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Dan Proft & John Tillman

On this edition of “Illinois Rising”, Dan Proft and John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, discuss Governor Rauner’s upcoming budget address with his former advisor Donna Arduin. They are joined by Jason Riley, author and Wall Street Journal columnist, who in referring to the black lives matter movement says, "I know something about growing up poor, and it isn’t that hard to avoid being shot by a cop." Dan and John recap President Obama’s speech to the General Assembly and discuss takeaways from the New Hampshire Primary.

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Dan Proft: Good afternoon. Dan Proft, and joining me on this edition of Illinois Rising is Illinois Policy Institute, President and C.E.O. John Tillman. John had a bunch of big speeches in Springfield the last couple of weeks. We had Gov. Rauner gave his State of the State Address, we had the President of the United States make a rare appearance. John Tillman: Like healing appearance. Let's all just get along and love one another. Dan Proft: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Following up, though, on something Rauner made mention of in the State of the State Address–even Pres. Obama agrees with me on redistricting reform and term limits. Now I think maybe Pres. Obama is a late convert to those positions, but a convert nonetheless. He made mention over district reform, specifically in his address this week. But now, we look prospectively to Gov. Rauner's budget address this coming Wednesday, the 17th. What do you expect the governor to lay out as we're eight months into this budget impasse? John Tillman: I think he's going to lay out a broad structure and I think he's going to–of how to solve it for the current fiscal year with the current impasse [settlement 00:01:35]. This fiscal year runs through June 30th, but I think he's going to lay out a framework of–for how to get through the next fiscal year and try to combine the two. And I think he's going to ask for authority from the General Assembly to [inaudible 00:01:47] problems through them, authorizing him to make cuts and allocate resources with limited resources that we have. In other words, put him on the hot seat and take yourselves off as to whether or not Speaker Madigan wants to do that or not is another question. Dan Proft: Well, somebody that has been on the frontline and the inside trying to fashion some points of compromise and get a budget deal done. She is Donna Arduin, the former budget director for Gov. Rauner who now is a Senior Fellow at the Illinois Policy Institute, and she joins us now. Donna, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Donna Arduin: Hi. Glad to be here. Dan Proft: So I guess start with maybe your experience. Everybody's talking about it but a few people have really been on the inside trying to fashion a budget the way that you have. Now, what was your experience during your time as the budget director and the real stumbling blocks that you found in terms of trying to make progress towards a constitutionally balanced budget? Donna Arduin: I would start with, and compared to other states that I worked in, Illinois oddly requires the governor to put together and give to the legislator those time every year a detailed, balanced budget plan. And we worked very, very hard on putting together a plan that not only balanced the budget but did it with the lower tax rates that we have in place right now. But unlike other states, the legislator has no real requirement to do anything. So we are sitting here a year later and the budget office is getting ready to put together a budget for the fiscal year that starts in July, and the legislator hasn’t acted on the one the governor gave them last year. So the experience working with the governor's office and agencies and putting together a well-crafted plan was fantastic given all the difficulties that Illinois faces. But the experience of watching for a year now, waiting for the legislator to act has been very frustrating. John Tillman: Donna, you're perhaps the foremost expert in the country on state budgets. You worked for five years for Jeb Bush who, by all accounts, was a fiscal conservative and had many good accomplishments. And to be clear, that's not an endorsement of this presidential ambitions, but he did a great job in this respect as governor of Florida. You worked for George Pataki, you worked for John Engler, you worked for the former governor of California, or Arnold Schwarzenegger during, as you like to say, his one good year. What's been the most shocking about Illinois versus all these other places where you've had such interesting experiences as well? Donna Arduin: Believe it or not, there were actually were more than one shocking thing. John Tillman: Surprise, surprise. Donna Arduin: Surprise, surprise. I mean, even compared to California and New York which certainly have their own challenges. And compared to well-run states that have fiscally conservative constitutions and law structures like Florida and even Michigan. There were a lot of surprises. First I've been in, obviously, been in states that have union controls of many items surrounding the budget, but none like I saw in Illinois. The union control is just really sort of intertwined and [inaudible 00:05:00] off many aspects of the governor, and even legislators' abilities control the fiscal situation here. The other things that surprised me really was the demoralization of the government. They can't hire staff, they're doing things in a way that's just normal or expensive than they would do if they were given some flexibility on how to manage. The state buildings are falling apart and it's all because the legislators just hasn’t been able their willing to deal with the cost of pensions in Illinois, the cost of state employees through the collective bargaining system which is just as far more controlled than it does on other states to [drive? 