Ahead of Donald Trump's planned speech on immigration, Dan Proft & Amy Jacobson appeared on CNN.
Ahead of Donald Trump's planned speech on immigration, Dan Proft & Amy Jacobson appeared on CNN.
Ahead of Donald Trump's planned speech on immigration, Dan Proft & Amy Jacobson appeared on CNN.
This commentary originally appeared in The Chicago Tribune on 7/11/16.
By, Dan Proft
We need to come together as a community to unify so we can have the important conversation required to begin the healing.
Is there anything more vapid than a politician's patois in the aftermath of an act of evil? Even if no politician has said that exact sentence, it's a too-familiar message.
Rather than confronting the evil that culminated with the murders of five police officers Thursday in Dallas, the public discourse is polluted by cable news anchor-bots and their pabulum-puking pundits with banal obsessing about the acceptable parameters of the "important conversation" that never actually materializes.
Instead of dialogue, let me offer this monologue.
I am not a victim because I'm white and some lunatic in Dallas wanted to (and did) kill white people.
The Dallas murders are not a proxy for the state of race relations in America.
The Dallas murders do not represent an "epidemic" of hate, hate crimes or blacks targeting whites.
There is plenty of intellectual room between "cops can do no wrong" and "cops are all racists waging war against minorities." The reasoned room in between is occupied by most of the Americans who are not on television, radio or Twitter.
White police officers keep black families safe. Black police officers keep white families safe.
Blacks mourn the deaths of white officers. Whites mourn the deaths of black officers. And we all, including police officers, mourn the deaths of those wrongly killed by police. One-third of Chicago's roughly 12,000-person police force is black. Do you think they care about Walter Scott being shot in the back in South Carolina or Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times? I suspect they do.
Police officers should be held to a higher standard than civilians with respect to the use of force — but not to an unhuman standard. Police have the task of de-escalating confrontations. But civilians can help. A little compliance goes a long way to ensure all parties leave a scene with their bodies and rights intact.
The problem is not "extremism on all sides." This is another phrase stripped of all meaning through repeated misuse.
If we are ever to get to a conversation of any consequence, we must dispense with the left-right and black-white binaries and talk of those who use persuasion versus those who employ coercion regardless of the issue to be advanced or the grievance to be remedied.
This is not a fail-safe. People get persuaded to do all kinds of terrible things.
Thus, we must also confront the matter of evil versus righteousness.
This is where we get to the evil that lurks in the hearts of men and spreads to their gray matter. Addressing that which rots our core and subverts our decency is actually where the healing can begin.
The "important conversation" then isn't one of disconnected means and ends but rather of moral clarity about how one legitimately connects means to ends in a civil society.
President Barack Obama said after the Dallas shootings, "America is not as divided as some have suggested."
Despite his best efforts — from his "beer summit" in 2009 forward and for largely different reasons than he suggests (we are not united around your gun control proposals, Mr. President) — he is correct.
We are not as divided.
And we will not be so long as we ignore the professional agitators and the demagogues who decry incendiary rhetoric by using it.
And we will not be so long as we reject identity politics.
And we will not be so long as we dismiss guilt-by-association gambits.
And we will not be so long as we refuse the privation of reason that is required to foment racial discord.
And we will not be so long as we remember how we productively interact with persons who possess different characteristics than us all day, every day.
If we can navigate all of these obstacles and those who erect them, perhaps we can finally have that important conversation.
The Republican purge targets 13 ward committeemen that say they were each elected in last months primary and some are angrily fighting back. Find out what Dan Proft thinks on Fox News Chicago.
"This speaks to leadership. Leaders set the standards for their organizations and then they hold their organization accountable." Kathleen Murphy of the Illinois Opportunity Project appeared on FOX Chicago this morning to discuss Donald Trump's campaign managers battery charges.
