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Crony Capitalism On Steriods in Illinois

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

There are four circles of Democrats running the show in Illinois. First, there is the governor, Pat Quinn. He is as inept and rudderless as any governor to lead any state ever. He was re-elected by three counties-most of the geography of the state detests him. Then there is the Illinois Senate lead by Democraticcrony capitalistPresident John Cullerton. The Senate decided to vote in a tax break package to keep Sears and the exchanges ($CME, $CBOE) from leaving. The Illinois House is ruled with an iron fist by Democratic Speaker and kingmaker, Mike Madigan, who installed his daughter as Attorney General.

Then of course, there is the new mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel. I give Rahm some kudos so far as mayor because it seems like he is trying to change a few minor things, although the pace is glacial given the urgency of the problems. You might say there is a fifth circle, Toni Preckwinkle of the Cook County Board. County government is yet another site of Democratic crony capitalism and patronage within the state.

The Illinois House voted against the Senate bill.

Illinois can say goodbye to Sears ($SHLD), a company started here when the prairie was being settled. Ohio has offered $400 Million in tax breaks and moving expenses. 6200 jobs gone.  But those aren’t the only jobs.  Lifestyle business jobs are going to be impacted.  Haircutters, Bakers, Groceries, and other small businesses won’t have the same amount of income because 6200 people are moving away.  The state loses much more than just the business and its employees when it leaves.

Illinois Democratic government officials won’t privatize any services, sell off any assets, but they sure do a great job of chasing away private companies!

  • The unions have killed McCormick Place-conventions have fled to Orlando and Las Vegas
  • The exchanges are on the verge of leaving (Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Indiana seem to be in the running)
  • People have fled the state (Illinois population dropped in consecutive census, 1990, 2000, 2010)
  • Sears is all but gone
  • Jimmy Johns gone
  • Coupon Cabin gone

Since becoming mayor, Emanuel has attracted two huge international conferences. Great! Is that what Chicagoans want?  Non-government (NGO) and government organizations to locate here? Good luck jump starting an economy with resources that are non-productive.

It’s only a matter of time before other big companies exit the state unless they turn things around.  The truly sad thing is that we do have a burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem here.  What happens to that when the city is boarded up?

For it’s part, neither exchange has made a peep.  But, they have time.  The clock is ticking, but my guess is both of the exchanges are weighing their options and the latest date they would make an announcement is their next shareholder meeting.

How does Illinois elect such a bunch of ineptitude?  Because the state is full of either people that benefit from being associated with a government official that doles out favors and business to them.  

Crony capitalism is on steroids here.  Second, there is a large cadre of true believers in socialism that reside in the state.  Illinois has a large amount of unions.  In most circles, people like Studs Terkel and Eugene Debs are held in higher regard than Milton Friedman.  

People like Friedman are scorned.  Even many Republicans here believe in the virtues of big government.  After all the Haymarket riots were here and Bill Ayers leads a comfortable worry free life next door to Louis Farakhan in Hyde Park.    

When you sniff the air, there is a socialist DNA aroma.  

They even tax that here.

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