On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and John Tillman, President & CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, discuss Chicago’s newest rules for rideshare drivers (Uber, Lyft etc), how the Mt. Sterling City Council voted against discontinuing water services to the Western ILL Correctional Center - which could affect more than 400 jobs - and more.
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Dan: Dan Proft, and joining me on this edition of Illinois Rising is Illinois Policy Institute President CEO John Tillman and— John: Hey, Dan, I’m just the CEO. We have a new president. Dan: Oh, that’s right— John: Remember? Dan: I’ve gotten so used to it. John: I know, I was waiting to see if you did that, Kristina Rasmussen, our executive vice president is recently promoted to President Chief Operating Officer, so I’m thrilled. She’s been a great partner in this for all of us and— Dan: Yeah, she hosted with me last week. John: Oh, that’s right, I forgot that. Yeah. Dan: Yeah. John: So anyway I just want to get that out. Dan: Oh, yes, okay, just CEO John Tillman. John: I’m stripping titles left and right. Dan: Yeah. That’s great, you could pare down titles. John: Too many, too many. Dan: Yeah, yeah.John: Father, CEO, that’s all I need. Dan: Titles are over rated. In that order. So this week Chicago City Council made a move to frankly do what Austin did; jeopardize the sharing economy from being visited upon the community by a proposal from the 9th Ward Alderman, Anthony Beale, that would require additional background checks and fingerprinting for drivers that drive for Lyft and Uber. Big problem, Uber and Lyft just fought this battle in Austin, Texas, there was a referendum, they lost and they pulled out of Austin. John: Right. Dan: So they were serious, they’re not joking around and there’s, of course, thousands of Chicagoans who at least make some of their money by driving for Uber and Lyft. John: Twenty thousand a month, Dan— Dan: Twenty Thousand a month? John: It’s a huge number, twenty thousand a month drive for Uber or Lyft. It is about 8,000 a taxi medallion, so it gives you some idea of the scale of Uber and Lyft. Dan: It also gives you some idea that the central planners don’t necessarily know how to properly calibrate supply to demand. John: Right, because the key part of this is that the taxi industry is a cartel and it is controlled—and that cartel is enabled by city government. The city of Chicago creates the cartel by limiting the number of medallions that allow people to go drive cabs, reducing supply, making it hard for people, particularly in poor neighborhoods to get a cab. Because a lot of those cabs won’t drive there because with such an over demand that they can stay on the other neighborhoods and those particular poor neighborhoods are poorly served. Uber and Lyft serve them well. Dan: And it’s kind of like the Airbnb campaign, Airbnb also running into static from city hall and it’s here talking about middle income people trying to deal with the high cost of living in the city of Chicago and leverage their property for their ends the way the government likes to leverage their property for the government’s ends with property taxes and regulations, and so forth. John: Right, right. Dan: But in Chicago with respect to Uber in particular, this is a little bit more delicate because Raum Emanuel’s brother, Ari, is like a ground floor investor in Uber. So we can’t lose Uber in Chicago because we don’t want the value of Ari Emanuel’s stock options to go down. So there was a bit of a compromise, no fingerprinting required but there are still new regulations, including requiring Uber drivers to get a chauffeur’s license. John: Right, a chauffeur’s license, a little less onerous version of a chauffeur’s license but never the less onerous. You have to go online, you have to renew it annually, you don’t have to get fingerprinted and all the other stuff but you also can’t drive a car that’s older than six years old, unless you go through some inspection regimen. You know, let’s get down to what this really— Dan: And by the way, that’s really interesting, since I think the average age of cars on the road is about 11 years. John: Right. So think about who they’re blocking, they’re blocking people who are struggling. They’re blocking people who may not be able to afford a newer car from trying to lift themselves up. And this is what is so— Dan: Pun intended. John: Yeah [laugh], I wish I’d thought of that and done it intentionally. Sometimes they just flow like— Dan: Yeah. John: From osmosis. Dan: Your lyrical verse. John: Exactly. And so they’re blocking people who might be struggling, looking for extra income, from rising. This is the perfect example of how regulation stops people from rising and protects those who have the advantage. Dan: Well, let’s take it from the abstract