After a series of trips in May and June home, and elsewhere, I am finally posting the opinion pieces from those months on this blog. I apologize for the delay and I know that these will definitely come as mostly “late” on their topics to people. However, they were printed in a time appropriate for them, so read them, if nothing else, for as least the consistency of my ideas. I used the family portrait as I made a lot of familial visits during these months.
Opinion Piece from May 11th, titled “Why the French Election Was Like Our Own”:
On paper, Marine Le Pen is rhetorically similar to Donald Trump, and for Emmanuel Macron, his indecisiveness is only bested by Hillary Clinton. Yet when you actually look at the French elections from the French perspective, it is Macron who is the politically castigated outsider without experience and Le Pen who has the years of political experience but a dull personality to carry it forward. By the measurement of their policies, Marine Le Pen has much in common with Nigel Farage and Stephen Bannon, a political leader in Donald Trump’s cabinet. But the reality is that French politics is weird compared to our own, or when we look at British politics.
For instance, there were a set of hacks that occurred in the last week of the election, and Le Pen supporters claimed the hacks would prove Macron irresponsible, dangerous and a degenerate. These hacks had a similar sound to them as to the false intelligence report about Donald Trump that came out days before the election and claimed the Russians were blackmailing him with sensually disgusting materials. Regardless of how you feel about Donald Trump, the fake report was a disgraceful attempt to swing the election from him. However, in France those hacks never mattered. The French government retains the right to deny the liberty of free press during the election season and arrest journalists who print materials that could potentially swing the election unnaturally.
Additionally in France, Socialism was and is not a political boogeyman. While Americans hounded Bernie and his supporters for Socialism and Soviet sympathies, in France that is not the same. In fact, on paper Marine Le Pen was arguing for much of Bernie Sander’s political platform. Higher wages, reduction of French dependence on foreign businesses, increased jobs in France in manufacturing and production sectors, healthcare and welfare reforms, and much more. The government being the hand that provides is the political norm in France, and Marine Le Pen as much as she was anti-European Union and anti-NATO, was not the Right-Wing paragon many see as Reagan, nor the political “Molotov cocktail” many saw in Donald Trump.
So in Marine Le Pen we have the old Establishment, trying to rebrand itself as something new and hip, trying to keep control of the country. In Marcon, you had a man who was willing to say the hard things, like “France doesn’t win anymore” and “it is hard to stop the trend of businesses leaving French soil for foreign lands”. Maybe he didn’t make promises that sounded vague all the time, but both Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron gave those who had talks with them, the average voter, the everyday citizen, the impression that they cared and that they were listening.
And this is why the French election has continued the trend started in Britain with Brexit, then continued through Donald Trump winning the American Presidency, and now continues through Macron winning the French Presidency. Political outsiders and unexpected voices are coming to power. If Nationalism was going to win on Sunday May 7th and Le Pen was going to have won, then Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom Independence Party would be Prime Minister, not Theresa May. If Nationalism was the voice of the day and not political rebirth, then Colonel Allen B. West would be the 45th President of the United States. But Nationalism is not the only wind in the political storm right now and it’s really easy to get “Political Change” confused with “Political Revolution”.
Clearly a lot of people on the Right had thought the winds were about revolution, as the same can be seen by those on the Left. There were protests demanding the end of the French Republic by Far-Leftist protesters after Macron won. They’ve acted at times like the protesters did in response to Trump winning. But right now, Western voters aren’t thinking ideological. They are just thinking about feeding their families, earning money to keep their homes, and how they can pay to keep the lights on and the gas running. That isn’t ideological, that’s just survival. And part of survival is knowing when to tear something down, and when to rebuild it. Much like with Brexit and Trump’s election, on May 7th, French voters decided to tear down the old French system and try a new political system. One where they don’t rely on the same two parties to give them their needs.
I’ve based a lot of my political predictions these last couple of years on life in Saint Joseph. I am convinced that you can know more about how people are going to vote by what they do: what groceries they buy, what bills they pay and what conversations they have at dinner rather than what some experts think people think.
