Drought in the Debtor State

We recently headed east to Ohio for a family reunion and water-sports showdown.  Because I’m only a generation removed from farming, I couldn’t help but notice the dire state of the corn and soybeans across Illinois, Indiana, and into central Ohio.  Drought emergencies have been declared in multiple states.  You don’t have to look for the official declaration, however, just look at the worry lines and frowns in the small towns throughout the Midwest.  People know that a certain percentage of peers will face bankruptcy as a result, and no amount of federal emergency funding will change that.

What does it mean for you?  Expect an increase to your grocery bill in the next few months – 25% or higher, depending on your diet and where you live.  Grain and soy prices affect such a large portion of the food supply…

Gov. Quinn holds up metaphor for IL tax base

…And while you’re at it, go ahead an budget for the continuing increase to your taxes – especially you fellow resident of Illinois.  The debtor state’s comptroller just announced an estimated $7.5-8 billion figure for monies owed to entities such as vendors, schools, and municipalities.  This backlog of bills is, of course, only a small portion of an astronomical $43 billion deficit, if one considers the cost of pension benefits owed to state workers.  This despite the tax increase Governor Pat Quinn campaigned on.

Our trip to Ohio brought us into states that actually have budget surpluses.  Yes, a foreign concept around here, but there they were on the Columbus local news, discussing the best way to obligate funds for a budget surplus.  I’m thinking, what kind of magicians, what superhuman policymakers could achieve such fiscal responsibility?   Continue reading

The Anger of the Ides of March

Like most adults, I understand and accept my burden as a taxpayer in this great country.  It’s part and parcel of being an American.  You may not exercise your right to vote, but by God you’ll pay the taxes.  (Unless you’re poor, in which case you’ll probably do neither…) And yet when mid-March rolls around, the tax forms roll in, the anger starts to set in.  If it weren’t for college basketball, MLS getting started, and the improving weather to temper my mood, I’d probably be a real handful.  So consider, if you will, some of the recent developments to make tax day ever more joyful:

  • Taxpayer-fueled bonuses to Wall Street Executives, most of whom contributed mightily to the recession
  • Tons of government programs that seem to give incentives for  not working and contributing to society
  • The State of Illinois $13 Billion in the hole and the governor playing chicken with the legislature over education dollars
  • If you get a refund check from the IRS, you’ve essentially given them a short-term interest free loan; if you owe them in the end, you can bet your ass they’re charging you interest (just doesn’t seem right, does it?)
  • All levels of government seem to favor creating programs and services to consolidate their hold in power rather than, you know, governing and providing the basics to society (I realize this is a broad statement, but it sure seems that way of late…) Continue reading