Thursday, November 10, 2016

EXTRA: Life in government goes on

Election Day is past, yet I couldn’t help but get my chuckle from a television spot I saw air Thursday afternoon that desperately urges me to tell my Cook County Board member to vote against the sweetened beverages tax hike.
PRECKWINKLE: She passed the pop tax hike

That’s the one that will raise, by a penny per ounce, the tax charged on carbonated drinks like pop, along with fruit juices and other sweet drinks. All to try to raise some $174.3 million to plug a hole in the county government budget next year

I DON’T DOUBT the earnestness of those who put the spot together, claiming we’re already paying too much for everything in life, and that government ought to – in the favorite cliché of anti-taxers – “live within its means.”

But it was funny because by the time the spot aired, the issue was long over.

The county board heard debate on the issue Thursday morning, putting up with some 80 people who felt the need to express themselves on the calamitous issue of more-expensive pop. Then, they voted to a tie.

Which means that county board President Toni Preckwinkle herself got to break the tie, in her favor of course. Or, as it could also be viewed, she had to put her own neck on the line and publicly take a stance.

I’M SURE SHE would have preferred to have the county board members do the dirty work of passing this. Instead, it’s now on her record. She’s a tax-hiker!

Although her timing, if she had to do this, is good. So many people are p-o’ed about the concept of “President” Donald Trump that Preckwinkle’s actions may well slip past the public consciousness.

I don’t doubt some people will be upset about the cost of their pop can or two-liter bottle going up. A part of me doesn’t blame them.
SCHOCK: Tried to keep low profile in recent months

But we should also realize we no longer have nickel pop bottles of glass, with a refund if you return the bottle unshattered. Things invariably cost more. Even our pop, which if truth must be told we’d probably be better off if we drank less of it.

AND THIS IS coming from a man who believes seriously in the merits of a Coca-Cola every now and then!

The price of pop wasn’t the only issue of concern that came up on Thursday. For Aaron Schock, the one-time boy wonder who was supposed to be on the path to being the next Republican governor of Illinois, has learned a federal grand jury has hit him with 24 criminal charges – numerous counts for using campaign funds to pay for things such as cars, interior decorating of his office and a charter flight for he and friends to see the Chicago Bears play.

Schock has tried to keep a low-profile since resigning from Congress last year. But now, he’s likely to crop up more and more as we figure out if the guy who got himself elected to the Illinois Legislature in his early 20s and worked his way up the political ladder is now going to wind up getting an “Oxford education” – a stint at the minimum-security federal pen in Oxford, Wis.

Or maybe the outrage against Schock, who probably was a bit too flamboyant to “play in Peoria” as he tried to do, will also get drowned out by those who want to commit unmentionable acts upon Trump’s physical being?


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