May 18th, “The Diplomatic Strategy on ISIS”
This week, you may have seen two major events being reported in the media, not for the action themselves, but the perception of those actions by allies, and political supporters or critics of the administration. The first action was the arming of Kurdish fighters in the fight against ISIS directly, in Syria. The other major decision was to make a $100 Billion deal with Saudi Arabia on buying arms and defensive capabilities. How these two come together, I think, should illustrate that the President is 1) listening to top military advisers on how to overcome ISIS, but 2) show that the President is not simply choosing to bomb ISIS, he is trying to eliminate ISIS for good.
In regards to the Kurds, they are an ethnic population in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey with a history of being stuck unfortunately between the Arabs, the Iranians, and the Turks. Never having a real country to call their own, they have historically been exchanged along with the lands they live on, in border wars since the 1100s. During the Syrian Civil War, the Kurds came into prominence as a military faction supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces, but also pursuing their own goal of an autonomous, if not independent, Kurdish state. In the War against ISIS, the Kurds in Northern Syria have proven to be the best fighters against the barbaric scourge, mostly because Kurds are portrayed as ethnic, religious, and linguistic heathens. For them, ISIS is a threat to their very lives and beliefs.
However, the arming of the Kurds has long been a protested action by the Turkish government of Erdogan. In Turkey, a Marxist-Leninist Kurdish terrorist group, known as the PKK, uses suicide bombs in efforts to cause the collapse of the country. Because of these specific Kurds, the Turks have an overarching negative view of all Kurds. In addition, the politics of the Kurds in Syria are very similar to the Kurds in Turkey. This has left an impression in many Turkish minds that the two are part of one larger organization. In either case, the reason we are arming the Syrian Kurds is because they are the largest fighting force in Syria that isn’t Assad or ISIS, and they have shown a willingness to accept conditions for our support. They have created an umbrella entity, the Syrian Defense Forces, for the sole purpose of showing they are not a purely ethnic-cultural fighting force. This image of a united front against ISIS is important for winning on-the-ground battles, but also convincing allied nations that we are pressing forward.
As for Saudi Arabia, this is not only about negotiating the influence of Arab nations in the coalition against ISIS, but also negotiating the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Thanks to the Iran Nuclear Deal giving a roadmap to nuclear armament for Iran, hostility is at an all-time high in the region. The Saudi Kingdom and other Arab nations have been looking for ways to earn American protection or support. In exchange for the US selling weapons and capabilities to the Saudis to defend against missile attacks and naval threats, all of the armament sold must be made in the US. All of the capabilities will be made by American factories, insinuating that American workers will benefit from the purchase and the work will aid the economy. The politics of the deal aside, the diplomatic effect of selling the Saudis arms provides a confirmation that policy in the Middle East has changed.
While the purchase by Saudi Arabia will supposedly not surpass the military advantage the Israelis possess over all the other states in the region, the move shows that the President recognizes the significance Saudi Arabia plays in Islam, and in the war against ISIS. In addition to the armament purchase, licenses and contracts have been pushing into Saudi Arabia from America as well. With an America focused on keeping the Status Quo in the Middle East again, businesses are seeking to make investments into allied states that are essential for keeping this status quo.
On the battlefield of ISIS though, the morale boost of having Saudi cooperation is significant for keeping ISIS’ propaganda from taking root in Iraq and Syria. Foreign fighters have been a significant problem in dealing with ISIS, and having Saudi support can delegitimize ISIS. Rather than worrying if the coalition is fraying because of a Nuclear Deal, Trump’s commitments promise that a conclusion can be achieved in rooting out ISIS. ISIS has long relied on Islamic and ethnic divisions to keep recruitment coming. ISIS prospers when it can claim Muslim nations do not oppose it. Trump’s actions set the stage to reverse that perception.
May 25th, “Speak Softly in Riyadh”
On Sunday, May 21st, President Donald Trump gave a speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This being the first international visit of the new President of the United States, this trip is historic because no President prior to Trump has chosen to go to Saudi Arabia first when it comes to their first trip abroad. Many assume the intent of Donald Trump’s visit is to accomplish several things: First, repair the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US after the Iran Nuclear Deal; Second, create military and business agreements that generates jobs and economic power for America; Third, reconfirm the commitment to eliminate ISIS and garner Arab and Islamic support against ISIS.
