Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Rauner, Trump have one thing in common, both play scapegoat game

On a serious note, Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to meet with the leaders of the Illinois General Assembly on Thursday so as to discuss what will happen during the remaining portion of the legislature’s spring session that ends May 31.

Does Rauner really believe his pot-shots ...
Those meetings are supposed to include Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and state Senate President John Cullerton, both D-Chicago. Which is supposed to give the impression that everybody’s being serious about government activity.

YET HOW SERIOUS can we think anybody s being when, in announcing the bipartisan political meetings, Rauner also goes out of his way to take pot shots at his political opposition?

“This election is about the people uniting against a corrupt machine of self-dealing, unethical behavior, insider transactions, higher taxes that benefit a few against the people,” the governor told reporter-type people on Monday.

This comes as the governor sent out an Internet survey (which I happened to receive in my e-mail as I was writing this commentary), asking me if I support “roll(ing) back Mike Madigan’s 32 percent income tax hike.”

Which is about as loaded a question as one can ask, since the increase being referred to was the one that boosted the state’s personal income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 5 percent. It could raise nearly one-third more money, but it is not a 32 percent hike (it’s about a 1.25 percent increase).

... of Monday will be received well by ...
NOT THAT I’M at all “shocked, shocked” Rauner would engage in making such politically-partisan cheap shots. “Blaming” Madigan is what the governor has been doing throughout his gubernatorial term. Why should anything change now?

But you have to admit it takes a certain amount of nerve to so blatantly lambast the guy you’re talking about wanting to meet with to have serious talks about government activity.

It may be as tacky as the behavior of President Donald J. Trump a few months ago when he complained about Mexico and its governments open refusal to even consider footing the bill for that silly barricade along the U.S./Mexico border that Trump keeps claiming is the key to national security.

... Madigan and Cullerton on Thursday?
Trump has said that because he has made so many political promises to his backers on this issue, he needs to have the wall and Mexico has no business opposing him on the issue.

AN ARROGANT ATTITUDE to have, and one that is similar to Rauner thinking he can repeatedly bash about Madigan and the Democratic caucus he controls in the state Legislature because they don’t blindly follow his political whims.

The governor may say repeatedly they are “reforms,” but many of them are anti-union measures meant to undermine the influence of organized labor within state government – and they were measures that no self-respecting government official with Democratic Party leanings was ever going to support.

All of which makes me think Rauner fully intends to finish out his current term in office with the same inactivity that dominated his time in office.

It was during The Rauner Years that we got just over two straight years with the state operating without a balanced budget – which interfered with government’s ability to pay bills and conduct its business and made the state’s financial problems as severe as they currently are.

COME JULY 1 (the beginning of the state’s 2019 fiscal year), we’re likely to go back to no budget; which most likely will run through the Nov. 6 general election and the rest of this calendar year.

Is Rauner more similar to Trump than he admits?
We have a governor who’s willing to play partisan politics and behave in a reckless manner with the state’s finances because the political opponents won’t blindly go along with his own partisan goals.

I’m sure the conservative ideologues of Illinois will want to disregard this – they’ll want to think they took down Rauner single-handedly because he won’t back their out-of-touch-with-many-people views on issues such as abortion and immigration.

But the reality is that it will be Rauner’s desire to put his anti-union ideology ahead of the daily workings of government that causes the majority to turn out come Election Day and cast ballots against Bruce. Because it’s time we remember the old cliché about government being “the people’s business” – which hasn’t, by and large, been getting done in recent years.


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