to the concrete by talking to an actual Uber driver. He is Jim Evans, he is a retiree who’s been driving for Uber, Jim, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Jim: No problem, thank you. Dan: So before we get into the regulatory scheme that you must face as an Uber driver in Chicago, what was the impetus for you to start driving for Uber in the first place? Jim: Well, actually my daughter lives in San Francisco, so I was firstly exposed to it out there and then when I came back to Chicago I found that it was available. And I’ve been driving for, I think I’m coming up to my third anniversary— Dan: Congratulations. Jim: I wanted a little extra income, thank you, I think I have six to seven thousand rides in now. But I needed the little extra income, I’m paying off my daughter’s student loans, got some other things in the works and I just, you know, I needed the extra cash, I needed the flexibility because I’m an actor. Dan: Oh. John: Oh. Jim: And I’m a professional metal detectorist, so— John: No kidding, what an interesting man you are, I’ve got to get in your car one of these days. Metal detecting is a fun little hobby. Jim: Alright [laughing]. John: I’m sure you’re a five-star driver. So when you heard that this was coming down, how did it make you feel? You live in the city, city resident, really they were treating you as— Jim: Yeah, I live in the city—so I live and actually I already have a chauffeur’s license because I anticipated that maybe this would be—I’m saying back almost three years ago before I even signed up for Uber, I got a chauffeur’s license. But, you know, it concerns me because, you know, and I haven’t read all the new regulations. I kind of got an overview of what they are, I’m not really sure—other than generate more money for the city, I’m not really sure what the new regulations will do to help Uber drivers or Uber riders to be very candid with you. Dan: Well, the regulations aren’t intended to help either groups, I don’t believe, they’re intended to placate the taxi associations and cab drivers who don’t like the existence of Uber and Lyft it seems to me. Jim: Well, I think the reality of it is it’s not necessarily just to placate the medallion owners and the taxi union, but it’s actually to generate more money for the city. Dan: Well, yeah. Jim: They’re going to have us do supposedly an online class, ok. I have some question; I don’t even know that a lot of drivers actually have access to computers or if they’re even computer literate. So that may be a problem, but— Dan: Maybe they can do that at the DMV too so I don’t have to go to the DMV. Jim: Yeah. Well, I don’t know that it’s really the taxi drivers that have an issue with Uber, I think it’s the medallion owners and the union. John: Right, exactly. Dan: Well, sure. John: That’s exactly right. Dan: Because the value of their medallions has fallen because of the competition. Jim: And they have empty cars because a lot of cab drivers are now driving for Uber to make more money. Dan: Right. John: Well, that tells you the truth about the whole arrangement, the irony of this is the medallion owners have essentially been exploiting the taxi drivers for a very long time. And the evidence of that is what you said, when taxi drivers leave that medallion cartel to ride for Uber because it’s a better deal. Because everybody thinks it’s always just about money, it’s not just money, it’s flexibility, it’s controlling your schedule, dipping in when you want to work and dipping back out when you want to do something else. That’s one of the great things about Uber and Lyft. Jim: Yeah, one of the things a lot of people don’t realize, you know, when you get in a cab you usually get hassled about oh, the credit card machine doesn’t work, well, number one, that’s against the law. But the reality of it is the medallion owner charges that taxi driver five percent for the privilege of using the credit card machine, so even his own medallion owner is ripping him off, that’s just too bad. Dan: Yeah, that’s an interesting point. But on taxis as well though, it seems to me—I’m an over-paid radio talk show host, so I take like service cars from the building in which I live and sometimes they’ll complain, this is going to change now, but they’ll complain, “I’ve got a chauffeur’s license, those Uber drivers should have chauffeur’s licenses too.” And I say, “Well, why does it always have to be in the direction of punishing other people because you’re being punished right now, how about we agree that there’s a level playing field but it’s a level playing field where everybody is deregulated and nobody is being imposed upon by the city or the state.” What about going in the other direction? John: Right. Let’s Uberise everybody. Dan: Yeah, right. Jim: From what I gathered from what I’ve read recently about the new ordinances that, you know, I guess they