Within the opening parts of Trump’s speech, President Trump confirmed that Riyadh and DC had made agreements to stimulate the American economy. “We signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.” In addition to giving a speech before King Salman of Saudi Arabia, President Trump was giving a speech before the various Sunni Muslim leaders of the world, from Algeria to Afghanistan. While paying respect to the various other Muslim leaders in the room, President Trump announced that the Saudis and the Americans would be creating a new institution in the war against ISIS and Islamic Extremism. Known as the “Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology”, the institution will be located in Riyadh and combat ISIS and other radical Islamic extremists and terrorists online.
The next portion of Trump’s address to the Sunni Muslim leaders was about declaring that America was not interventionist with its social values, but rather America is seeking to preserve stability and order. “America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.” That being said, the President made it clear that he does not see a difference between men and women, boys and girls, in terms of what opportunities they have. “Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred. And young Muslim men and women should have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their peoples.” In a nation known to oppress women daily and physically harm homosexuals, Donald Trump made it clear that violence against ordinary citizens will not be respected. He outright declared that barbarism to a host of leaders whose nations allow such barbarity.
You may know that Saudi Arabia has long standing issue with Israel, but also Judaism at large and even Christians. Donald Trump again did not mince words. “When we see the scenes of destruction in the wake of terror, we see no signs that those murdered were Jewish or Christian, Shia or Sunni. When we look upon the streams of innocent blood soaked into the ancient ground, we cannot see the faith or sect or tribe of the victims.” He added, “Muslim nations must be willing to take on the burden, if we are going to defeat terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion. That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.”
After declaring in front of the Muslim assembly that this is a fight against Islamist extremism (Islamist is a word used to state someone follows a radical Islamic ideology), President Trump turned to Iran and marked in the mud a clear line. Iran as it is now, is a state sponsor of terrorism and his administration does not see the Ayatollah in Iran as anything other than a tyrant. “Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.”
At the end, the President asked some lingering questions: “Will we be indifferent in the presence of evil? Will we protect our citizens from its violent ideology?” However, it is clear from President Trump’s trip to Riyadh today that he will not tolerate such a violent ideology. Some have compared Trump’s speeches to past Presidents, but today Donald Trump was in command. He wasn’t coming to get approval or grandstand, he was coming to take charge and establish the American position once again. When the Muslim leaders clapped for Trump, he did not look nervous, but rather presidential.
June 1st’s opinion piece, “Congressional Migraine”
I was inspired by a sermon I heard this week; the sermon was on what we stand for, not what we are against. Rather than write about foreign policy like I usually do, I thought I would talk about something different. What do we, as in me and my fellow Republicans, actually stand for? It’s often made as a declarative statement before a big speech by candidates and politicians, but sincerely, what ideas FOR society and FOR our nation are we in agreement with? I’m sure we can come up with many ideas we oppose, and right there is the problem. A viable opposition, or a viable political movement is one that can say it has ideas it stands for, not just ideas it opposes. Why are Congressional Republicans refusing to actually repeal Obamacare? Because once Obamacare is repealed, what binds all of the various GOP caucuses to work together?
This has been the conundrum of the last 8 years prior to the election of Donald Trump. It always seemed like the Congressional Republicans were never willing to move against Obamacare. Think about how those Republican politicians personally campaigned in the last election. Most swore to repeal and replace Obamacare, tear up the Iran Nuclear Deal, eliminate wasteful spending, and fight the growing bureaucracy of DC. Thinking on those negative promises, promises to oppose the Democrats, the GOP has yet to successfully and cleanly do any of these. In reality, the Congressional Republicans have done much to prevent Donald Trump from carrying out his promises. Why? Because if he were to succeed in implementing any of these changes, the power of Congressional leadership would diminish. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan would no longer be able to demand allegiance of the various GOP factions.
I should try and explain why Trump isn’t part of this problem, even though he made similar opposition promises. First, Donald Trump was not a politician prior to this year. His need to be re-elected did not yet exist. Second, he ran on positive platform ideas. For example, he promised to bring jobs back to America, to cut taxes, to reduce the turnover of politicians into lobbyists, to renegotiate trade deals with various nations, to let the generals loose in defeating ISIS. These promises are not just about saying “I’ve hit the goal post and now I’m done.” These are promises that imply a constant uphill climb to better all Americans. Third, the biggest difference with Donald Trump’s positive campaign promises was that there wasn’t one political party at fault for the things he wanted to change. They could be endorsed by anyone, and members of both parties did. They became the reason why he took the key Rust Belt states like he did, and they represent the things that a GOP Congress has desperately tried to halt.