Craig Wall: Joining us to talk about it Kathleen Murphy of the Illinois Opportunity Project. Kathleen, good to see you, as always. Kathleen Murphy: Good to see you. Craig Wall: So the Trump campaign say they’re not going to fire Lewandowski. Trump says that he is absolutely innocent of these charges. What do you make of all this, and what sort of impact is this going to have? Kathleen Murphy: I don’t know if it’s going to have an impact with his voters. They tend to support him no matter what, but this speaks to leadership; I mean, leaders set the standards for their organization and then they hold their organization accountable to those standards. Republicans should be paying attention to it, because their complaints have been there for eight years, we’ve had a president who wouldn’t hold the IRS accountable for targeting organizations that were related to political and religious… because of their political and religious affiliations, or he wouldn’t hold the State Department accountable for the death of an Ambassador and three navy seals. This goes to leadership. Craig Wall: Let me ask you, Ted Cruz’s also come out to say what this really is is a great example of a culture surrounding Trump’s campaign - a campaign he believes is based on insults and things of that nature, and attacks. What do you think of that? Kathleen Murphy: Sure, I mean it could have all been cleared up. It could have all gone away with a simple apology. That’s all Michelle Fields ever wanted; instead they attacked her reputation. They lied about what happened. They called her delusional, like you said. She had no choice but to defend herself; and how do you defend yourself against a man who’s midnight Tweets make headline news? You have to have your story validated. Craig Wall: The other thing we’re talking this morning – that’s not the only bad news for the Trump campaign. There’s a former strategist for the pro Donald Trump super PAC that wrote an open letter yesterday, pretty much asking Trump supporters to back away from the candidate, explaining why she believes she is not who he says he is. That he’s grossly unprepared to be commander in chief, and goes on and on and on about how she isn’t convinced he even wants the White House at all. How damaging can something like this be? Kathleen Murphy: I don’t think it’s damaging, again, with his supporters, because they support him no matter what; this becomes a bullet point under his laundry list of negatives, right? What she did – it’s the concern people have about his ability to be commander in chief, and she speaks and I agree with her; these Easter attacks were horrible, and it really underscored how little he understands about he Middle East. Craig Wall: Right, and what we’re talking about here; her name is Stephanie Cegielski, and I think we’ve got her quote here for you. She says, what set her off was an essay. This essay was a tweet that Trump put out on Sunday night, and it read “Another radical Islamic attack, this time in Pakistan, targeting Christian women & children. At least 67 dead, 400, injured”. And he ends it by saying “I alone can solve.” And this set her off, because she said “No one can solve that”. Kathleen Murphy: No, but it took away any credibility he had from the APAC conference. Craig Wall: Alright. Kathleen, thanks for being here. We appreciate it, as always. Kathleen Murphy: Thank you.
Dan Proft discussed the results of the Illinois primary on CBS Chicago.
CBS Chicago Anchor: Welcome back to our analysts now Avis, and Dan I want to start with you this time. So when you see a race like this, where there seems to be greater implications about who's supporting who. Is he, Dunkin, tied to Madigan, what are your thoughts on the actual outcome tonight? Dan Proft: This is a proxy fight between the Governor and the Speaker. Between Governor Rauner and Speaker Madigan. That's what it was, that's why there was so much money in. Kim Fox was a victory for the anti-establishment. Juliana Stratton is a victory for the establishment. You heard it: Madigan, the public sector unions, the people that have been in charge of this state for the last 40 years, that's who backed Juliana Stratton. ------- CBS Chicago Anchor: What are your thoughts about Hilary Clinton having to win her home state and so far maintaining a slight edge. Dan Proft: Yeah, I mean, Bernie Sanders is a movement. It's very much like you see on the other side with Trump. It's a movement that's bigger than the candidate. There's a lot of infrastructure that Hillary Clinton has Trump didn't have coming in. So it's a more difficult path for Bernie Sanders, but enthusiasm matter. Momentum matters in political campaigns. That's what you're seeing play out. Bernie Sanders closed a substantial lead in this state. I think frankly the pandemonium that happened at UIC, I think it benefited Bernie Sanders and I think it benefited Donald Trump who are both outperforming their polling numbers going into tonight. ------- CBS Chicago Anchor: Dan if we talk about this race, do you think it has greater implications or a message that they're trying to send to City Hall by taking Alvarez out of this? Dan Proft: Rahm Emanual had a bad night tonight. He can endorse Kim Fox, he can say nice things about Kim Fox all he wants. This was about a referendum on Rahm Emanuel. This was residents of Chicago and Cook County, exercising the anger towards Rahm Emanuel that they couldn't exercise with his victory in the spring because all of this broke after his victory in the spring. So this I think you see is very much a proxy for Rahm Emanuel. And 2019 ain't that far away.
