By: Mark Glennon*
Regulars here may have noticed there hasn’t been much to read in the last couple weeks. The reason should tell you something — something discouraging, which I’m sure is just what you want to hear.
We aggregate the best stories we can find about the role of governance in Illinois’ economy, with a particular focus on our state and local fiscal crises. But we try to avoid politics, which is usually rather different. We haven’t found much lately.
Attention has properly turned towards the election, and what has that meant? Is there any contest for any Illinois office where governance and our fiscal crises are being seriously discussed? Not that I’ve seen. Maybe I’ve missed a local race or two outside of my area, but I’ve found no candidate in either party even describe, much less try to address, the hard facts and terrifying numbers that comprise our death spiral.
Has even one candidate seriously discussed pensions, which are the lion’s share of our problem, or proposed a solution? None.
The press is happy to oblige. They are mostly political reporters, and politics are indeed an important topic to cover. But many of them are also just stenographers. It’s easy to write a juicy story if you just regurgitate each side’s spin. Ultimately, however, the public gets most of the blame. Candidates say and reporters cover what people want to hear.
It’s better in the races for federal offices from Illinois where at least some races are focused on national issues, and a number of good articles have analyzed the so-called Safe Roads ballot amendment. For other Illinois issues, however, this election has added exactly zero the public’s understanding.
For America, today is the most consequential day since World War II (though it’s hard to say what all the consequences will be, regardless of who wins). For Illinois, maybe one side or the other will pick up a few seats in the General Assembly and the outcome of the Comptroller’s race is very important for the reasons we wrote earlier. Madigan’s supermajority may be lost, but it’s not solid now anyway. Beyond that, this election has been a colossal waste of time, attention and money.
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.