The single biggest thing the media accuses the administration of being is undermanned; that there are huge gaps in the administration. After 5 months, Trump doesn’t have 100% of his nominations confirmed, so why are we not hearing about these nominations? It is due to the fact that Congress is stalling on them. Congress is notorious for several things, but two of them are recesses, and ceremonial legislation.
Recesses are supposed to when Congress returns to their districts to meet with constituents, however for the month of May, Congress worked May 1st-4th, 16th-19th, and 22nd-25th. In total, Congress worked 12 days out of 23 working days in May. Don’t worry, they’ve already scheduled to not work 7 days at the beginning of June.
The other issue, ceremonial legislation and speeches, basically consumes the working periods they have. The week of May 15th, the Senate scheduled itself to handle three low-key nomination processes and refused to schedule any serious legislation. The House, while conducting more business, has refused to agree on any language for major legislation. The fumbled Repeal measure sits idle in the Senate. The Federal Budget that was approved with much fanfare, will expire in September, and spent more money than last year. This budget did not include any of the President’s desired cuts.
It isn’t hard to see how Congress is for the Status Quo. While the 2016 Election saw the President be chosen to establish a new Order in DC, Congress was given more sanction to stall the process of reform because the old voices who oppose any serious effort to fix the nation are still incumbents. Similar to how Illinois has a State Assembly problem, the US has Congress problem.
Opinion piece from June 8th, “Fighting Terrorism”
If you saw any of the footage from this weekend’s coverage of the London’s terror attacks, you might’ve seen the statement given by the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Theresa May. In her address to her people, she called on citizens to not only be vigilant in day-to-day interactions and make sure to report suspicious behavior. She also called for government monitoring of the internet to stop radicalization and growth in Western countries. This is often how the attackers that shot up the Pulse Night Club, that committed the Manchester attack, the Paris attacks, and other brutal atrocities in Europe have engaged and gotten their orders.
For those old enough, they might remember the fear of sleeper agents and cells during the Cold War. KGB- and GRU-trained personnel would come to America and at the right time, with the right signal, they would act out to destabilize and endanger America. As the details on the London attack came out, we learned that basically the attackers were not given a specific order to attack the locations, or to attack on that day, but rather they were given a signal to attack and had been trained to use certain tools in those attacks. For instance, the usage of vehicles to kill people on sidewalks, and then the use of long knives once the vehicle is disabled or no longer useful. This kind of adaptability in the enemy is causing some leaders around the world to sound like they want to censor or monitor speech and content online.
But despite ISIS’ seemingly widespread reach to inspire and radicalize attackers in the US and UK, it’s important to remember that this form of warfare against the West has increased in recent months as the fight against ISIS has gone in our favor. As the threat of ISIS decreases in the Middle East because of their losses, they are going online to try and break our fighting spirit and to inspire a radicalization in us.
The enemy’s first objective is to establish themselves as the enemy of everything Western. Their second objective is to make themselves slowly appear as the majority voice of Islam, or rather soil the relationship between the West and Islamic believers, organizations, and states. Their third objective is to radicalize vulnerable Islamic believers because of harassment or hostility they receive in the West. These are the new goals of ISIS, or rather their long-term goals. Early on, you may remember how many young people were seemingly inspired to go to the Middle East and fight for ISIS? That was part of a short-term objective to exploit economic suffering of young persons. They are still relying on that in European nations when they seek out vulnerable people to radicalize, but for a while now, ISIS has commanded those converted warriors remain in the country to do harm in the West, rather than come fight for their savage, barbaric cause in the Middle East.
So how do we fight radicalization in our country without creating a route that violates the Constitution or creates a way to persecute religious believers of any faith down the road? First, we need to recognize that while words are similar, ISIS is an Islamist organization, and nations like Jordan and Egypt are Islamic countries. When you combine Islam with ideology, meaning Islamism, you get a body of ideas that see the religion as it is now as impure and needing a culling. Much like Communists of the Cold War, their goal was not the success of their home nation, or even a conversion of it. The goal of these ideologues is actually the destruction of their home nation. While there are terrorist attacks that occur in the West, it is important to remember that there are far greater fatalities and brutal attacks that happen in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. As President Trump said in his speech before the GCC in Saudi Arabia, the adversary is “Radical Islamist Terrorism”.
