Thursday, April 16, 2020

Illinois Governor Slug Pritzker Pretends To Not Understand The Golden Rule


thehill |  Another sudden and unexpected factor will transform this year’s elections. Many states, cities and counties are about to, suddenly, run out of money. Wages won’t be paid. Services won’t be delivered. Institutions will shut down abruptly. Many state colleges may fold. And yet most state and local political and administrative leaders just sit and watch. Voters will not be pleased.

Millions of American workers filed for unemployment insurance during the past two weeks. That is a record and represents a collapse of our local economies. Across the country, in every state, county and city, businesses have been shut down, and many will not return after the coronavirus crisis is over. Tens of millions have lost jobs, homes, savings and retirement incomes that will never return. Owners of rental property will go under when their loan payments come due and renters can’t pay. Across the country, state and local economies are being badly damaged — many of them permanently.

The result is that state and local tax revenues will plummet. States and localities will burn through any reserves they’ve maintained like wildfire. Since most of our politicians and government managers have been raised during a decade of expanding economies, their first instinct will be to wait and then panic and then raise taxes to cover shortfalls — perhaps a special “coronavirus surtax.” Taxpayers across the country have tolerated various forms of high state and local taxes; the politicians would naturally ask, “Why should now be any different?” 

But it is different. The resulting increased tax burden would be a disaster. Businesses that were barely hanging on would go under. Workers and homeowners who were barely surviving would go under. State and local tax bases would collapse even faster. There would be social unrest, possibly requiring martial law. People would migrate from high-tax states toward new jobs, accelerating a downward spiral. These large migrations would make the 2020 census results nonsense.

The only answer for the states, counties and cities that want to survive is to slash budgets now — probably 30 to 50 percent — eliminate all nonessential spending and reduce taxes today. Business leaders know that, in these types of situations, the only way to save a company is to cut costs immediately. There is no other answer, and those who act first and most aggressively are the most successful in saving the company and the greatest number of its employees. In short, “fiscal distancing” — that is, separating politicians from taxpayers’ money by cutting budgets and taxes now — is literally the only useful thing that state and local governments can do to prevent further economic and social catastrophe.