Fox 32 Anchor: We're joined now by Attorney Sam Adam Jr. and Communications Director for the Illinois Opportunity Project, Kathleen Murphy. Thanks for coming in to analyze the results here. Sam Adam Jr.: Thank you. Kathleen Murphy: Thank you. Fox 32 Anchor: We want to start with the GOP race. We've got Donald Trump with big wins, 'Huge' wins I should say, but losing in Ohio, he's got a substantial delegate lead over his closest republican challenger Ted Cruz. So how do you see this panning out? Can Cruz and Kasich catch up before the convention in July? Kathleen Murphy: Donald Trump doubled his lead last night. It was a huge night like you said. I don't think Kasich winning in Ohio, I mean it's nice to win in your home state, but he has won 1 state out of 29. Mathematically he can't do it. Ted Cruz has multiple wins over Donald Trump but the establishment hates him. Right now the GOP establishment needs to decide what they are going to do. Are you going to come in for the guy you hate, but has proven he can win and beat Donald Trump, or are you going to go with the guy you like and feel you can work with but hasn't been able to win anywhere but in his home state. And Governors always win in their home states. They need to make up their minds what they are going to do and they need to do it right now. Fox 32 Anchor: I'm going to throw another question at you Sam. With the winners we say last night, we have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton presumably as well, what does that say about what Americans want as their next President? Sam Adam Jr.: That's a very good question. We are in a time that I have not seen in my entire lifetime which is so polarizing, so opposite. You have those on the left that really seem to want change, but for government to come in. You have those on the right who really now have moved even more conservative to the idea that government is not going to be part of our lives. We're going to get rid of it as much as possible. IF that means we're going to call people names, we're going to keep people out of the country, so be it. That's where we're at in this country. It's going to be a very interesting race come November if it is Clinton vs Trump. Because you're going to see two polar opposites come head-to-head. With Donald's money and the Clinton name, it's going to be one heck of a fight. Fox 32 Anchor: Talk about an interest contest because we have the republicans declaring Donald Trump the winner in Missouri, still no declared winner for the democrats. Basically a margin on both sides of .2% between the first and second place winners, so it's really interesting in that state. Lets talk though very quickly the democrats as well and the delegate count because we did with the republicans. Kathleen, do you think there's anyway that Bernie Sanders can catch up to Hillary Clinton? Kathleen Murphy: He's giving her a run for her money which I like. I mean who would have thought a 74 year old socialist would challenge Hillary Clinton. I think that is the nature of their race. It's the enthusiasm gap. People are looking for something that is from outside of Washington and we see it on both sides of the isle. It's been a major factor in this race. So I wouldn't count him out yet. I think he can do it. I don't think he could overcome Hilary, but I think he could give her a very strong run for her money. Sam Adam Jr.: He's never going to be able to overcome Hillary at this stage. But what he can do is change the message. He can say 'Listen, this is what American seems to want, at least on the left, and I'll stay in this race and keep my message going, and you need to start coming more toward where we are. You have to understand, once you get in that general election, these people want to hear more of Bernie Sanders out of Hillary.' If he can start changing that message, we're going to have one heck of a democratic side. Fox 32 Anchor: That would be a win for him even if he isn't the nominee, right? Alright we're going to talk about the Cook County States Attorney with you too coming up in the next half hour. Another interesting race here. ------- Fox 32 Anchor: We're joined now by Attorney Sam Adams Jr. and Kathleen Murphy, communications for the Illinois Opportunity Program. Thanks again for joining me. We didn't scare you off the first time. Sam Adam Jr.: No, no, no. Fox 32 Anchor: Ok. Lets start with the race for the Cook County States Attorney. Unbelievable numbers here. Kim Foxx beating incumbent Anita Alvarez in the democratic primary. 58% to 29%. What does this indicate to you both about what voters are thinking here in Cook County? Sam Adam Jr.: Obviously they sent a very strong message here that they did not want Anita Alvarez. I said yesterday, if people come out in strong numbers, big numbers, that Kim Foxx was going to win this race, and she did. I think it sends a very strong message that says 'We need to be heard, we need to have fairness, we are going to make sure everyone is held accountable.' They sent that message to Kim and I think she got it. Fox 32 Anchor: : The endorsements helped as well that she received. Kathleen Murphy: Yes, absolutely. This was a bad night for Rahm Emanuel actually. This was a referendum on him. 2019 is not that far away. It was a proxy war between the establishment and the anti-establishment and the anti-establishment won. Fox 32 Anchor: Kathleen can you tell us a little bit about who Foxx is going to be facing in November? Her republican challenger. Kathleen Murphy: Of the 4 who were in the field, I think he was the most qualified. He's a 31 year criminal prosecution attorney. He has a background as a teacher, he's a certified teacher. I think republicans should advance the guy. Clearly there's an appetite for reform in the city with this victory and I think republicans should start to advance the case for something that is substantially different. Fox 32 Anchor: Something to keep in mind, Kim Foxx did not win it all outright. She still has a republican challenger in November. We want to transition to the race for US Senate. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth beating her democratic challengers Andrea Zopp and Napoleon Harris. Incumbent Senator Mark Kirk beats his challenger James Marter on the republican side. So we have a Kirk vs Duckworth battle for November. I know you guys went all out on this yesterday, but I'm asking you the question today: who wins? Sam Adam Jr.: Oh, definitely Duckworth at least in my opinion. She's going to pull that out. I think voters cannot get behind Mark Kirk anymore. I think they don't want to be behind him. Tammy Duckworth is coming in, adding a fresh face. She has a message. She's run a very clean campaign. I think it's going to continue to be a very clean campaign. I think the Senate needs to be definitely diverse and she's going to be bring some of that as well. I think she's going to be able to get all of the voters behind her. She's going to Washington. Fox 32 Anchor: Kathleen, I know that Mark Kirk saying in his victory speech last night that he's been consistently underrated in the polls. So can he pull out a win? Kathleen Murphy: No. He has done nothing for his face. He voted against defunding Planned Parenthood. He voted against school choice. He's anti 2nd Amendment. What is the difference between him and Tammy Duckworth? Why would anyone who is interested in policy agenda that he is advancing vote for someone with an R behind their name? He can't beat her. ------- Fox 32 Anchor: Now we're joined by Attorney Sam Adam Jr. and Communications Director for the Illinois Opportunity Project, Kathleen Murphy to talk about what's going on politically, especially at the national level right now. Thanks for coming in guys. Sam Adam Jr.: Appreciate it. Fox 32 Anchor: Lets start with you Kathleen. Is there anyway of stopping Donald Trump right now. Certainly the idea that he can't capture the delegate count he needs to secure the nomination before the convention suggests that the stop Trump folks have some hope to get something done at the convention. Is that realistic? Do you see that happening? Kathleen Murphy: He seems unstoppable. He doubled his delegate lead last night. The story out of last night was that the Washington establishment is lost. They have been beaten badly. Washington politicians, republican politicians, have been weak, they have been cowardly, they have broken promises immigration, on Obamacare, on spending. The people who are looking at this race, who's quality of life has been declining for years now who have supported them, want something substantially different. Donald Trump is substantially different. I don't like him, but he makes people like, with him in the White House, they can take control of their lives again and they can improve their futures. That is a very attractive message right now. Fox 32 Anchor: Sam, talk to me about Bernie Sanders. The Michigan magic was saw last week was not in evidence last night. Why? Sam Adam Jr.: I think that people believe Hillary can win an overall election. Bernie is resonating, don't get that mixed up here. Exactly what she's talking about on the republican side is happening on the democratic side. There are people who want to feel as if their politicians are about them. That it's no longer about Washington and doing things for themselves. Bernie makes you feel that way when you listen to him. He says 'Look, I know who to blame, which is the 1%, and we can make your lives better by taking from them and moving it down.' That's resonating. Now what I think is going to end up happening here, is he's going to be able to shape the message for the democrats going forward. He's not going to to probably be able to pull this out and win. It's going to end up being mathematically impossible. But if he can take his delegates and he can take his people that back him and change the message, and make Hillary move further to the left, that is a victory for him. Fox 32 Anchor: Kathleen, question about John Kasich. Finally won a state. His home state of Ohio last night. Staving off Donald Trump. Lot of excitement with the Kasich folks. Folks who support him. Mathematically though he's got no chance to win the delegate count. But he says he's in it to the end. What is he hoping for? What is his path to the nomination? Kathleen Murphy: I don't think he has one. But you know what's interesting, we started this race with 9 republican governors and last night was the first win for any of them. The GOP needs to decide right now what they're going to do. Are you going to come in behind the guy who you hate? But has won, has beaten Trump. Or are you going to come in behind the guy you like and think you can work with but hasn't won anywhere but his home state.
Dan Proft discussed the impact Super Tuesday could have on the Illinois Primary on ABC 7 news.
