do it in another manner.  

sweet caroline wrote on August 26, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Excellent points, Sid.  But what do you propose we do about it if not use the ballot box?

Sid Saltfork wrote on August 28, 2013 at 10:08 am

It is not up to me to decide alternatives to the ballot box.  People are returning to work at less than they were earning before the financial disaster.  They are returning to jobs with no benefits such as insurance.  The homeless problem is ignored.  Homes are still being foreclosed on.  More children are going to sleep hungry.  America is divided between economic classes more, and more.  The working poor,  the wealthy, and the poor.  The middle class is rapidly disappearing.

While all of this is happening; the legislators, and the governor keep giving out corporate tax breaks for "campaign donations".  Only a fool would say that there is no corruption in Illinois politics, and national politics.  Right now; it is public employees, and retirees who are having their earned pensions stolen for more money to be given to those who do not need it, and did not earn it.  The problems with support for education, etc. will not be solved thru the theft.  It will only allow for more money to be given out for "campaign donations".  When the people get hungry enough, and have no hope for a better future; they will decide the alternative to the ballot box.  It will start with one incident, and multiply rapidly to a movement.

The sooner it happens; the sooner morality, legality, and economic balance will occur. 

Sweet Caroline; what is your alternative to ending the corruption?    

sweet caroline wrote on August 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I don't have an alternative, Sid.  I agree with you.