After properly identifying the foe, the next goal is to fight fire with fire. We need to counter the ideology by promoting Western ideals, like liberty, freedom, and tolerance. The best way to do this is to give attention and protection to figures in the Middle East who support reform and are leaders in their respective disciplines. For instance, this is why President Al-Sisi of Egypt is a good friend of America, and why King Abdullah II of Jordan has been a staunch fighter against ISIS since the beginning. We will win when we inspire an Islamic Renaissance, one that inspires literacy, women’s rights, and tolerance for minorities. Defeating ISIS is the first of many steps.
“European Electoral Tides Crash Expectations”, Opinion Piece from June 15th
Two major elections occurred in Europe for the week of the June 5th. First, the UK Special Elections occurred after Prime Minister Theresa May called for them, in hopes of achieving a greater mandate for the Conservative, or Tory, Party. The second election that occurred was the French Legislative Elections, which happen after its Presidential Election. The French Election isn’t actually finished, with the important second round happening on June 18th, but the results of the first round are shocking in their own way, as much as the results of the British election shocked people.
In the UK, Theresa May is the current head of the Conservative Majority in Parliament. The successor to David Cameron, who resigned when the populace voted for Brexit, May has sought to create a path for a strong separation from the European Union and hopped on the political wave of Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron. She had hoped to overcome her controversial opponent, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn is controversial for many positions. While he fundamentally agrees with Bernie Sanders on economics and social policy, that in itself isn’t uncharacteristic of the Labour Party. What is shocking is his past associations with members of HAMAS, as well as the Irish Republican Army. Seen by many in the Jewish community as an anti-Semite, and those in NATO circles as someone light on Russia and terrorism, he has been for some time, a punching bag for May, as she calls out what is wrong in society.
Then the Manchester and London attacks at the end of the month of May happened, and Corbyn went from being a radical and outsider, to being a voice of reason and calm. Next, Theresa May had some brilliant misquotes on the health of the elderly, implying a tax to stay alive, and suggesting that “human rights be suspended” to track down terrorists. What had been a strong campaign led by a strong woman against a quiet radical became a disaster.
The fact that Theresa May won a Minority victory and has gotten an Irish Conservative Party, DUP, to align with the Tories in Parliament to form a government is representative of the fact that she is talented enough as a politician to make a miracle happen. But this election also showed that my theory on an Anti-Establishment Wave in Europe, rather than a Nationalist wave, still holds true as Jeremy Corbyn and Labour won 30 seats in Parliament and prevented a Conservative Majority Government from forming. May went from looking like the Leader of a Post-Brexit United Kingdom, to a dull and out-of-touch administrator, unwilling to give up power.
In France, my theory on the actual political storm in Europe continues to hit the mark. While Emmanuel Macron’s NEW party, as in less than a year old, is projected to win at least 400 of the 577 seats in the French Legislature, none of the other parties are anywhere close. You might recall that Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, was Macron’s final opponent in the Presidential race. Her party however is only slated to win 3 to 10 seats.
What about the former parties that usually ruled France, the Socialists and the Republicans? The Socialist Party has divided between the old party and the new Communist Party under Melenchon. The two Left-wing parties will have 30-50 seats combined. The Right-Wing Republican Party will take 2nd in the Legislature, and 90-110 seats for themselves. These are projections forecasted from the first ballot where candidates had to meet a minimum percentage of votes to continue, and Emmanuel Macron’s party has been smashing the opposition parties.
The fact that Melenchon, an avowed Communist leading a Communist party, has successfully divided the Left-wing of France is also important. While his party will not hold influence or sway for the near future, their impact and stated opposition to the form of the Fifth Republic of France cannot be overlooked. The fact that two outsiders in French politics, Emmanuel Macron and Jean-Luc Melenchon, have performed so strongly in France, should be a warning sign.