wouldn’t have to have a physical and they wouldn’t have to have a drug test. But I have to tell you, to get a chauffeur’s license almost cost annually almost $300 a year. Dan: That’s real money. Jim Yeah, and the people that drive two days a week can’t afford to do that. I happen to drive more than that but a lot people, Uber and actually the riders rely on driver’s availability. Dan: Yeah, that’s right. And that’s why Uber pulled out of Austin because the waiting times were going to increase because they’re not going to have the labor pool of part-time drivers. John: Alright, Jim, let’s have a little fun. Do you have any fun stories of your favorite passengers? Jim: Well, as an actor I think it’s kind of an interesting thing. So I’m an actor and my second week on the job I had a producer from NBC— Dan: Oh, big break. Jim: One from ABC— John: Wow. Jim; One from Fox and a casting director from Ogilvie, all in one week, and I thought, “I’m being paid to audition.” John: That’s awesome. Dan: [Laugh]. Jim: But just the other day, as an example; I had an advertising couple in my car and I was talking to them about what they do and he told me he was in advertising, so I gave him my card. Now, he’s from Ohio, so I took him to the airport and I got out, and he said, “Oh, by the way, you do voiceover, right?” And I said, “Yeah,” he said, “Say this,” and he told me something to say. And then he said, “Well, you know, you’ll probably be hearing from me.” And I just got an email this week, asking me to quote him a rate to do a voiceover for him in Ohio. John: That’s fantastic, Jim, and that would never happen in a cab. Dan: Yeah, also too, Uber is the new waiting tables to be discovered— John: There you go. Dan: Nice, Jim Evans— Jim: That’s it. Dan: Jim Evans, driver for Uber, thanks so much—and actor— John: Actor— Dan: And voiceover— Dan: Voiceover specialist. Dan: Maybe we’ll generate some leads for you from this appearance as well. Jim, thanks so much for joining us appreciate it. Jim: And don’t forget, I’m also a professional metal detectorist. John: Right. Dan: Of course. Jim: I’ve gotten jobs from that. Dan: Alright, thanks, Jim, appreciate your time. Jim: Thank you, have a great day. Thank you very much. Dan: Dan Proft back with John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute. I’m morning show host with Amy Jacobson, Chicago’s Morning AM, so catch our act five to nine am, Monday to Friday. John, Thomas Sowell, one of the great thinkers of the last 50 years, and a great economist as well, he makes a great point about how government works. And presents this question to think about, this is how government manipulates people to spend money they don’t have. Think about this choice, if you were a member of congress and you were faced with cutting funding for a statue to Benedict Arnold, or cutting funding for children’s vaccinations, which would you choose? And, of course, everybody says, “Of course, children’s vaccinations are more important than Benedict Arnold.” So you cut the funding for the statue to Benedict Arnold, who was a traitor to our country, obviously. And so says for people that think linearly and comment in a common sense fashion who answer the question that way, you don’t understand how politics works and this is why it’s so important. Because you’d actually do is fund the statue for Benedict Arnold if you were going to be a politician like how it actually works, you use the money you have to fund the statue to Benedict Arnold and then you decry your political opponents for not funding children’s vaccinations and you end up getting funding for both. John: Right. Dan: That’s actually how it works— John: And keep winning elections. Dan: Right. And shaming your opponents for being ‘moral reprobates’, for being unwilling to fund children’s vaccinations. John: I’ve never heard that story, that’s a great story. Have to read more Sowell. Dan: Yeah, Sowell’s the best and he frames it nicely and seems to me that’s a little bit of what we have going on with the budget impasse in state government in Illinois. And the public sector unions kind of doing the same game Sowell describes with that example, that hypothetical. And this played out this past week with the state’s attention turned on Mount Sterling Illinois, not a place that usually draws a lot of statewide attention. But there was a city council vote as to whether or not to shut off water to the prison because the state is in arrears to the prisons to pay their utility bills. John: Right, their water bill, and so the vote was whether or not to shut off the water and ironic as we’re about to here, is the AFSCME member who works at that prison said, “Don’t do it now because you’ll get crushed by doing it alone. Let’s conspire with others and create crisis.”Audio Clip: —you intend to pursue this shut off action, everyone in our community and everyone