Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gov. Pat Quinn flunks Prof. Stigler’s Econ 101; Watch Quinn, Murphy, Proft, Hamos and Tillman on deficits, spending and tax increases--Streaming video

Video Links added and made operable on Friday at 6:50 pm

The late, great Nobel Prize Laureate and long time University of Chicago economics professor, George Stigler, was known, among other things, for his sharp intellect/wit and biting one liners—the latter was somewhat unusual for academia. One of his favorites was spit out in response to a speaker who said, “It is just a matter of common sense.” Stigler would shoot back, “Yes, but whose.”

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn [D-Chicago] (who earlier this year replaced the arrested, indicted and impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich [D-Chicago], before he makes his pitch for a 50% increase in the Illinois income tax, often reminds the crowd he went to a good undergraduate school [Georgetown University] and majored in economics [Watch five minutes of Quinn, arguing for his proposed income tax increase, as of May 8, 2009, and for a five minute response, watch Republican Primary Guv. Candidate Sen. Matt Murphy; for a more general approach to "unfixing the “system,” [Go here for Eric Zorn's take on un-fix] watch the most recently announced Republican Primary Guv Candidate Dan Proft]. So, apparently, Quinn thinks voters and legislators should follow his lead on raising taxes because of Quinn’s academic credentials.

Sunday, while out on the stomp for his income tax increase (according to a WBBM, 780 AM radio soundbite replayed Monday morning), the Governor said:

We need a fair and balanced budget, [and] if expenses exceed revenue, you must increase revenue, it’s only common sense.

If Professor Stigler were alive and well-- and listening to Quinn-- he would first question Gov. Quinn as to whose common sense should be employed. I’m sure this journalist’s dissertation adviser and mentor, economist Stigler, would then go on to explain that the “better common sense,” is that cutting expenses is also an option to be explored. If one does so, one can see that, without the Draconian cuts that Quinn is proposing for human services, one can find, without too much pain, four billion dollars in spending cuts [Read about the cuts].[Watch IPI's John Tillman discuss the cuts] Those cuts would obviate the need for Quinn’s four billion dollar Illinois income tax increase. [ For a contra approach, watch Julie Hamos, State Rep. [D-Evanston] and probable Attorney General candidate].

If that four billion cut in spending would leave the state with a problem of a three billion dollar pension fund payment to fund, then the state government can still do what Illinois is planning to do even with an income tax increase—essentially give the pensions a three billion dollar IOU.

What do you know. The legislators should be able to accomplish the above next week and adjourn until the November veto session. You see, Governor, what a little common sense can do. Thank you, Professor Stigler.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at *************************************************************
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