Why do these elections matter? Because Theresa May has performed so poorly, it is likely that the European Union will constrain, and punish with ease, the UK when it finally departs the EU. With Macron’s ascension and the death of French party politics for the time being, Macron is likely to be given a mandate of unchecked, absolute power over the French Republic, not seen since the days when De Gaulle built the Republic to be his government.
What will be important to see is if the Anti-Establishment Wave will continue into September when German Federal Elections occur. As of now, the two major parties run a coalition government together. Will the Wave divide or unite them?
June 22nd’s piece, “The Case against Fifteen”
I learned recently that on May 30th, the Illinois State Assembly voted 61 to 53 to pass a wage increase on the minimum wage, putting them from $8.25 to $15.00 per hour. This change would occur over the next 5 years, having $15.00 be the wage in 2022. I am not against people earning more money, nor am I against people being given more in wages by their employers. But in a state where we only lose to West Virginia in emigration, or the number of people leaving the state for another, the fight for 15 is only going to drive more people away in the end, not bring them back.
The first problem for Illinois is the mismanagement of the State, which has been a long-term problem going back several administrations. I have written before how Illinois has a “State Assembly” problem and that continues to hold true. Illinois refuses to pass a budget, and the stalemate comes down to the Speaker of the Assembly, Michael Madigan believing the people of Illinois need to pay MORE taxes, versus Governor Bruce Rauner, who would seek to reduce benefits for state employees and reduce the state bureaucracy. The age-old argument of taxes or reform and cuts is at play in the state of Illinois, and it has been going on since Fiscal Year 2015. We are moving into the third straight year without a budget for the state.
Second, on the subject of taxes, when you compare with our neighbors, and the 50 states as a whole, whether it is the corporate tax, the payroll tax, or the personal income tax, Illinois residents are paying some of the highest taxes compared to say residents in Indiana. Unemployment in the state complicates matters further. In December 2016, the Illinois unemployment rate was 5.7% while neighbor Indiana was at 4%. Today those rates sit at 4.7% for Illinois and 3.2%. And while it may seem like we have made more ground, Indiana’s employed citizens have increased each month since December 2016, Illinois’ have not. The change in percentage is people dropping out of employment searching or unemployment insurance lapsing. Combine this high tax regime with the fact that unemployment is a serious problem in Illinois, and you get a situation where Illinois is headed towards insolvency.
Third, with regard to insolvency, there is already talk that Illinois is headed towards a path where it cannot pay its 15 Billion dollars in debt. If the budget continues to be a problem in 2017, credit rating organizations have threatened to make Illinois the first state with a JUNK status on its bonds. In a corporate sense, that would be a high-yield, high-risk security for helping a company raise money quickly to fund a hostile takeover of the company. But in terms of states, when the value of a bond hits junk status, the only thing that really waits for the state is bankruptcy. Legally, states cannot push their debts from a bankruptcy onto creditors and the taxpayers. But with a junk status on the bonds, the ability of Illinois to loan money or convince businesses to return to the state is effectively crippled. See the example of Puerto Rico, where the Junk status on their bonds has made the US Territory a financial nightmare that Congress is looking to fix in some manner.
Some might ask if there is a Federal solution to the State problem, if Puerto Rico has an option. In 1933, Arkansas was forced to default on their debts. The Federal Government in the end helped Arkansas pay off the 160 Million dollars in debt by using WPA programs to employee residents, who then could pay high taxes, especially on alcohol and gambling, to reduce the debt. If a similar thing were to happen today, in that the Federal Government steps in to help manage the state out of a crisis, you would see incredibly high taxes paired with lots of temporary work programs. The state would be rescued financially, but the population of the state would be strapped for a long time.
Which is why I am against the Fight for Fifteen. In the end, it’s an attempt to artificially solve the problems of taxation in the state by putting more money in the pockets of residents to then take out of the residents’ pockets. Additionally, while tax relief for small businesses may be offered to help with this transition, that won’t be permanent, and small businesses that do not engage in big profits may not be able to keep their current staffing with such a strong wage hike. Unemployment plus Big Taxes equals more debt issues for Illinois, not less.
I did not write a piece for June 29th as I was travelling home during that time from Oklahoma with Mom, following attendance at the Supreme Council, of the Order of Amaranth, Incorporated.