in every other adversely affected community, would benefit by you building a coalition. Danville, Decatur, Galesburg, Canton, Pitchfield, Lincoln, Logan, Jacksonville, these are all small communities that are unsure in the same place. If we fight this alone, this is one of those losing battles. You build a coalition and you go forward, if you— Dan: Yeah and so to your point the idea—and we’re talking about Western Illinois, the Western Illinois Correctional Center here. Let’s get everybody together to manufacture this crisis to put pressure on governor Rauner, specifically, to cave and increase access and do what we want to continue life in Illinois as we’ve come to enjoy it. John: And there’s several parts to that that are interesting. Number one is it’s a conspiracy to extort, which is what it essentially is. And I think the truth of what their strategy is revealed, they care more about AFSCME members than they do you and anybody else in anyplace in the city. They care more about their lives than they do somebody whose struggling and perhaps their program is not getting funded or for somebody whose development disabled, somebody who has autism, whatever you want to pick. Whatever the social services are that you happen to like that aren’t getting funded right now, those are less important than the AFSCME members, they’re at the front of the line. And then, most importantly I think about the whole thing, is the way that the AFSCME leadership—I don’t think this guy wrote these talking points— Dan: Right. John: They came down from On High, it’s a coordinated effort. And notice who their villain is, their villain is the governor, because that’s where the battle is, the governor’s negotiating the new AFSCME contract on behalf of all the taxpayers. Their villain is not Mike Madigan who’s the one who actually failed to pass a budget, remember, it’s Madigan who failed to pass a budget. Dan: Not to mention, governor Rauner again, been here 18 months, the state has 220 billion dollars in debt. I don’t think that was racked up in the last 18 months, so the point is, he inherited the worst governed state in the nation. The state with the largest financial crisis, the worst rated in terms of credit agency State the Nation, and he was elected to do the difficult things for structural reform to bring Illinois back from the precipice of economic collapse. And he’s being met with resistance at every turn because there are some who benefitted while Illinois has declined and they’re mainly in AFSCME and SEIU and the Teacher’s Union. John: Right, and the holy alliance is that AFSCME, of course, wants better contracts for their members and they take their political donations and they give it primarily to speaker Madigan and senate president Cullerton. Dan: And then we should point out that the Mount Sterling City Council blinked, they didn’t vote to shut off the water to the prison. They’re worried about losing jobs and having prisoners transferred if the facility is not going to be operable— John: Right. Dan: And losing local jobs, and I understand that. But it shows you what AFSCME’s willing to do in order to get what they want, and it’s important to talk about AFSCME because it’s the largest public sector union, representing most the most amount of state workers, 37,000 state workers. And it’s also one, in addition to the budget impasse, that has a collective bargaining impasse with governor Rauner. He has successfully negotiated 18 different collective bargaining units, with public sector unions who represent smaller groups of state employees that all have taken a wage freeze because of where the state finds itself financially, as everybody knows or should know by this point. And AFSCME wants a 29% increase over the life of their contract because that’s how used to getting their way they are. John: And, they’re willing to use prisoners as pawns in this battle. Now, prisoners are not the most sympathetic audience but think about that, they’re willing to shut off water to a prison full of people who are living lives, serving their time for the crime they committed. They’re just pawns in this fight to them. And it boggles the mind how far they will go. Dan: Oh, everybody is a pawn. I mean, we know SEIU and their partners in crime, as it were, yeah Pam Harris take governor Quinn and the state all the way to the Supreme Court to get SEIU off the backs of families who have a development disabled child when SEIU tried to unionize parents against their children. So the rapaciousness of the public sector unions is—it seems to me the central problem that governor Rauner faces, we spend a lot of time and there’s a lot of ink devoted to kind of the binary Rauner versus Madigan or Rauner versus Cullerton discussions. And that’s easy for a lazy Chicago press corps and Springfield press corps. But the real story is these institutional