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Brace for Impact

February 3, 2011

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” – Ronald Reagan

Welcome aboard Illinois General Assembly Airways and thanks for re-electing us.  I’m your Captain, Michael J. Madigan and, as I have been for almost 30 years, I’ll be flying you for the foreseeable future.  Along with me are my co-pilot, John Cullerton, Engineer, Pat Quinn, and your cabin crew, Christine Radogno, and Tom Cross.  We’re committed to making your life as miserable as possible, so before we depart we’d like to offer you some important information. This information can help you in the impending emergency, so it’s important to pay close attention, even if you are a frequent tax-eater.

All taxes and fees will now be increased.  You can expect a 66% increase in your income taxes and over 45% for businesses for the next four years, but I, I mean we, promise to decrease them after that—pinky swear. Also, to clear all our debts and obligations we’ll be borrowing billions, but don’t worry, we have no intention of cutting spending.

Your motivation and all other entrepreneurial enterprises should be turned off.  Once airborne we’ll let you know when you can use approved entitlements, but note that some items, such as critical services, may be held hostage at any time.  You’ll find the list of intended victims in the most vulnerable sections of our citizenry.

There are three exits from this statecraft—two on each side, Indiana and Iowa, and one, most recently, to the north, Wisconsin.  Each state is close by and can be used for flotation.  Also, life rafts are located in various locations throughout the United States.  All exits are clearly marked with a “Welcome To” sign. However if there is a complete loss of sanity and bankruptcy ensues, white lines on the highway will lead you to the state borderline, which indicates an exit.  Please take a moment to find the exits closest to you, and remember, they might be to the south.

Please review the latest data to understand whether you should prepare for an emergency exit.  Here are a few important items for your consideration:  Over 750,000 people have exited Illinois in the last ten years, along with a loss of more than 700 manufacturing companies and over 52,000 manufacturing jobs last year— “one of its worst declines in nearly a century”; the downgrading of Illinois’ bond rating; unpaid bills of $8.75 billion; a massive “unfunded pension liability (pension deficit) of $62 billion”; a deficit of $15 billion; a stunning debt totaling over $140 billion—one of the worst in the nation; corporations building new facilities in any state but Illinois; two consecutive governors indicted—one in jail, the other on the way; systemic corruption; and pay to play.

As we prepare to be sworn in for another term, make sure your leash is fastened.  To fasten, deposit most of your income into the state bucket and adjust your leash so it’s high and tight around your neck.  To release the leash, just lift the top of the ballot box or press for subpoenas.  Please remain quiet with your leash securely fastened any time the news is on.  And even if the news is off, you should keep your leash fastened in case we experience unexpected taxation.

For everyone’s misery, state legislation requires that all taxpayers comply with the preposterous politicians and bloated public sector unions located throughout the government, as well as any crew member’s dictates.  Smoking is not allowed anywhere, and while we failed to add a $1-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes, which disproportionately affects low-income Illinoisans, there’s always next session.

In the event of the inevitable crash landing, please brace for impact by removing any change you may have remaining in your pockets; set aside all pitchforks and torches; from your seated position, bend forward and place your head firmly between your knees, and kiss your butt goodbye.

It’s unlikely, but if the legislature should ever change parties, the heavens above you will open revealing absolute proof of God’s existence. If this happens, reach up and praise the Almighty with your arms fully extended.  Place your hands over your nose and mouth, slip into ecstatic outbursts of uncontrollable joy and adjust your attitude if necessary. Breathe normally and know that miracles are flowing, so don’t worry if the Second Coming doesn’t happen.  Be sure to adjust your own mind, before helping others.

Now before we take off with your money, be sure your spine is upright and locked, your exit strategy is in place and all taxable income is properly sheltered.

Thanks for your attention.  Enjoy your flight.

(Pre-flight safety demonstration adapted from Delta Airlines YouTube.)

 Copyright 2011 Julie Schmidt.

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