The Onion On State Government

Recently I received a proposed amendment to the Illinois State Constitution in the mail. The purpose of the amendment is to require a 3/5 majority before pension increases can be passed for state employees.

In short, the amendment to the constitution is required because our elected representatives refuse to do any basic “governing”. Illinois recently implemented a massive tax increase (after all, that’s what “Blue State” governors usually do when they must choose between cutting state expenditures and raising revenues) on the revenue side of the ledger but kicked the can for the umpteenth year in a row for SERIOUS reform of our pension crisis in Illinois.

It made me reflect on the giant overhead and general incompetence of our state’s government. We have a state senate, house, a governor, and an amazing array of local authorities. According to this article, Illinois leads the nation in governmental entities, with almost 7000 of them.

On the other hand, the Onion summarized state and local government with a brilliant and pithy line.

Alabama State Constitution changed to “Roll Tide”.

Perhaps Illinois should do something simpler and just change our state constitution to the famous line

We don’t want nobody nobody sent

Cross posted at LITGM

6 thoughts on “The Onion On State Government”

  1. Interesting they did not propose the 2/3rd supermajority that is the bane of every tax loving liberal here in California. I shudder to think how taxes would be if the left didn’t have such a high hurdle to raise taxes.

  2. Well, in the South, University Football almost is the State so changing the constitution to the local battle cry might save time and ink.

    It is interesting to compare north and south in their historical attitudes towards socialism. Most people don’t know that after the Civil War, the Southern states fairly rapidly slipped into “populism” which is just socialism without the intellectual rationalization. Arguably, the south went way farther left in terms of economic intervention, regulation and redistributionism. The entire political dynamic was built around protecting poor and working class whites from economic competition from African-Americans and the depredations of the rich, especially those from out of state.

    Segregation was in many ways simply a color coded extension of an extremely hierarchal social structure. The deep south looked more like central or eastern Europe than it did the rest of America. Even if white, to get anything done, you had to be from the right social strata and have the right connections. The meritocracy and class mobility of the industrial north or the frontier west simply didn’t exist. This made the south fertile ground for socialistic ideas. Most white southerners simply saw popularism and government intervention as a means of connecting up the average person and giving them the same advantages that the rich had.

    It’s of note that the same shift began to occur in the North with the mass immigration of Irish, South Italian and Eastern Europeans. All came from oppressed peasant cultures with no meritocracy and no class mobility. They displaced the yeoman farmers, middle-class informational workers and small business people who had been the bedrock of Northern Republican politics even in the Civil War. The great 20-30 year dominance of the Democrats mid-century began with the wielding together of Northern peasant immigrants and lower class southern whites.

    It was breaking of the populist model in beginning the mid-60s that brought about both the end of segregation and the economic renaissance of the much of the South. Ironically, the expansion of Federal welfare programs made them to expensive for southern states and they started thinning them out. As poor whites got less from the State, they stopped supporting the populist agenda including segregation. In oil states like Texas and Louisiana, the end of the “energy crisis” destroyed the last vestiges of socialism because they just ran out of money.

    Today, Southern states are poor and backward in direct proportion to high far they’ve moved away from the old populist model. Arkansas is arguable the most socialist with bizarre degrees of regulation e.g. state regulators only allow one health insurance company to operate.

    I think what happened in the 60s is that the urban North and South swapped places. Most of the South became increasingly economically free while the North slid into socialist stagnation. It probably didn’t help that the mass migration of African-Americans carried with them the populist ideas which merged with the existing socialist streak of the immigrants from Europe. When you look at the politics of Detriot or Chicago, they look very similar to old school Southern politics complete with all the racism. They’ve just swapped colors. You’ve got to be the right sort and have the right kind of connections to get anything done. Merit means less and less and class mobility is stagnating.

    Unfortunately, it looks like it might be harder for the new North to shed populism than it was for the old South. Everything is larger scale, more diverse and complex. On the other hand, perhaps the unions, regulation and the welfare state will strangle themselves just like popularism did in the South.

  3. Mordere illa, qua te prodit.

    Interesting how people think the corrupt will reform themselves out of a job. Even Gorby wasn’t trying to do that, he was trying to make the USSR more competitive.

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