powers that transcend any election cycle, that transcend the career of any politician, even Mike Madigan, even John Cullerton. And that’s the public sector unions. John: Hey, when we do the last segment today, let’s discuss the solution to that problem. Dan: Ok, I think that’s what we call a ‘tease’ in the business. Dan: Dan Proft back with John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, illinoispolicy.org. And John, one of the component parts of governor Rauner’s turnaround agenda is a true property tax freeze and, boy, could we use it. Illinoisans, not just in Chicago anymore but Illinois in general, pay the highest property taxes in the nation. And the property taxes are pushing people out of their homes and out of the state, quite literally. So a bit of a protest, different ways to protest that and one, get involved in the public policy arena, the other is kind of illustrate the problem with point. And one person who took a bit of a creative approach to protesting the skyrocketing property taxes in their community, is Dan Alword, he’s a McHenry County resident and he joins us now. Dan, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. Dan A: Thank you. Dan: So you went to McHenry County Treasurer’s Office to pay your property tax bill, and how did you go about doing that to express your displeasure? Dan A: Well, I paid them in singles. I was going to hand them a teabag but I forgot the teabag. Dan: So you paid them in singles which is, frankly, a lot more generous than paying them in pennies, bringing in— John: I was just thinking about that, you’ll need a semi-truck. Dan: But— Dan A: I estimated the weight of the pennies and it would be close to 4,000 pounds. Dan: Ok, that sounds like a government problem. But how was that received when you paid them singles? Dan A: Unbelievable. I think it has brought out the anger of the people, so I have received hundreds of support, people supporting what I’ve done. I appreciate that but I’m not doing this for me personally, yes I am partially, yes of course, but I’m doing it for the state of Illinois, for their losing residents which are losing income tax. They’re losing businesses because the taxation, the real estate taxes. And mostly for the citizens, and if you think that you’re renting a house and you’re not paying real estate taxes, you’re dead wrong. John: Exactly. Dan A: Anybody that knows anything about business, that’s all calculated in your rent. So when they increase the real-estate tax, they’re increasing your rent. John: Right, and I think you made a very good point, every time the tax payer leaves the state, Dan, they take the tax revenue with them off their income and in Illinois we have the highest per household taxes paid of the Midwest, a little over fifty-one, fifty-two hundred dollars. So every time you get into a situation where people’s property taxes start to cost more than their mortgage, which is the ultimate version of being under water, and people abandon ship and go elsewhere, the property tax base declines. And obviously, all the other taxes that flowed decline, and we’re accelerating, unfortunately. When we first started tracking net out migration, the rate a which people leave, there’s one person every eleven minutes, now we’re having people leave every five minutes. Dan A: Ok, that’s doubled since the last time I checked it. And my figure might have been a year or two ago because at that time it was one every ten minutes, and I predict that next year, because of these hikes, because they’re not going to stop unless we stop them. If we stick together we will win— Dan: Ha. Dan A: We have to stick together. It will double next year and businesses are also leaving. John: Yeah. Dan: How long have you been in McHenry County, Dan? Dan A: We moved here in 1957, however, it was my grandmother’s property. It was a summer home and it was built by her brother, my great uncle in 1911. Dan: Wow. So you like see your family settled McHenry County basically. Dan A: Well, my great uncle built it, it was designed as a replica of a castle in Spain. The chandelier and the gates coming into the living room are out of that Spanish castle, he did it on a smaller scale. This is just a summer home. Dan: So you’ve been there for almost 60 years, just even in the last 10 or 15 years, what are the changes you’ve noticed in your community? Dan A: Well, it’s grown a lot, when we first came here there was 2,500 population, now there’s 25,000. The amount of people that are leaving that’s going to decrease, what they don’t understand is by raising the property values assessments, they’re depreciating property value. John: Exactly. Dan A: So, if a person looks at a house such as mine, they have it assessed at $399,000. Ok, when somebody comes to buy this house, they’re going to look at the house, they’re also going to calculate how that comes out with the