Linda Yu: Charles Thomas joins us with more. Charles? Charles Thomas: Linda, despite his primary wins yesterday, what some call a desperate stop Donald Trump effort will continue as we count down to the Illinois primary on March 15th. The anti-Trump television ads paid for by republican PACs began running three days ago. Variously, they accused the billionaire frontrunner with being a self-centered scam artist and a racist. Dan Proft: There are a lot of your traditional finance years of the Republican Party. Charles Thomas: But radio talk show host and political fund raiser Dan Proft does not believe the expensive attempt by mainstream republicans to derail Trump will work in Illinois, or in any of the remaining primary states. Proft, a Ted Cruz supporter, called Trump’s campaign a movement rooted in the anger of his supporters. Dan Proft: The reality is that Trump has made people believe that they can improve their destiny and they are in charge of their lives again, at least they will be with him in the White House. Charles Thomas: On March 15th, Illinois republicans can see as many as four active names on their presidential ballots. State party chairman Tim Schneider expects a competitive race here, and will not concede the nomination to Trump. Ted Schneider: We’re going to see numbers go up and down, and we’ll find out here in the next month or two, hopefully, who our nominee will be. Charles Thomas: Meanwhile, many democrats are privately loving how republicans are beating up on one of their own, but Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle, a Hillary Clinton delegate, says she would rather not see Trump as the GOP standard there. Toni Preckwinkle: I would hope that one of the major parties in this country is not represented by a man like him. Charles Thomas: But Proft does not see any way that Trump movement can be stopped. Dan Proft: It is not going to be combated effectively with one clever Super PAC add, or some Barb during a debate.
Kathleen Murphy of The Illinois Opportunity Project recapped Super Tuesday on Fox Chicago.
Dan Proft discussed Super Tuesday on CBS Chicago
Host: I’m joined now by republican political analyst Dan Proft, and Dan, love him or hate him, Donald Trump has a big night; let’s take a look at the map and we’ll talk about it a little bit. He win Massachusetts, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas; Ted Cruz wins Texas and Oklahoma; were you surprised by how strong Donald Trump was? Dan Proft: No, I mean this is a continuation of the last three primaries – two primaries and a caucus – he wins in the South, he wins in New England, it happened again tonight, and here is the bottom line. This is a movement. Even Donald Trump couldn’t stop Donald Trump at this moment. It’s psychological, not substantive, and that’s what people need to understand if they want to get a sense of what’s happening: people who live conservative lives small see, who have been hurt financially and who’ve been ridiculed culturally by fat cat Republicans Beltway elites, and they’re revolting. This is full revolt. Host: What about Ted Cruz, though? He finishes second; he finishes with two wins tonight. He’s won three caucus and a couple of primaries overall. Dan Proft: I think Ted Cruz now is in a better position to reestablish himself as the Trump alternative, to make the case tomorrow that I’m actually the alternative to Trump, not Marco Rubio, because you know, I’m winning states and Marco Rubio isn’t. That’s the opportunity that Cruz has. Host: Alright, let’s take a look at an exit-poll from Georgia to give you an idea to just where the Republicans heads are at, and they said they want their next president to be outside of politics. 52% said that. 38% said they wanted it to have a political expertise. So no question, a bad night for Marco Rubio, and he spoke to his supporters just moments ago. Marco Rubio: Two weeks from tonight, right here in Florida, we are going to send a message loud and clear. We are going to send a message that the party of Lincoln and Reagan, and the presidency of the United States will never be held by a con artist! Host: Now I know there’re a couple of races still outstanding tonight; one of them we saw in Minnesota, the caucuses there – Rubio’s ahead, but as yet has won nothing. Dan Proft: Rubio’s won fewer states than Bernie Sanders, and Bernie Sanders everybody agrees is done. Marco Rubio is not in a strong position yet; two weeks from now they go to Florida, and Florida’s probably his little big horn – he’s out of the race after Florida. Host: And he’s down by a significant… Dan Proft: 20 in Florida. This Donald Trump movement, like it or dislike it, is real. Host: Dan Proft, you heard it from him, our republican strategist; thanks for the time, Dan! Dan Proft: Thank you!
