Proft: SO I was at the City Club yesterday, participating in a panel discussion to address this vexing question: Why are people leaving Illinois? You got any clues, out there in our listening audience? Any idea why people would be leaving our FAIR state? Only Illinois and West Virginia have seen population loss for the last 4 years, 225K have left Illinois in the last two years, net, that's the worst outmigration in the country. People moving in making $55K, people moving out making $75K, so the upward mobility spread is also the largest in the nation. We have seen the most anemic recovery of manufacturing jobs in the midwest since the depths of the Great Recession, that's about 1/10 of what Michigan has seen, via comparison. We are actually LOSING net population, which is why Pennsylvania has surpassed Illinois as the fifth-most populated state in the nation. And Rhode Island's not far behind us now.
Jacobson: Wow. So they had you gathered to ask WHY people are leaving Illinois?
Proft: Yeah. 312-642-5600, Turnkey Dot Pro Answer Line. 64636DA, Turnkey Dot Pro Text Line. You got any clues? Because the elites that attend these City Club lunches, the professionals and the deep thinkers in, kind of, the establishment, C-Suites and powers of government, educational institutions and so forth, that's who attends the City Club. It's a Left group, though I appreciate the fact that they invited me to give an alternative perspective, and they've done a better job of inviting conservatives as of late, so that's good, you're getting more diversity of viewpoint, and real discussion, and in some respect, more opportunities for jeremiads like I delivered yesterday throughout the lunch. But, so...there's a Simon Institute study...Paul Simon Institute down at Southern Illinois University, they did say that half the people want to leave the state. HALF! (Jacobson: Half?) Half of THIRTEEN MILLION PEOPLE want to get out of here! *sarcastically* That's not an indictment, though. And the reason that was most often cited? Taxes. *sarcastically* But I know that's not...can't really be the case. So what are people REALLY trying to say. *sarcasm ends* That's essentially what they think! That's essentially what (?), going "No no no, I hear...I know you said taxes, but let's talk about what's really at the root of that, because it can't be taxes! It can't be what you're telling me....it's gotta be something else. So cm...what is it really?" So I made the point that...well, I made many, but it was more entertaining to listen to Rodrick Sawyer, Chicago Alderman, and Mary Mitchell, columnist for the Sun-Times, the panel moderated by our friend Kristen McQueary at the Tribune. Listen to them tell us what the problem is.
Jacobson: What did they say?
Proft: Mary Mitchell thinks it's largely a marketing problem (Jacobson: Oh!), because she was recently on a Caribbean cruise, and people, when she said she was from Illinois in discussions with her fellow travelers...probably in more ways than one...she sai...they made fun of her. So we've got a marketing problem.
Jacobson: Ohh...made fun of her for what? Living there with the high taxes, or with all the crime?
Proft: Yeah. All of the above. But it's just a marketing problem. Yeah, we just have to do better Chamber of Commerce Commercials. Rodrick Sawyer said, despite us having the highest black unemployment rate of any urban center in the country, but everything is going well in his south side work...yeah he's pickin' em up and puttin' em down. But his big idea? Which tells you ever...he had two. One is to modernize our sales tax to generate more revenue for the city (*Jacobson starts laughing*), which tells you everything you need to know about the perspective, the perspective is "How do we get more revenue for the city?" That's the government-centric viewpoint, that's the government-centric culture in this state that has destroyed it. Which is why, by the way, we're the only state...well I think Ohio may, but it's much closer, Ohi...Illinois, 175k more government jobs than manufacturing jobs. Because that's how you have a robust, dynamic economy that attracts people and investment, right? GOVERNMENT JOBS. Government growth. Hmm. So, that was one idea, and the other is a Marshall Plan for the urban centers. (Jacobson: What's...) Infrastructure! Rebuild the urban centers! Public financing of infrastructure rebuilding of the urban centers, with money that we don't have. Junk-rated city. Junk-rated CPS. Illinois ONE CLICK above junk-rated. By the way, during Governor Rauner, the "turnaround artist", Illinois' credit rating has been downgraded EIGHT TIMES. So...there ya...got your ideas! You got...you got your marketing, need to spend more money and grow government, and we need to get more revenue into the government so they can spend more money. Does that make sense to you, do you think that's the way back? The way to attract people to come back here, instead of flee to such tropical destinations as NW Indiana? Kenosha? Des Moines?