real-estate taxes, it’s going to be about twelve, thirteen hundred dollars a month in just property taxes— Dan: Right. Dan A: When you calculate that into the payment they’re not going to buy it. Dan: Yeah, because you’re going to pay for your house twice, or almost twice with a 30-year mortgage, then you’re going to pay at least half a time, if not full time, just on property taxes and what kind of investment is that? John: Right. Dan A: I’ll tell you, honestly, I thought of selling it and I had a real-estate agent come out and I told her, I said, “This is the worst investment I have ever made in my entire life.” And she looked at me kind of funny and she said, “How could you say that?” And I says, “Because I have paid over $200,000 since I bought the house in ‘84 from my mother, in real-estate taxes. I’ve put in about $60,000 in improvements which raised the value of the house, which I had to pay more taxes on.” Yeah, it’s a Catch 22, you can’t win. Dan: Yeah. Dan A: So when it gets to a point where I can’t afford the taxes anymore, I’m going to leave the state. Dan: Well, Dan Alword, McHenry County resident, we appreciate your example of peaceful protest underscore serious issue. Appreciate you joining us, thank you. Dan A: I thank you for your interest and thank the people of Illinois for their support. Dan: Thanks, Dan, and that could almost be Illinois’ slogan; Come to Illinois, make the worst investment of your life. John: [Laughing]. Dan: Dan Proft back with John Tillman, CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute. John, you’re a keen observer of what’s happening in Springfield, as we are nearing the end of the fiscal year without a budget, even a stopgap budget, without funding for K through 12 education. And so the concern about if many schools will be able to open on time if that does not come to past. How do you see this shaking out between the governor and the general assembly? John: So what’s happened so far is, the leaders and the governor have all spoken over a period of time and essentially it’s gotten down to a simple thing; a six-month budget that the governor’s proposed through his partners in the house and senate; Leader Radogno and Leader Durkin. And six-month stopgap budget to get through the election so that then they can put a grand bargain back on the table. They’ve essentially solved all the problem but one issue. So full funding of the schools, no cuts schools, every school’s made whole, schools will open on time. Social services are fully funded, some key things for the democrats are fully funded in terms of the social service areas that the republicans also agree with, except for one thing, Dan. There’s one thing sitting out there, which is that the democrats would like to avoid out with Chicago democrat taxpayers. They want the people in Mundelein or McHenry, DuPage County and around the state to bail out the 207 million dollars Chicago public schools’ complete mismanagement for decades. Dan: Yeah. John: That’s the holding up, that’s what’s being held up. Dan: Well as a Chicago property taxpayer I’m incline to be supportive of that, if I weren’t so principled. John: Right. Thank God for your principles, Dan. Dan: Yeah, because my 13% property tax increase that’s going to compound with additional 13 to 20% increases for the foreseeable future I anticipate in Chicago, are no fun. But the results of decades and decades and decades of mismanagement the Chicago didn’t go bankrupt overnight— John: Right. Dan: It happened gradually, now suddenly they don’t have any answers except other people’s money outside the corporate boundaries. John: Right. Dan: And governor Rauner said a couple of things very clearly, and he said them before the Crane’s Editorial Board this week, that’s the business journal for people who hate business, “No, I’m not doing a tax increase without structural reform, I’m not signing unbalanced budget, constitutionally I’m—” John: He actually takes that provision seriously. Dan: Yeah. “I’m not going to do it. And also, not bailing out Chicago, the bankruptcy is a better option. It doesn’t have to be a bad word, it’s an opportunity to reorganize.” John: Right. And I think that he has nailed it exactly right and I think the other thing that’s happening is that the sort of a narrative arc of all of this has shifted. And I think we are seeing the pressure now move off of him because he’s right about this, and people instinctively agree that what you just laid out is how it should be. So now the pressure has moved over to Cullerton and Madigan for the first time, and there are some behind the scenes things going on where I think they are feeling pressure like they have not so far. They have a looming deadline in the city of Chicago for a bond payment at the end of July and they’re going to have a hard time making that, unless they decide to bail themselves