And joining me now for a closer look at the Republic in Canada is CBS 2 political analyst Dan Proft. Dan, let's get started with the results. They're not in quite yet, but Trump is likely to win. That's what we're hearing. So do you think that this means he's more likely to get the Republican nomination? Dan Proft: Yeah, he comes in tonight with double digit leads, and most of the polling coming in to the Nevada caucus. It'd be surprising. Even the Cruz and Rubio campaigns have essentially conceded, they're fighting for second place. It'd be surprising if Trump didn't win. And the problem that Cruz and Rubio have is you're on a short time horizon now, March 1st and March 15, and you have to do something to stop Donald from swagger. Because that's really what it is. It's not about substance within, it's swagger. And if he continues to win elections, and you continue to try and make 2nd or 3rd place sound like a victory, that's not doing anything to take Donald from swagger away. Let's talk more about Marco Rubio, then. He's gotten a lot of endorsements, even many coming in just yesterday. So even though Trump is winning so big, why do you up make the idea that these endorsements are still going to Rubio? Dan Proft: I think, with a few exceptions, they're almost meaningless. I think politicians endorsing politicians–this is the wrong election cycle for that to have currency. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are in a prisoner's dilemma game, and they're going to have if they want to stop the Trump Trajectory. If they don't want this race to end by March 15th, they're going to have to–instead having their sights turned on one another, both train their sights on Donald Trump. Al right, Dan Proft, our political analyst, thank you for your insights. Dan Proft: Thank you.
Dan Proft appeared on WTTW Chicago Tonight on 1/26/16.
As of this week, Illinois has fewer drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, less home care for senior citizens and housing for youth in need, fewer re-entry programs for ex-prisoners, mental health counseling services and assistance for veterans.
Those are just some of cuts made by the state's largest social service provider due to the state budget impasse.
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois announced it was slashing 750 jobs and suspending 30 programs because the state has not reimbursed the agency for $6 million in services already delivered.
"There is really no good excuse for the tragic loss of those kinds of services," Gov. Bruce Rauner said on Monday. "It's inexcusable for us not to have a budget by now. We could have and should have done this many months ago."
The organization, which opened in 1867 and provided services in 2015 to 73,000 people, says that as a result of these cuts, about 4,700 people in need will no longer receive services from LSSI.
"It has been an agonizing process, particularly its impact on our clients and their families who depend on us for their care, as well as our employees whose jobs were eliminated," Mark A. Stutrud, LSSI president and CEO said in a news release. "Many of our employees are direct care personnel who have built relationships and strong trust with the people they serve."
Programs aimed at helping seniors are among those that saw the largest cuts, according to LSSI. "These decisions were the result of a thorough and painful process," Stutrud said.
Joining us to talk about the cuts are David Novak, Vice President for Advancement and Communications at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois; and Dan Proft, a senior fellow at the Illinois Policy Institute, a free market policy research organization in Chicago and talk show host on WIND 560-AM.
"It was really programs that were directly linked to the non-payment for services that we had already provided," said David Novak. "We really have exhausted all the avenues available to us. At the end of the day, we just didn't have the capacity or the cash wherewithal to handle $6 million of not being paid."
"I think it's disgraceful that we treat the truly vulnerable in Illinois as cannon fodder for a big government agenda from which they derive no benefit," said Dan Proft.
By Dan Proft, Featured in the Chicago Tribune on 1/15/2016
Gov. Bruce Rauner is interviewed at the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, about his first full year in office. On Friday, he announced that his administration has asked the Illinois Labor Relations Board to determine whether or not the the state and AFSCME are at an impasse. (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
A study done last year by the think tank State Budget Solutions found that total compensation for Illinois state employees was on average 27 percent higher than their counterparts in the private sector.
Illinois state employees made nearly $4,000 more in wages and $13,000 more in benefits than the private-sector employees.
More than half of Illinois state workers will retire before age 60 with guaranteed state pensions that average more than $42,000 and compound at 3 percent annually.
Here's what you already know: The state is in a financial death spiral with ground impact imminent.
All of this is useful to consider against the backdrop of Gov. Bruce Rauner breaking off contract talks with AFSCME, the state's largest public sector union representing some 36,000 state workers.
AFSCME has been unwilling to give on its demands for annual salary step increases of 3.8 percent in addition to annual general wage increases. The step increases alone represent a raise of more than seven times the rate of inflation in 2015. AFSCME has been unwilling to give on payment of overtime after 37.5 hours of work in a week.
The lowball estimate of the cost of what AFSCME demands is $1.6 billion. That's $1.6 billion more from Illinois families, who pay the highest property taxes in the nation, who are already on the hook for $8.5 billion in unpaid state bills and $111 billion in unfunded state pension liabilities.
