Saturday, November 21, 2015

Buy Now, Don't Win and Don't Get Paid

The biggest question Illinois Lottery players used to have was will I win? 

Today, it's will I be paid?

In the titanic budget standoff between business-friendly governor Bruce Rauner and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, much has been sacrificed. 

While essential services have mostly remained intact, the cash drought has already eliminated child care services (since restored), senior programs and emergency housing while threatening much, much more.

Yet the struggle continues: whether to abolish unions and their collective bargaining power and rebuild Illinois on the backs of the poor, the elderly and children, or continue the extravagant spending necessary to fulfill promises made to public-sector unions while preserving the state's monopolistic Democratic infrastructure.

Oh, the tyranny of choice.

Not so difficult is recognizing the tawdry conduct of the state's lottery board.

Namely, that the board continues to solicit the purchase of lottery tickets, knowing no payment will be forthcoming until the state's budget impasse is settled. It's not too far removed from a drug dealer supplying his clients even though they can't pay, for fear they'll sober up and cease consuming his product.

Would it be unseemly to suggest that a ticket out of town might be the best lottery prize of all?

Even if a budget is decided on, it's tough to see settling with lottery winners ranking very high on the state's to-do list. Compared to bridge repair and medicaid payments and keeping gas in state trooper's cars, it just doesn't rate.

And maybe it shouldn't.

But don't take out full-page ads in major metropolitan newspapers asking the citizens of Illinois to continue buying out of some vague and misplaced notion of loyalty. Couldn't you at least buy us dinner before you, know.

Assuming the budget stalemate continues into spring (which doesn't exactly require the imagination of Leonardo da Vinci or Walt Disney), it might be interesting if Illinoisans adopted a similar tact.

Go ahead and continue taxing us. When we make it. When we spend it. When we save it. While we're alive and when we die. Tax, tax, tax, all day long.

But come that special day in April, don't expect us to pay. Because we're broke, too.

Would an IOU suffice?

Some of us are confused about what it is we're paying for, which from here mostly appears as sustaining a power struggle between two very well-off and very powerful politicians with two distinctly unappealing agendas.

Illinois' birthday is December 3rd. Anyone for a party?

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