out. Dan: Very interesting, and so pressure comes from a lot of different directions. There’s the pressure from the electorate, but then there’s the pressure from concentrated interests. And go back to a conversation we were having earlier on the show about the public sector unions and how they really rule the roost. You’ve talked about—yes Madigan may be the most powerful politician in the state but he’s not in that position without his public sector union financiers. So how does the governor, how does the Illinois electorate kind of break that unholy alliance? John: You have to elect reformers, whether you’re a democrat or a republican you have to decide who you’re going support. Are you going to support somebody that’s going to go to Springfield—when they’re in your home district they’re going to lie to your face and tell you that they’re a reformer. And then they’re going to go to Springfield and do what Mike Madigan tells them, because Mike Madigan puts in their campaign manager, Mike Madigan puts in the legislative staff, Mike Madigan decides how your campaign is going to be run and then he funds your campaign. And so they go down there and become beholden to Mike Madigan. And Mike Madigan actually doesn’t care about any of this all he actually cares about is making money off of the system through property tax appeals which he does with his law firm representing other real-estate interests, representing nursing homes. This is how he’s become a millionaire while being speaker. So what happens in your life doesn’t really matter so long as he keeps milking that cow. And so the way people get out of this is sort of like Dan who we had on earlier, you decide to get engaged and there’s lots of ways to get engaged, but people have to get engaged and pay attention to their local state rep and state senate races they got coming up this fall. Start paying attention to your—not just your congressman who goes to Washington, who’s the person that represents you that goes to Springfield. And, Dan, you’re a political expert and very engaged with these things yourself, as you know there are differences in people’s points of view on who’s a true reformer and who’s the fake reformer. Dan: Yeah— John: You know the difference. Dan: The challenge is, and this is a challenge the republicans have had for some time, that they have not really successfully managed, is to connect those dots, right? John: Right. Dan: Just to make people understand that that nice person who’s your state rep and you see at the Friday night fish fry, goes to Springfield and does the bidding of somebody that you say you don’t like, somebody that you say you don’t want to see their agenda pursued. And then comes back and tells you how independent and courageous they are, but the record reflects something else. It’s been very challenging to connect those dots. John: Well, I think part of it is we have to do a better job, those who get involved in politics, and of course, these are my personal opinions, not those of the Institute. We have to do a better job in our messaging and communication of connecting the dots, that this individual who’s great to go to the barbecue with is actually the guy who’s raising your property taxes. He’s raising your sales taxes, he’s the reason that your school’s not as good as it could be, he’s the reason that you’re wondering whether you should send your child to an in state school or perhaps over the Missouri or Indiana, wherever. That guy right there, that’s the reason. So he’s really fun at the barbecue? Let’s have him around more often by having him not go to Springfield anymore and replacing him. Dan: Yeah, right. And here’s something else too that I think sometimes people forget because you get use to—and this is the power of the incumbent, you get used to voting for the same name. Here’s an idea, contemplate the notion that the current state rep or state senator is not the only person that can do that job. John: Right. Dan: There are many, many people that live in your neighborhood that could go to Springfield and do as good and probably much better than some of the people down there now. And so maybe, maybe, take a page out of our courageous friends in Britain this week and maybe take a little bit of a step outside your comfort zone to say, “I’m not comfortable with the status quo and I’m not going to settle for it anymore, and I’m not just going to give in to hopelessness. I’m going to roll the dice on something maybe I haven’t done previously, and vote against the guy that I’ve been voting for all these years.” Dan: Dan Proft back with John Tillman, CEO of the Online Policy Institute. So I just mentioned the Bexit vote, kind of a shock to the global system, particularly the elites in the global system. Whether they are in Britain— John: It’s just a dark day for the elites, Dan— Dan: Yeah. John: But people have