00:05:54] wages, salaries, health insurance, and pension [inaudible 00:05:58]. And there's nothing wrong with paying people who work for the government a good wage, but it is a problem when it becomes both a detriment to government stability to operate or even being able to employ people. And also, to the detriment of tax payers who just can't afford [inaudible 00:06:18] pay for those things for state employees, but to pay for themselves. They don't have those type of wage hikes and health insurance and certainly not the kind of pensions that state employees have been promised. Dan Proft: I was doing a little research for a piece on this topic, generally speaking, and I came across a story. I'll just read you the lead graph. "Confounded over how to close a gaping budget hole, Democrats who control Illinois government agreed on a two-year plan to divert hundreds of millions of dollars earmarked to underfunded state pension plans and use it for schools and other programs." That's from a Chicago Tribune article in 2005. And it has been this rinse and repeat approach to state government for decades, for generations. But here's the problem, and I wonder what your perspective is on it. When you have social service providers not getting paid for work performance, state fenders not getting paid for work performed or services provided, you got to understand [inaudible 00:07:18]. Just do something. Just pass the budget, the $4B unbalanced budget that Madigan and Cullerton want you to pass. I mean, we've been doing [unconscious? 00:07:28] unbalanced budgets for 14 years. Let's just keep it going because I need to get paid to keep my doors open. So on the one hand, you're sympathetic to people who are being scammed by a government they've provided goods or services to, and on the other hand–and they're used to just exact what this Tribune article from 10 years ago reported and what has been going on for 15 years. So let's just do this for now and then we can just figure it out next year. Donna Arduin: Good question. And I don't think anybody went into this–wanting to have vendors not getting paid. But if this doesn't stop, as you were saying, we're going to come to a crisis. The state and the pension system will run out of cash. And then nobody will get paid. And it will be worse than that. There will be no one getting paid and we won't have services. So the governor didn't do this so that vendors couldn't get paid. He did this so that we could bring about real change in Illinois and stop the slide. Turn the slide around, which is why he calls us the [inaudible 00:08:31] of the turnaround agenda. Dan Proft: And you get the sense, and John, too, as well [00:08:35]. Did you get the sense that until something like that happens–I mean, this is–what you're describing is the responsible thing to do, of course. And it's funny because it doesn't seem like state workers and others get the idea that this is the position that's actually in their interest like you kind of–you're on their side and they're not. But the idea that until and unless something cataclysmic like that happen, a whole host of state legislators and a whole lot of public sector union bosses just don't believe it will ever come to that. John Tillman: Go ahead, Donna. Yeah. Well, I think that that is absolutely true. I think–and Donna, maybe you can entrust their delusion by talking a little bit about the tax burden in Illinois. I think one of the things that is so ironic when I talked to union spokespeople is they don't think the people of Illinois are taxed enough. They think much more money needs to come out of individual taxpayer's wallets and be put into their wallets, which is how they get paid. And they don't take the evidence of the outmigration, people abandoning ship and going to other states. Not just Florida and Texas, but we lose population to every single other Midwest state, every single one of our neighboring states, of course. And Donna, you've done a lot of work and [inaudible 00:09:38] tax burdens and the spending burden that states take on whether it's state taxes and spending or local tax and spending, including property taxes. This is a very big indicator of future successes, is it not? Donna Arduin: It is. It is, John. And even on the most important issue, we can argue the numbers any way–several ways. But the fact of the matter is people get to choose in this day and age where they want to live. Where they want to run their businesses, where they want to invest, and provide jobs. And they're leaving Illinois. And that's just irrefutable. So when you look at migration amongst people who are citizens of the United States, people are leaving Illinois more than they're leaving other states. And to your point, John, the tax burden that any state faces is really the amount that's being spent. The amount of money governments are spending including for pension systems even if they're really committing that spending to the [feature? 