Jacobson: I gotta tell ya, one of my neighbors, she's been here for 30+ years. I saw her in church, and she was crying, she said "I am just heartbroken. My husband's retiring in April, and we cannot afford to live here because of the property taxes." I mean, these were pillars of our community, and just broke my heart, she was like "What did I do wrong, Amy? I should have taken that job when I had the chance, I should have worked extra hours...", I said "No! Your government FAILED you, you're NOT a failure!"
Proft: HEY HEY HEY, hey now...I...
Jacobson: There's a big difference. And I said "What about the Senior exemption?" That's only $500 less a year. That's NOTHING!
Proft: Doesn't cover anything, not enough to keep up, it's a joke.
Jacobson: It IS a joke! So now they have to move to Wisconsin! We have to say goodbye to YET ANOTHER neighbor!
Proft: So, here's the problem with that, and I'm gonna quote Rodrick Sawyer, the Alderman from Chicago...because obviously I need to defer to our political ruling class, office-holders...they know more...they know everything because we defer to them, so I'll join in the club. What YOU'RE doing there is a problem, and I'll let you know what the problem is.
Jacobson: Oh, I'm having a timeout now?
Proft: You're blaming people. All you're doing is playing the old blame game, Amy! And you can't blame the people in charge. You know why?
Proft: Because they're working on it.
Jacobson: Oh, okay. In the meantime...
Proft: And there's PLENTY of blame to go around! *laughs* You should HEAR these people! And I was very aggressive and very argumentative...
Jacobson: NO! You? That's not like you Dan.
Proft: Well, I mean...eve...more so. And it was not just pointed at the simps that were a part of my panel, it was also pointed at the audience.
Jacobson: Were they under-processing what you were saying, in denial?
Proft: I dunno, I dunno. Here's what I think; you have to hit people in this state, rhetorically, with a 2x4 across the forehead REPEATEDLY before anything penetrates. Because otherwise they fall back...and this is Republicans too...fall back on these TIRED bromides about "we'reworkingonitnotasbadasyouthinkplentyofblametogoaround...I'm fiscal conservative, we need to get together work on stuff, get in a room, hash things out...working families, we're for working families, it needs to be more fair." All of this pablum that is spewed every direction, and it's all LIES. And people in that audience are as big a perp...generally speaking, particularly some of the members of the Press Corps that were there...are as big a perpetrators of the lies as the panelists. As the politicians. As the op-ed writers. They all preach good government, "I'm for good, honest government!" And they support the same government. And that's what the voters do too, and that's what they'll probably do on March 20th, and what they'll probably do in some form or fashion in November. And that's why people will continue to leave, because people who know better, and aren't the beneficiaries of the Ponzi schemes at present...and by the way, the benefits of those Ponzi schemes to those beneficiaries...you better take your money and run and a lot of people are, because those Ponzi schemes are going to collapse...it's just a matter of time. Just a matter of time. It will come crashing down...it will be visiting upon your doorstep. Nobody gets out of this racket without incident, except Ed Burke and Mike Madigan and the political ruling class. But, that's the play. That's the play. And so people who aren't in on it, who aren't benefiting from it, are going to leave, if and when they can. And the only people who really get punished...the Champagne socialists who stay aren't really going to get punished, because they're kind of isolated from terrible public policy. The people who are punished are actually one group of beneficiaries, that are treated as serfs by the feudal lords. That's the beneficiaries of transfer payments. Who are kept down through the Welfare state who are not in control of their own lives, and the Champagne socialists think they're doing somebody a favor. And they're not, they're keeping people down, they're oppressing people...disproportionately minorities, but they're oppressing people. And what's Mary Mitchell say? This was the last question, this was GREAT. The last question was "One public policy that you would...the best opportunity for...to improve the situation with...one public policy."
Jacobson: What'd she say?
Proft: Jobs, jobs, jobs.
Jacobson: *quietly, in shock* That was her answer?
Proft: Yeah. That's her answer, because she doesn't HAVE an answer.
Jacobson: What did Rodrick Sawyer say?
Proft: The Marshall plan for the inner cities.
Jacobson: Oh, oh. Okay.