asserted their authority. Dan: And it’s funny too because this has been a long time coming. So the whole unanticipated decision by Brits to leave the EU was really not that anticipated. If you were watching and listening to what people were actually saying, and I’ll go back to Dan Hannon, who’s brilliant, brilliant guy, a member European Parliament and happy not to be anymore. Or soon not to be because— John: How unusual is that alone, right? Dan: Right, right. He was happy to be relieved of his title, he was on the ‘leave’ side, this is a speech he gave where he dressed down then prime minister Gordon Brown, in 2009 in Brussels.Audio Clip: You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt. And when you repeat in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others, that we are well placed to weather the storm, I have to tell you you sound like a Brezhnev era operatic, giving the party line. You know and we know, and you know that we know that it’s nonsense. Everyone knows that Britain is worse off than any other country as we go into these hard times. The IMF has said so, the European Commission has said so, the markets have said so, which is why our currency has devalued by 30% and soon the voters too will get their chance to say so. They can see what the markets have already seen, the you are the devalued prime minister of a devalued government. John: Holy cow, I’ve not heard that— Dan: Yeah. Oh, yeah. John: That is amazing. The political truth certainly, wow. Dan: Hannon drops the hammer as only he can, but there are others, there are others who are essentially saying the same thing. When I came to the tax side and the world government side, when it came to the kind of open borders matters— John: Destruction of our culture? Dan: Yeah, the idea that—it seems to me the idea that sovereignty means something, the integrity of our country, our borders for the purpose of economic security as well as physical security. And that’s something that frankly is an issue, not just in country, it’s also an issue in the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois, the idea of kind of the sovereignty of a city government and the first responsibility of this city government in Chicago to provide for the physical security of its residents, which it does not do. John: Right. Dan: And, obviously, the fiscal matters at the state level that we talk about routinely. John: Exactly. There are three things that essentially have to happen in society to have a civil society—more than three but three core things. You just touched on one, physical security, economic opportunity that you can be prosperous in your own life and control your own economic destiny and then, education as a proxy for a chance to rise, the opportunity. And in the city of Chicago we’re failing on all three and the people of Britain just voted the way they did because they felt that the huge regulatory yoke of Europe was squeezing them in every one of those areas. I just happened to be in London a couple of weeks ago and this was the issue of the— Dan: Sure. John: It dominated every conversation, and Dan: Seventy-two percent turnout, though, highest turnout for a national election in 25 years. John: It was amazing and what I think—I think ‘exit’ was up five points the time I was there so it’s tightened a little bit since then in the final result here. But I think it’s interesting about the discussion then, was—I know this is going to shock you, Dan, I was with a bunch of intellectuals— Dan: Yeah. John: They let me in anyway, I was mostly waiting tables, but it was interesting that what we been calling libertarians or conservatarians over there, kind of called liberals in the classic liberal sense or conservatives. But there was a mixed view of this, there wasn’t consensus, some people—even on the right, as we would call it, were scared to vote for the exit and they thought there would be carnage. I think this is one of the greatest things ever, because when you tear down a wall you have to chip away at the mortar to get the brick out. You don’t just attack the wall, you chip away at the mortar, this is a big chunk of mortar coming out for the world. Dan: You know what’s all very also interesting about it and it’s instructive here locally in Chicago and Illinois, is it was led by seniors. Young people overwhelmingly voted to remain and it was 50 plus that voted overwhelmingly to leave. So the idea of the people who, frankly, voted for, supported entrance into the EU some two decades ago, two decades later come full circle and— John: Do over. Dan: Well, they grew up, and they learned a lesson and they essentially said, I think a lot of them—and this is labor types as well as conservative types, are saying, “This may be the last chance to retain the Britain that I know.” And, boy, isn’t that the conversation we’re having in Chicago and Illinios.