00:10:43] by taking out that not making payments. It all counts in the economy field. So if the legislators says, "Well, we're only spending this amount because we're just going to push off pension payments." the economy feels the full burden of that. And that's the reason why we see the results that we do which is that people are leaving Illinois. Dan Proft: Donna Arduin, former Gov. Rauner Budget Director, now a Senior Fellow at the Illinois Policy Institute. Donna, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it. Donna Arduin: Thanks, Dan. Dan Proft: Dan Proft back with John Tillman, President and C.E.O. of the Illinois Policy Institute. And John, this is so fascinating. It kind of shows you the totalitarian mentality that has taken over education. Well, you talked mostly about this in the space of higher education academia, but it has made its way down the K-12 Education. This story, U46 Elgin School District, biggest suburban school district in the state, a school board member there who I supported when she ran for school board named Jeanette Ward, she posted a quote from a book written by Jason Riley who's a Wall Street Journal columnist, Fellow to Manhattan Institute, in the order of February being Black History month. From his book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, the quote is this: "Blacks have become their own worst enemy, and liberal leaders do not help matters by blaming self-inflicted wounds on whites or 'society'. The notion that racism is holding back blacks as a group, or that better black outcomes cannot be expected until racism has been vanquished, is a dodge. And encouraging blacks to look to politicians to solve their problems does them a disservice." That's a quote from his book that she cut and pasted into a Facebook post. John Tillman: Outrageous! Dan Proft: It has been [inaudible 00:01:30] as outrageous. The school district that's not doing a particularly good job at this moment of managing their finances or educating children. School board members said that was racist, said that was insensitive. They had a school board meeting where they discussed it, and both sides kind of brought in their advocates to debate whether or not this quote from a book that she didn't write, from an African-American intellectual, like Jason Riley, was appropriate discourse. John Tillman: Well, I think what's amazing is the lack of curiosity about the author. I'll bet none of them have ready any of Jason's work which is extraordinary and courageous. And this is a good example of why. Because when you start bringing up this issue and discussing it out in the public–just say nothing if you're white. If you're an African-American, oh, they come after you. They don't want to hear it. Dan Proft: And we're happy to now be joined by Jason Riley. Again, the author of the book Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed. Jason, as I mentioned, former editorial board member of the Wall Street Journal, now a columnist and a Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Jason, thanks so much for joining us, appreciate it. Jason Riley: Thank you. Dan Proft: And so this flap about excerpting a quote from your book, and one of the other quotes that was excepted by this school board member here in the northwest suburban Illinois was, "It's more important to have a black man in the home than a black man in the White House." And this has caused quite a stir among school board members and others liberally inclined in that school district. Are you surprised by this? Jason Riley: Oh no. No, not at all. I mean, it's the sort of discussion about race that strays from the orthodoxy, from what is acceptable in our society today. And the orthodoxy is that all black problems are explained by white racism. And when you inject a personal responsibility into the equation, when you start talking about whether or not black behavior or antisocial behavior or black pathology or black subculture of attitudes toward work or school or marriage or employment have any impact on the black outcomes we see today and the racial disparities we see today, you get your head handed to you. And that's what Jeanette Ward learned recently. John Tillman: Jason, what has it been like for you? I've read your work for a very long time. Long time admirer of it. And at some point, we'd love to have you come to Chicago and visit with us. What has it been like for you to lead on this? Because you certainly have been a leader. What kind of repercussions have there been in your own life? Jason Riley: Oh, I'm hardly–I'm flattered that you would say that, but I've hardly been a lead on that. I'm merely picking up a baton from people like Thomas [inaudible 00:04:12] and Clarence Thomas and Shelby Steele and many others who've been saying these things for decades. They are the true leaders on this issue. But our work is still cut out. I mean, you still see people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and the NAACP as the media go to individuals and organizations when it comes to speaking for Black America. And one of the reasons I wrote the book and one of the reasons I write the things that I write is to show that those folks do not speak for all Black Americans. That there are diversions, a very diverse set of views–and I encounter them when I go out and talk about these issues. Whether I'm talking to churches or college campuses or so forth. There are wide variety of views on what ails the Black community and how to move forward. John Tillman: What I think, Jason, is so dangerous about this whole sort of mindset is it's almost a form of bigotry in itself. It is a form of bigotry in and of itself of those who are sort of race baiters who are taking Jeanette Ward down. They're really alienating a significant segment of the white population that is all-in and sympathetic to the cause of racial harmony and racial justice. And I think that the danger is you start to actually cleave a coalition across ethnic groups–Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, whoever you want to pick–by the sort of racialization of politics. What's going to happen now with Hilary running in South Carolina and trying to further run with a group identity politics. What do you think of that in terms of the fact that it actually starts to alienate white voters and white citizens who used to be sympathetic to the cause and may not be anymore because they feel like they're–no matter what they do, it's not good enough, they're calling us racist, white, privileged people. Jason