Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rauner turns to privatization push during second year in office - Chicago Tribune

Rauner turns to privatization push during second year in office - Chicago Tribune

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is a private equity billionaire with no political experience and no idea what he is doing, except that he hates the very idea of government and public employees and unions and wants to destroy all three.  He used his personal wealth and his connections to other fat cats to basically buy the job.  He funneled millions of his own money into a record-breaking tsunami of money and outspent Pat Quinn almost two to one.  He also had the help of the Chicago Tribune, which is relentlessly anti-union and pro-big business, and the Chicago Sun-Times as well (there were some interesting financial connections there).  His big idea is to turn Illinois into a Republican state. He wants to destroy the Democratic Party's political base. Destroy unions, the tort system, public employee pension systems, and the workers' compensation system.  Let cities and school systems go bankrupt so they can break their contracts with unions. Enact term limits to get rid of powerful Democrats in Springfield. It's basically Scott Walker in Wisconsin without the charm.

But Democrats won big in both houses of the state legislature, and they won't commit political suicide by abandoning the people who voted for them. So how was Rauner to impose his "turnaround agenda" on the state? Simple: refuse to sign budget bills, starving social service agencies and the public education system of funds. That's what he has been doing since the day he was elected. Poor people, the disabled, the elderly, and students will suffer until the legislature turns the whole state over the Rauner and his party. Social service providers are laying people off and going out of business. Chicago State University just laid off 1/3 of it's staff.  And the suffering goes on, and on, and on.

Rauner  is one of these American corporate tough guys who proves how tough he is not by suffering himself, but by enjoying the suffering of the little people.

Now his big idea is to privatize every single state function that he can.  There seems to be no principle behind this--no set of guidelines for which services would be better to privatize and which to keep inside government.  And of course he won't work with the Democratic Party that controls the state legislature, so this is going to be done through executive action.

The risks here are obvious. People may end up paying more for less. The opportunities for corruption increase. Wages will be lowered and people will be laid off, leading to consumers having less purchasing power, which may hurt the state economy.

I wish I could find some silver lining in the so-far disastrous Rauner administration, but I can't. This man is just destroying everything he can't control, and he doesn't seem to care who gets hurt.

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