The fiscal reality of the state was not lost on unions that represent smaller groups of state workers. The Teamsters, representing nearly 5,000 state employees, agreed to a four-year general wage freeze, a four-year freeze on step increases and starting overtime compensation after 40 hours of work.
This is not an attack on public sector workers. This is not an attack on public sector unions. The Teamsters, and many rank-and-file AFSCME workers with whom I have spoken, have proved eminently reasonable.
This is a story of the funding arm of the Illinois Political Ruling Class that preaches fairness but enjoys being downright spoiled by those it has bought, paid for and sent to Springfield. AFSCME has always gotten what it has wanted — no matter the price. It likes it that way. And it's not particularly keen on changing the cozy arrangement it's had with both parties for generations.
This is Rauner's moment of truth.
Even more important than a fiscal-year budget is sending the unmistakable message to AFSCME (and its SEIU and teachers' union cohorts) that the balance of the nearly 13 million residents of Illinois not in their ranks do not exist as spare parts for the machine that spits out compensation packages 27 percent higher than their own.
If that involves a siege on Springfield like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker confronted in Madison, so be it.
If that requires layoffs and outsourcing of state work to contractors, so be it.
If that requires losing an election, so be it.
Rauner ran for governor saying he is not a politician. He said he is a businessman who will make the difficult decisions to turn around the state he loves.
We're about to find out if that's true.
Dan Proft is a talk show host on WIND-AM 560.
By Dan Proft
“That’s all the realm is now: backstabbing and scheming and ass-licking and money-grubbing.” – King Robert Baratheon, “Game of Thrones”
It is fun to watch the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones.” It is considerably less fun to live in a dressed up iteration of the feudalism of the Middle Ages.
If we are being honest with ourselves, the realm of Illinois is such a version with ruling families of shared interests replacing strict bloodlines.
It is a government-directed cartel economy where the rule of men has replaced the rule of law.
Normally in cartel economies the rule of law is undermined from the outside as was the case during the heyday of Columbia’s Medellín drug cartel made infamous by Pablo Escobar. The kingpin bribed government officials and murdered the competition while the state looked the other way.
In Illinois, Irish Chicago Democrats in elective offices have cut out the middlemen. Why wait for bribes? Undermine the rule of law from within. Be the kingpins you wish to finance you. And they are.
There is no need to kill off those trying to horn in on your action. Simply decree your competitors illicit under force of law.
To wit, Illinois Attorney General Tom Hagen issued a Christmas Eve opinion that fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel constitute illegal online gambling.
What about buying state-sanctioned lottery tickets online? You can’t win if you don’t play.
What about gambling at a state-sanctioned casino? No problem.
What about patronizing a state-authorized video poker parlor? Please do.
How about making an exacta bet on the 3-7 horses in the fourth race at a state-subsidized racing track? Good luck to you.
Perhaps if DraftKings and FanDuel had sizeable brick and mortar businesses in downtown Chicago that could’ve retained a certain law firm of a certain House Speaker to abate their property taxes things might have been different.
Perhaps if DraftKings and FanDuel had retained Chicago Alderman Ed Burke to represent their interests, arrange to welcome them to Chicago properly with a city proclamation, and pin them with the green 14th Ward sigil, things might have been different.
Alas, the kingpins were not cut in, so DraftKings and FanDuel were cut out.
Or, to borrow from Escobar’s colorful lingo, they didn’t pay the silver, so they got the lead.
You see, the Land of Lincoln is the Land of Let It Ride so long as Illinois’ elected kingpins are collecting the vig.
But if you are not a member of one of the ruling families of shared interests, it does not make much sense to gamble on Illinois.
And so people leave. And they did again in record numbers again in 2015.
According to US Census Bureau estimates, Illinois net lost more than 22,000 residents between July 2014 and July 2015 (despite 156,000 births during the same period)—the most in the nation.
It turns out that Hoosiers, Cheeseheads and Volunteers are not nearly as frightening as the mystical monsters of the Middle Ages that lied in wait just beyond the horizon or the political cartels of shared interests that lie in wait on Election Day.
Those who are done working and those whose children have moved beyond high school have U-Hauled themselves to less medieval confines.
Simple policy reforms will not keep productive people from leaving.
No matter what property tax relief is provided, what worker’s compensation reform is enacted or whose pensions are restructured, people will continue to leave until the political cartels of shared interests are broken.
As for DraftKings and FanDuel, don’t even think about getting into the marijuana business in Illinois.