Riley: Well, I think that ship sailed many decades ago. Frankly, I think that's what you saw happen after the traditional Civil Rights. Leaders like Martin Luther King left to stay in the Black Power Movement. Came along equal opportunity, turned into racial preferences, and you started breaking up coalitions like Black coalitions or Jewish coalitions that have been together for decades till the first half of the 20th Century. So that ship's sailed a long time ago. And what's happened is the Civil Rights Movement has become an industry. And I tell you: a very, very lucrative industry. But it depends on keeping that narrative out there, that racism, White racism, is an all-purpose explanation for these racial differences and outcomes we see today in employment, in education, in household income, and so forth. And when you stray from that narrative, they come after you. Because it is a very, very lucrative industry so they need to keep that narrative front and center. Dan Proft: Do you see that changing at all as you move down at the age demographic? I mean, I know you've got left wing intellectuals like [inaudible 00:07:02] that's popular among younger African-Americans as well as leftists and intellectuals. But it seems to me–I'll just use Chicago as an example. And you have a broader perspective, you travel around the country speaking and so forth. [inaudible 00:07:17] happening elsewhere. I was talking to an ABC7 political reporter recently, Charles Thomas, who's an African-American gentleman. Been around Chicago for a long time. And he said what's happening in the [inaudible 00:07:28] and everything that's happened in Chicago under [inaudible 00:07:30] five years–the schools melting down–becomes civil society in Chicago, frankly, melting down is that there's different conversations happening in the neighborhoods now that I haven’t heard in 30 years. And he sees at least some segment of the African-American community moving from the Civil Rights [inaudible 00:07:52] case in terms of prosecuting that case–being an advocate for that case–to economic. That, look–he says, "Look, I live downtown and I don't really encounter races. I can do whatever I want." That's not the issue. The issue is economic opportunity, and the conversation's changing in that direction, and that could be a positive thing that provides the opportunity for different coalitions to be built. Jason Riley: Well, I wish I could be as optimistic as some of the folks you've been talking to. But what we've also seen the rise of in the recent years is the Black Lives Matter Movement. Dan Proft: Yeah. Jason Riley: Which is of course built on this crazy notion that there's an epidemic of cops shooting young black men. When we all know that the biggest threat to [inaudible 00:08:41] Blacks are other Black criminals. I mean, I know something about growing up Black and male in the inner city. And it's not that tough to avoid getting shot by a cop. It's much more difficult to avoid getting shot by other young Black men. The leading cause of death for young black men in this country is homicide. And it is not because cops are shooting them or because the Ku Klux Klan is driving through Black neighborhoods spraying them with bullets. These are other young Black predators, and they are preying on Black people. Primarily poor Black people. But you have a Black Lives Matter Movement out there pushing an entirely different narrative that has no [inaudible 00:09:25] in reality. And it's got [legs? 00:09:28]. I don't think it's going away anytime soon. You saw the way the Democratic candidates for President were lined up and told to say Black Lives Matter and they did? Dan Proft: Yeah. Jason Riley: And the White House opened its door to dealing with the leaders of this movement? This is also what's going on. So I feel some optimism on things like education. Charter schools disproportionately are helping low-income Blacks who need better childhood education [inaudible 00:09:56] Blacks are realizing that. But see that movement gaining some strength and that's a [powerful? 00:10:03] development. But this criminal justice issue, I think, is a big deal. And it's not going away, and the wrong side seems to be winning this today. Dan Proft: And now you have DeRay Mckesson, one of the founders, running for the mayor of Baltimore. Jason Riley: Yes. Dan Proft: Isn't that, and won't that be interesting? Jason Riley: Yeah. Dan Proft: All right, Jason Riley, Wall Street Journal columnist, Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed. Jason Riley, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate your time. Jason Riley: Thank you. Dan Proft: Dan Proft back with John Tillman, President and C.E.O. of the Illinois Policy Institute, illinoispolicy.org. And John, I'll tell you what. Crain's is really an interesting outlet these days. Crain's Chicago Business. John Tillman: The progressive business publication. Dan Proft: Right. Or the anti-business business publication. John Tillman: Right. That's actually better. It is the same language but I think yours is a little more expressive. Dan Proft: The irony is lost on them. Sen. Daniel Biss, and one of these intolerable prigs from the North Shore. John Tillman: Did you say prig? Dan Proft: Prig. John Tillman: Okay. Dan Proft: Yeah. He wrote an op-ed [calling? 