Proft: Jobs, jobs, jobs. So one guy says government spending, and the op-ed columnist who routinely moralizes about Chicago being the most segregated country...or, the most segregated city in the country, OH BY THE WAY who's been in charge of it for 100 years? YOUR PARTY. *laughing*. YOUR PARTY. Routinely talks about the lack of opportunity, the lack of quality education...who's been in charge of it, Mary? Your party, your people, okay? Her answer was jobs, jobs, jobs. And if I wasn't there, you know what the reaction would have been from most of that crowd? To bark at her like seals! *Seal noises and clapping* Harumph, harumph, harumph! It was like having a panel with Governor William J. Le Petomane and Hedley Lamarr. It's a Blazing Saddles skit, it's not a panel discussion! Jobs jobs jobs...but Mary Mitchell supports all of the policies that DESTROY capital formation and job creation. And yet she decries jobs jobs jobs. And you know what? She's like a majority of the electorate in this state. So, when you're in...looking at the face of that, and listening to either the disingenuousness of it or the ignorance of it, or some combination of the two, what are you expecting Right-thinking people to do? What do you expect productive people to do? Stay and take it, like they are BOUND to the land in Illinois? No, they're not. They're not gonna do it, and they are proving they're not gonna do it. Mike in Riverside, you're on Chicago's Morning Answer.
Mike (caller): Good morning, how are you? (Proft: Good.) Our family of six...the kids are all out of the house now, but none of them are planning on returning to Illinois, and my wife and I are packing the boxes *laughs* today...to leave. And the primary reason being, just as you said, taxes, too high of taxes, we just can't keep up, and employment opportunities. Just too few...
Proft: Where are you moving?
Mike (caller): ...and just a strong desire to not join in on the game and find government employment.
Proft: Okay, all good reasons...to where are you moving?
Mike (caller): *slight laugh* Well, the political climate probably isn't too much different, but out to Oregon. So that's where I'm from originally, but I've been here 35 years.
Proft: Thanks for the call, Mike. Sorry to see you go, but I understand what you're saying. Dennis in Villa Park.
Dennis (Caller): Yeah, the comment about 13 million people wanting to move out of the state (sic), how many of them voted for the people who created this mess? (Proft: Absolutely.) And I have an interesting thing, I'm close to retirement, and I have a cousin who's very liberal saying the same thing, we discuss about retirement, HE said he wants to move out of state. And I said "You can't move out of the state, 'cuz wherever you go, you're gonna bring your stupid voting with ya!"
Proft: *laughs* "Move to a different state than I'm moving!" Vince in St. Charles.
Vince (Caller): Okay, so I move into this townhouse in St. Charles, I got good credit, it's a nice, no-basement townhouse, and then my tax bill is $9K, (Jacobson: Oof!), that's without insurance...by the way I enjoy the show...now I'm working...I'm paying for two mortgages. I'm OUT of this state! If it's the last thing I do, I'm outta here. I'm gonna vote Republican, I hate...I mean, sorry, (?), but yeah, I'm outta this state, first thing I ge...first chance I get. It's gonna be some work, because I have to find a job, but I have to get out. If it's when I retire, that's when it has to be, because I'm done, I'm leavin'.
Proft: Thanks for the call. So, Vince in...
Jacobson: I have a friend who has a second job JUST to pay her property taxes.
Proft: Well yeah, sure. I...
Jacobson: Think of how ridiculous that is. And she makes pretty good money, but her property taxes are CRAZY high. '
Proft: How many people...how many people the property taxes are higher than their mortgage payment and interest? A lot of people, a lot of people. DESTROYING the equity!
Jacobson: My mom has the same...my mom who lives in Tucson has the same size house as mine, pays $1400 A YEAR.
Proft: And you pay?
Jacobson: ...a lot.
Proft: Well, it's public record.
Jacobson: Like...$12K. From $10(K) to $12(K)...just like that! And I got a garbage tax now, and a sewer tax, it's just...crazy.
Proft: Vince in St. Charles and all these other people moving, while we have your attention, don't forget you can listen online...
Proft: To the show.
Jacobson: That's right! Download the AM560 App!
Proft: We're gonna have a bigger audience OUT of state. But this is great, as I said yesterday. The Illinois politicians that you all voted for...Brady and Durkin, the two Republican leaders in the Legislature that you all voted for, been there a combined 40 years. Madigan and Cullerton, a combined 80 years. Same ol' people, same ol' policies. They're getting Illinois moving...to Wisconsin, and Indiana, and Tennessee, and Kentucky, and Florida. Jay in rural Indiana...
Jay (Caller): Yes, so the other gentleman kind of stole my thunder. I live in Indiana, moved from Illinois in 1995. There's all these people that want to move to Indiana or Wisconsin, like you said, but they want to bring their Democrat ways with them. They're just destroying OUR state now. (Proft: Yeah.) Like in (?) if you look, it's way more Blue.
Proft: That's a good point, Jay. I would suggest you build a wall, and make Illinois pay for it.