Shame on Illinois Democrats! Austerity is not the answer.
Submitted by Illinoisnoki1 on Wed, 06/13/2012 - 14:58
By Ellen McClennan, Northern Illinois Jobs with Justice and Bill Bianchi, Progressive Democrats of America
Shame on Illinois Democrats for voting to cut Medicaid benefits to our most fragile and vulnerable citizens. Hundreds of thousands of people on Medicaid will see their healthcare benefits reduced or eliminated by legislation approved by both houses Thursday to cut $1.6 billion from the Illinois Medicaid budget.
Chicago Democrat Heather Steans was the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 2840. This time Democrats are claiming the typical Republican spin of austerity--needing to cut programs to balance the budget, and of needing everyone to ‘share in the sacrifice.’ While this Republican Spin doesn’t ring true, it is especially offensive when Democrat politicians speak and vote like their Republican cohorts.
Shared sacrifice, Senator Steans, oh really? Due to subsidies Illinois provides to corporations, our state’s most vulnerable people will suffer even more. For example, Motorola Mobility Inc. recently received $100 million in subsidies over a ten year period, but last year their CEO, Sanjay Jha, received an annual salary of $47,152,687. Motorola can provide their CEO with that salary yet in turn demands sacrifice from Illinois citizens. All with the compliments of legislators like Stearns.
Try justifying that ‘shared sacrifice’ to the elderly man who will have his tooth pulled rather than be able to get preventative dental care.
And austerity? Oh really? Most economists agree it doesn’t work. Gutting these healthcare plans is likely to increase Illinois’ healthcare costs over time, as people avoid care until an emergency arises, increasing treatment costs dramatically. Unless, of course, the patient dies before getting treatment.
Austerity legislation like SB2840, and other cuts which have been proposed, takes money out of our local economy. It does not increase our economy, it decreases it.
Our current General Assembly’s focus on balancing the budget on the backs of Illinois’ vulnerable and the middle-class, undercuts and threatens to ultimately shrink our economy. That’s the worst scenario of all.
Time for Modern Progressive Approach
To solve the state’s budget crisis, we need a modern progressive approach that includes fair taxes, jobs and real health care reform.
According to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, a non-profit, bipartisan research group, “…Illinois’ lack of tax fairness has both contributed materially to the state’s General Fund budget deficits and harmed Illinois’ private sector economy.”
According to Bill Barclay of the Chicago Political Economy Group, a $1 Speculation Tax per contract on derivatives traded on the Chicago exchanges would likely raise $6,000,000,000. And instituting a graduated income tax, similar to Iowa’s, would bring in $6,200,000,000 annually while lowering taxes for 54% of Illinoisans.
That new revenue can be used to fund economic development and jobs across the state.
Finally, instituting an improved Medicare-for-All system could reduce Illinois’ total health care costs up to one third, while providing high quality medical coverage to all regardless of occupation, age, or marital status.
Madigan, Steans, and the others in Illinois’ General Assembly need to get a grip on reality. Protect the vulnerable and vote to bring progressive reform to the state economy. Stop trying to be Republicans.