00:00:51] Texas' policies. I mean, just a second. He wrote an op-ed as an Illinois state senator criticizing Texas' economic policies which, I believe, is the state that's home to six of the ten fastest growing counties in the country, created more jobs since the Great Recession than the other 49 states combined. John Tillman: Right. Dan Proft: This state, the worst governed state in America, we've got a state senator who is criticizing Texas saying, and I'm quoting him: "Texas' achievements are real but they come at a huge cost: Lower wages, less regulation–" as if that's a bad thing, "–and a weaker safety net are causing poverty to rise and the middle class to shrink in Texas." Hmm? So we don't want to pursue the policies that were pursued in Texas, so says Daniel Biss. Well, how about we get a Texas perspective on that? Joining us now is Chuck DeVore. He's the Vice President of National Initiatives for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Chuck, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it. Chuck DeVore: Hey, thanks for having me. Dan Proft: So it seems like the criticism we're referencing from a state senator here of Texas is similar to the criticism that was lodged about Texas when Rick Perry was in the presidential campaign. That, yeah, a lot of the jobs, with their low-paying jobs, you don't have the social safety net with respect to–you have a high percentage of population that's undedicated–all of these kind of poverty and wage-related criticisms that suggest that the Texas economic miracle is a bit of a mirage. How do you respond to that criticism? Chuck DeVore: Well, I love it when folks criticize Texas because it gives us the opportunity to talk about the truth and how poverty is measured in America. Most people don't realize that the Census Bureau, with their 50-year-old official poverty rate, doesn't take into account the cost of living. John Tillman: Right. Chuck DeVore: So as far as they're concerned, it costs the same amount to live in Brooklyn as it does in Live Oak, Texas. Which is [inaudible 00:02:46] ridiculous. And if you take into account the cost of living as well as non-cash benefits–the other thing they don't do is they don't count the value of things like food stamps now called SNAP or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. Right. They don't count housing vouchers such as rental assistance. They don't count that. So when you look at an alternative way of looking at poverty called the Supplemental Poverty Measure, Texas is at the national average. John Tillman: In addition to that, Texas also has many challenges. And that you have this massive immigration of people from all over the country, and of course, you have migration from Mexico. And Texas has done a pretty darn good job of absorbing those people and giving them meaningful work. During this time when you're doing this, your wages are rising. And in fact, I believe Texas [inaudible 00:03:32] overall are manufacturing average household income just past Illinois, traditionally a high-income state, Texas, historically a low-income state. Texas' wages have been rising overall for a long period of time. Isn't that correct? Chuck DeVore: Well, that's correct. And you pointed out an interesting thing about people moving here and opportunity and demographics. There are only four minority-majority states in the country–Texas, California, New Mexico, and Hawaii. And Texas looks an awful lot like the future of America. At least what demographers think is going to happen. So you only have 42% of the population that's white, non-Hispanic in Texas. You also have a lot of people who move here from other countries that tend to have lower-than-average wages. And they're moving here because there's opportunity, just like people from Illinois are moving to Texas. Dan Proft: How important is this kind of rather unique thing about Texas that a lot of people don't know? That its state legislature meets once every two years and basically gets [inaudible 00:04:30]. They're not a professional political class the way that we have here, for example, in Illinois with the highest paid or very near the top of–in terms of salary and benefits of state legislators, and they're seemingly always up to no good. Chuck DeVore: Yeah. Well, I think you're onto something, but it's also about the culture here. I was a lawmaker in California for six years and just termed out. And on a hunch, I looked at the backgrounds of the people in the majority party in the two biggest states–California and Texas. And what I found was about 71% of the majority party in Texas a couple of years ago were businessmen, farmers, ranchers, doctors. Right. People who work for a living on the private market. The equivalent in California was 18%. So 71% in Texas working for themselves or working in the private markets versus 18% in California. Now, in California, in the majority party, it was pretty evenly divided between people who are government workers, community activists, and trial attorneys. So [inaudible 00:05:37] the bigger state in the country. So of course, they have high-progressive taxes and a crushing bureaucracy and all these regulations. Because that's what they're used to. John Tillman: Chuck, you worked for the Texas Public Policy Foundation run by my good friend, Brooke Rollins. You'd be sure to tell her that when I come down there, John Tillman, she owes me dinner. And that you need a bigger office and a huge headquarters building you've just built. She can afford that. Dan Proft: Yeah. Chuck DeVore: There you go. Dan Proft: Especially for all the people emigrating to Texas. John Tillman: Right, right. Dan Proft: I mean, Chuck, you came from California. We were just talking before the segment, Allen West moves from Florida to Texas to get involved in Public Policy there. You move from California to Texas. So it's a magnet for deep-thinking, free-market intellectuals as well, apparently. Chuck DeVore: Well, let's not sell Illinois short. You've got the Illinois Policy Institute which does a bang-up job. And I think the governor in Illinois, Gov. Rauner, really got some good policies if he can only get some support and traction in his legislator. John Tillman: We're working very hard on that. Dan, in fact, is working very hard on that. He runs a superpack, and we hope to see some changes because