Better days ahead?

Better days ahead?

Well, at least the economy is not going backward.

The staggering United States economy continues to stagger forward, making marginal progress amid speculation that a stronger advance is just around the corner.

That's the conclusion among economists following the release of unemployment figures last week by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Labor Department reported that the economy added 175,000 jobs (good news) while the unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.7 percent (bad news) amid general speculations that the approaching end of cold weather and the beginning of warm weather will thaw out consumers' wallets.

Capital Economics economist Paul Dales predict that employment growth will accelerate "once the weather returns to seasonal norms."

Keep your fingers crossed on that one, because the U.S. economy needs more people working, not only providing for themselves and their families but paying taxes to cash-strapped local, state and federal governments.

While the national economy continues a weak recovery in the aftermath of the Great Recession, Illinois' economic state remains in the doldrums.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security won't report the state's February unemployment numbers until March 20. But it reported last month that Illinois' unemployment rate of 8.7 percent remains well above the national rate, roughly one-third higher.

There is no good reason for Illinois — a modern state with a solid work force and first-rate transportation network — to rank among the worst states in the terms of economic performance. But there are reasons, most of them related to its reputation as a lousy place to do business because of issues with regulations, taxes and government corruption.

Voters will have a chance to do something about that in the March 18 primary election and the November general election, and they ought to take advantage of the opportunity. Illinois' unemployment numbers provide ample evidence of how the political elite has failed the people of Illinois.

The consequences of that failure have been devastating. Not only are too many Illinoisans not working, too many Illinoisans are searching for greener pastures in other states

It will, of course, take time to make the changes needed to turn Illinois into a magnet for business development. In the meantime, all people here can do is hope that the optimists are correct in their assessment that better weather will bring better days and that our national economic engine will soon be hitting on all cylinders.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on March 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Whatever the outcome of the elections; Illinois could throw out all of it's regulations and require no taxes, but the government corruption will remain.

The Civic Federation of which Bruce Rauner is board member recently advised the Illinois Legislature to enact a law taxing retirement benefits.  The elderly's social security, 401ks, and pensions would be taxed as retirement income is taxed by the IRS.  People who are not retired may think that is a good idea; but they must think that they will never become old.

Why would a billionaire like Rauner who made over fifty million dollars last year want to be governor?  Why would someone with that wealth made on handling fees for 401k accounts, and pensions want the public employees pensions coverted to 401ks?  Why would he sit on the Board of Directors of the Civic Federation which is a known corporate propaganda front?  By the way, the Civic Federation declares itself as a "non-profit" organization to avoid paying taxes.

Whether it is Quinn, or Rauner be assured that Illinois government corruption will remain.  All of the corporate tax breaks, and loosening of regulations can occur; but until the federal government steps in, the corruption will remain.

EdRyan wrote on March 10, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Indiana taxes retirement benefits but I don't see a surge of retired people streaming into Illinois to reap the benefits.  Most states with a state income tax do tax retirement benefits.  Not taxing the retirement income is just more pandering by corrupt Illinois politicians.  Old people vote, so why not shift the burden to the under 65 crowd and harvest those votes.

Actually it isn't age limited.  If you have income that is reported on a 1099-R at the end of the year and you're under 65 it still isn't taxed.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 11, 2014 at 11:03 am

The next time you visit your elderly relatives, please tell them your opinion on taxing their social security, 401k, or pension while corporations get tax breaks. 

The fixed income elderly pay their property taxes, and all additional taxes with the exception of the state income tax which they paid for years before retirement.  If the "corrupt Illinois politicians" wanted to be popular with the fixed income retirees, they would pass legislation stating that retirees would pay the state income tax after the year 2018.  That would gain the old folks vote in this election; and keep them hanging on for the next election.

Time passes quickly.  If your lucky, some day you will be old.