of Dan's fine work. And the models are very different in Texas. You're trying to prove something, I think, is very interesting that [inaudible 00:06:51] too earlier which is our ideas, the pro-free-market [inaudible 00:06:55] ideas are colorblind, ethnic blind, gender blind. Texas, as you said, minority white is winning over Hispanics, is winning over African-Americans, is winning over new immigrants with the ideas. And Illinois on the other hand is a blue state. We're trying to prove you can turn from blue to purple to red. So very different games. But I think what's going on in Texas is that [inaudible 00:07:14] Hispanic community. Chuck DeVore: Absolutely. I very much agree. Dan Proft: All right. Chuck DeVore, Vice President of National Initiatives for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Chuck, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate your time. Chuck DeVore: Thank you. Dan Proft: And maybe, John, you might consider locating the Illinois Policy Institute [inaudible 00:07:31] in Texas. [inaudible 00:07:32] doing your work from there. John Tillman: We've done the analysis. We would save over $250,000 a year in cost if we move to Texas. Dan Proft: That is– John Tillman: Okay, I made up that number, but the idea's the same. Dan Proft: Staggering. Yeah. Dan Proft: Dan Proft back with John Tillman, President and C.E.O. of the Illinois Policy Institute. And John, we touched on it a little bit earlier on the show, Pres. Obama's speech in Springfield to the General Assembly on Wednesday. And let me get into one specific policy proposal he offered up consistent with the idea of the new tone of politics, more civil areas of compromise, bipartisanship–all the stuff that he says but doesn't really believe. At least not in terms of translating into action. But one of those items is redistricting reform. Let's refocus on–districts don't need to look like earmuffs. Right. Picking your constituencies rather than having constituencies pick their representatives and so forth. More competitive elections that will lead to more participations. These are the presidents' words. Well, let's listen to what he said. "Second step towards a better politics is rethinking the way that we draw our congressional districts. Now, let me point this out–I want to point this out, because this is another case of cherry-picking here. This tends to be popular in states where Democrats have been drawing the lines among Republicans, and less popular among Republicans where they control drawing the lines. So let’s be very clear here–nobody has got clean hands on this thing." Including the speaker. I'll tell you what. It was nice to see how much applause that all kinds of ruling class politicians representing gerrymandered districts could muster for redistricting reform. John Tillman: There's so much lie, obfuscation, opaqueness, and just outright flimflammery in that whole refuge is played. First of all, he's trying to present himself as the higher oracle of love and, let's all just get along. Right? It's just so ridiculous. He's been the most divisive president by race, by gender, by generation, by ethnic background, by party affiliation. He's the most partisan president since Harry Truman, a very partisan president, for those who might remember. I don't remember, but I read a lot. Dan Proft: He couldn't export this successful Illinois political culture to D.C. I mean, that's essentially what he said. John Tillman: Yeah. Dan Proft: Illinois, there's no meanness here. But he couldn't get that done in D.C. and that's one of his few regrets. John Tillman: There's two important points here. First of all, the reason he's making this case now is because Republicans control over 30 states. And so on the average, you're just handicapped. But I'm going to be better off if I sort of equalize it. But the more important thing, Dan, secondly, is that the Democrats [inaudible 00:03:07] that every time there's some sort of reform for redistricting, in the end, they still control it. In the end, they gain the system. And the Republicans and the people on the right are just not competent at playing this game because the other side plays for keeps. The right does not. Dan Proft: And so we have a movement of foot in Illinois. The Independent Map movement. It's not exactly the model that I would support, more like maybe the Iowa model or you have computers draw the line based on the criteria the supreme court has set forth–contiguousness, compactness, respect for local units of–community boundaries, essentially, and let the computer draw them and then have what may, you would have a more competitive elections. You'd have an increased number of competitive elections. But this is something [inaudible 00:03:53] been in public office, state, federal level for 20 years. It's an easy thing for him to do on his way out the door. To ring the bell for bipartisanship that he didn't practice and it doesn't really have that much interest to practice. John Tillman: Well, I think that's exactly right. As he starts his Farewell Tour, he's going to be very conflicted. Because on the one hand, he has to make sure he has a successor that will protect his legacy, a Democrat nominee that wins. He's going to have to continue the divisive politics that he has mastered over the last 7 ½, 8 years. So he's going to do that. But on the other hand, he's going to go on this tour around the country and he's going to revert to where he was between 2004 and 2008 with his lofty rhetoric, and let's bring everybody together, and I'm the healer. It's going to be a very interesting dance he does. And whether the Republicans and the people on the right and the middle fall for it. Dan Proft: Well, dispensing with Pres. Obama's falderal– John Tillman: Falderal. Nice. Dan Proft: It's a fun word, isn't it? John Tillman: It is a great word. Dan Proft: Dispensing with that for a minute, the underlying issue of redistrict reform, it's something that Gov. Rauner has promoted. He mentioned it in the State of the State Address along with term limits and [inaudible 00:04:56] kind of his political reform agenda addition to all the structural budgetary and financial reforms, regulatory reforms. So what about that? What about the Independent Map movement in Illinois or some other kind of redistricting reform where the balance of power to change in the General Assembly? John Tillman: We certainly understand the interest in this. We've looked at that proposal very carefully and we're very ambivalent about it. We think it is [inaudible 00:05:23]. One of the things you like to say, Dan, is that it's not broken, it's fixed. Dan Proft: Right. John Tillman: This proposal has fixes in it that worry me greatly that the political class will continue to control the process there. After there are truck who highways and byways you can drive through to prevent the actual goal which is fairness and [inaudible 00:05:42]. Dan Proft: Yeah. And in addition to that, I mean, look. It isn’t part of personnel problem, but one of the things the Independent Map–and I mean it's a cultural problem and not kind of the creative cartography of the Democrats as part of the political cultural problem in Illinois. But it seems to me we focus on–we'll have more competitive elections although you suggest there are highways and byways out of that in this proposal that's being bandied about, and it's worth noting. Mostly by progressive leftists. So that should be a– John Tillman: [inaudible 00:06:09]. Dan Proft: Yeah. That should be of a concern as well. But it's also not just the personnel problem, it's also a culture problem. And so you have seen huge turnover in the General Assembly in the last decade. But that hasn’t changed a political culture in Illinois, in part because you have the same leadership and in part because of the underlying culture. And I think that's a larger conversation we have rather than believing that redistricting reform or even term limits or the combination of the two is going to be some kind of [inaudible 00:06:36] for all the [inaudible 00:06:37] Illinois. John Tillman: You know, we're going to [inaudible 00:06:38] in a few minutes, we're going to talk to Chuck DeVore, from the Texas Public Policy Foundation. He points out the make-up of the legislatures' matters. Do they come from the private sector or are they activists, lawyers, and others who [inaudible 00:06:49] the system. In Illinois, politics is a career choice just like trading is, just like pharmaceuticals are. This is an industry that is profitable. That's not true in some other places. Dan Proft: Yeah. And it's an industry. The only way it's profitable is by making every other industry unprofitable. John Tillman: Right. Dan Proft: Dan Proft back with John Tillman, President of the Illinois Policy Institute. And John, we've got South Carolina coming up. Kind of earth-shattering events in terms of the performance of one Donald Trump and one Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire. And you had an interesting analysis of what you think happened in New Hampshire and how you think what happened in New Hampshire [inaudible 00:00:36] for South Carolina and the rest of the race. Give us your insights in that area. John Tillman: Let's talk about the Democrats first. What I think is so interesting with Bernie Sanders, the people of New Hampshire were feeling the "Bern", as everyone likes to say. Dan Proft: Yeah. John Tillman: It got to 60% 22-point win. Dan Proft: And Madigan can take a shot of Penicillin in [inaudible 00:00:54]. John Tillman: Yes. I think Hillary would like to give Bernie a shot, but I don't think there'd be Penicillin in there. It might be hemlock, perhaps. But the thing that's interesting about what's going on in New Hampshire is he kills her, right? The only thing that's now emerged, of course, is that delegate-wise, they're about 50-50. Sort of interesting. He wins in a landslide and can't gain on her on delegates. Dan Proft: Well, because of the superdelegates. The six superdelegates. Now, they can always flip for Sanders but I mean, it seems to me as you head into New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders couldn't make the argument [inaudible 00:01:21], think the system is rigged for the powerful, for the insiders, and that's–it's rigged against me and it's rigged against you and that's what we're collectively fighting against. John Tillman: I think that's exactly right. That feeds the narrative which is the one [inaudible 00:01:31] that U.S. and news and world report piece that I wrote after the New Hampshire Primary is that both Trump and Sanders are mining the same thing–the discontent of angst and anger among the elector. Both sides of the isle, voters are very unhappy with the political establishment. They feel the game is rigged against them, they feel they're on the outside looking in, they feel the game is all about the insiders, the cronies, and everybody that's making deals, and they want to reject it. I think, Dan, [inaudible 00:01:55] recently had a comment in the Wall Street Journal that the rejection of Hillary and the rise of Bernie is really a repudiation of Obama's seven years. This guy's been here for seven years, she's running as his [inaudible 00:02:07] in continuation of the Obama be the third term. And Bernie is ironically doing the best job of eviscerating the Obama legacy on the Democrat side. I think that's interesting. One of the things you said when were recently at a Hawks game was that Trump's support is inelastic. I thought it was a very good way to express it. What I put in the piece was that Trump–everybody including me used to talk about–he's got a upside cap. And there still may be truth to that, but the point you made, which I think is really interesting that I sort of stole and expanded on in this piece is that he has a floor. With below which you cannot go down below and [inaudible 00:02:44] rather. And then because there's still a big field with their spreading out the remaining 65%, this is perfect for him. He can win as a plurality nominee state by state by state. So in order for this to change, people are going to have to start attacking Trump and not Rubio and other sideshows. Dan Proft: Well, right. But the problem is, of course, I mean, they're in a bit of a trick bag. This is a prisoner's dilemma game. So it's Trump then Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, and Bush. And the best thing that happened for Trump in addition to his win in New Hampshire was John Kasich's 2nd place finish. Because it keeps Kasich and Bush [inaudible 00:03:16] respectable 4th place finish, I suppose. It means 10% for $35M. I don't know. John Tillman: $1,200 [per vote? 00:03:23]. Dan Proft: Yeah. That's a high price to pay but I guess he's got the money. But I mean, it keeps them in. Certainly through South Carolina. Probably through Super Tuesday. And if Trump continues to win the states, that is [current pulling? 00:03:34] level most of the states which is very similar to New Hampshire–I'm at 35 and everybody else is under 20. So they have to fight each other to get to 2nd place so they could focus on Trump because there's this free rider problem–any of them have to go in together as a cartel to say, "No, we're all going to train our sights on Trump." Well, why am I going to train my sights on Trump if I'm not going to benefit? John Tillman: Right. Well, see, I disagree with that now. I think the race is a vow to the point where rather than–which is what Christie did, right? He kills Rubio by eviscerating [inaudible 00:04:05] debate. And then it also killed Christie, which is ironic. Now that wasn't cause and effect but it was a little bit a part of it. Dan Proft: Yeah. John Tillman: But Christie didn't come across–he didn't present his vision. He didn't present what he stood for other than saying, "This guy is not ready. I'm a governor, I am ready." But no compelling case. Dan Proft: Well, although Christie outperforms his polling going into the New Hampshire Primary. John Tillman: Yeah. He went for half a point or two points? Dan Proft: Well, he went from four to eight. John Tillman: Okay, four to eight. Dan Proft: I mean, as compared to Rubio, after Iowa, going from 17 to 10. John Tillman: But my point is–going back to the point about how you fight with each other to be the 2nd place person. Dan Proft: Yeah. John Tillman: I think the race has changed now that among the also [inaudible 00:04:43] between 10% and 16%, one of them will emerge by attacking Trump. In other words, now is the time to go after Trump. And what Henninger said, which I completely agree with, they need to go after him on policy chops. Dan Proft: Right. John Tillman: Visionary policy chops, and dissect the weakness of Trump, that he has no substance and endorse and buy into Trump's anger and angst. And the person best prepared to both of those is Ted Cruz. Dan Proft: Yeah, I think so, too. And he's best prepared to do that in a different way than any other candidates as well. Because he has never really gone after Trump in a personal way. He hasn't attacked the persona, he's focused on the policy difference. And I also think he's the most iconoclastic of the office holders or former office holders so he's seen as somebody who, if not Trump, a lot of Trump supporters would be willing to align with Ted Cruz. Whereas from Marco Rubio, for Jeb Bush, certainly for John Kasich, certainly, that is a much heavier lift. John Tillman: Yeah. He can say with legitimacy his bonafides– "My [inaudible 00:05:47], the people in Washington D.C. the purple establishment, they hate me. They hate me so much, they're thinking of [inaudible 00:05:53] establishment is thinking of supporting Trump. Now, I love Donald, I love what he's appealing to–let me tell you why I'm the guy that you should all rally to because we both are anti-establishments. But let me tell you what I will do policy-wise that Donald doesn't even know how to discuss or debate me on." Dan Proft: Well, right. And here's the opportunity, really, that only exists for Trump because for Cruz because the others are unwilling to really go after their colleagues but they'll go after the GOP-controlled Congress in the way that Cruz and Trump will do. Obama's last budget. Why has debt more than doubled under Pres. Obama? And he continues to pile on more taxes and more regulations and more profligate spending as is exemplified in the last budget he just presented. It's not just because of Pres. Obama. It's because of this go along Republican Congress that if I'm Ted Cruz, I have stood a [inaudible 00:06:46] telling Mitch McConnell he's a liar. Nobody else is willing to do that. And for Donald Trump, they're all part of the problem, Ted Cruz included because they're all members of Congress. So those two are uniquely positioned to continue this line of attack that a good percentage of Republican primary voters ascribe to. John Tillman: Absolutely. I think I haven't actually heard that argument made up because that's a very good one. Because what the other argument you get opposite that is, "If Cruz becomes president, he can't get along with the Republican majorities in the House in the Senate." Things have a funny way of changing when you have the bully pulpit [inaudible 00:07:16]. Dan Proft: Yeah, yeah. The bully pulpit and the associated– John Tillman: Power and money and all the rest. Dan Proft: The pen and the phone, as a president once said.

 

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