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Oh, where to begin.


As if things weren’t already bad enough in Illinois, I read today where my state is the third most corrupt state in the nation. Chicago has the distinction of being named as the number one most corrupt city in the nation.


For many of us who have lived in Illinois our entire lives, this doesn’t exactly come as a revelation, but it is very frustrating after spending so much time in politics with the idea that we were going to change it.


I want to say that our politics in this state isn’t reflective of the people who live here, but unfortunately, it is people (real and imagined) who vote for the jamokes that get into state politics long enough to muck things up, plead guilty, serve their sentence and then become lobbyists when they get out. Our most recent poster child for Illinois politics comes courtesy of the Illinois Department of Transportation, where a mob bookie got a $70,000 a year job with the DOT and now, with the help of the union, continues to work for the state; much to the chagrin of his DOT supervisor.


You probably never thought that turning a key in a lock could be hazardous to your health, but at Menard State Prison, over $10 million was awarded to prison guards AND the warden for injuries caused from this innocuous act. Apparently, some of our Illinois Industrial Commissioners had their own workers’ compensation claims and were suffering “sympathetic” pain for the guards.


In an effort to cut our deficit and to bolster our credit rating, the state raised my state income tax by 67% and they also raised the corporate tax by 47%. Makes you want to run a business and work there, doesn’t it? Caterpillar recently told Governor Quinn the Mighty that they will not increase their business in this state, as long as the climate is so “anti-business”. Let’s see; we had the money to bribe Sears and the CBT to keep their business here, but not Caterpillar? I lost my job at Cat when they moved the engine assembly to Texas. Then, at about the same time, they moved the road graders from Decatur, IL to North Little Rock, Arkansas. And now; a new Cat plant is going to Athens, Georgia, but Quinn still thinks that Cat is just “blowing smoke”.


It was clear that the Gov was hurt by Oberhelmann’s statements and he could barely muster a reply. He said, “We overhauled the workers’ compensation system in this state”. Quinn’s idea of “overhaul” must mean that, when you get your oil changed, you are having your engine overhauled. The work comp “overhaul” did NOTHING to lower rates in this state.


So, there has been no meaningful spending cuts made yet, but Quinn and his bobble heads are still finding ways to RAISE money through the good taxpayers in this state. Now, Quinn and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanual want to charge a $65 “fee” for gun registration in this state and as we all know, a “fee” is not a “tax”.


It wasn’t that long ago that Rahm the Merciless was President Obama’s Chief of Staff, but Rahm couldn’t get everyone on board with doing things the “Chicago way”, so, feeling like a fish out of water, Rahm returned to the familiar waters of Chicago politics, where he has been doing a yeoman’s job of bullying his city council AND our governor.


So, that brings me to Obama. He got his start in politics as a community organizer. There must be a playbook or instruction manual that teaches one to organize. Now; I have to wonder if he was organizing in the most corrupt city in the nation in spite of it. After-all; he is a product of that environment. Did he escape it squeaky clean? I don’t think so. Look at his shadow cabinet of czars, his recess appointments, Obama Care, activists judges, the NLRB, his fast and furious attorney general’s willingness to sue private citizens and businesses to stop them from exercising their liberties, suing states to keep them from enforcing immigration laws and then it becomes very clear that President Obama is a by-product of his environment. His hypocrisy has no limits.


The House and the Senate haven’t been much help, either. Many of them still believe that they are beefing up their re-election victories by pigging out on pork projects for their home districts, because they are too chicken to base their chances on the moral and ethical strength of their votes on various pieces of legislation. And besides; giving the special interests groups that support and the special attention that they deserve isn’t “buying” votes in the strict sense is it?


Sure; everyone wants their taxes to come back home in some way, but it has caused a de facto redistribution of wealth. However; in Illinois, tax money that is taken and is supposed to come back to the school districts isn’t. Instead, Quinn the Mighty is simply telling school districts that they are going to have to take on a bigger share at the local level which will most likely cause property taxes across the state to skyrocket. I wish that I could tell my creditors to eat it in the same way that Illinois government tells their taxpayers.


In his “State of the State” address, Quinn offered NOTHING; only get tough talk, but no plans to get tough.


The 2012 elections will be the most important election in my lifetime and I don’t exaggerate when I say that. I cannot think of another single election where there was so much at stake at the state and federal level. We have an opportunity in Illinois to flip the entire legislature as ALL of the seats are up for re-election. There are but a very few who deserve the privilege of our vote for them.


At the federal level, I can’t wait to pay $5 a gallon for gas, even though we sit on enough oil to truly become energy self-sufficient and cut the cord to Middle East countries that don’t like us very much, but are more than happy to take our money and the lives of our soldiers and citizens.


That is not to say that I am for price controls, because I’m not, but why is it that gas prices can go up whenever a sheik farts, but a utilities company must “request” a price increase from the legislature?


I fully understand a company’s duty to shareholders and yea, though I don’t know what “obscene profits” are or what it is to have “too much money”; I know that our country survives because of capitalism.


I believe that, in many cases, those who have their hand out because “they can’t help it” are a myth. I have always felt that those in need will receive their help from charitable donations from kind-hearted givers. Government is not a charity nor should they determine for us how we should spend our money.


It’s a fact that not everyone can afford to buy a house, a car or go to college. Those decisions should be made by potential purchasers. When I took out the loan for our first house, interest rates were eight percent. I made my payments without the help of the government. I borrowed money for my vehicles from the bank and never missed a payment. Back then, there were no incentives to buy and interest rates were eight to nine percent. We took out student loans so that our son could go to college and we paid back every dime. We never looked for a bailout from the government. What has changed, other than loan rates have dropped dramatically?


All of us who came from poor beginnings know that we had two choices: stay there and wallow in self-pity fueled by government cheese or to change it.


I chose to change it. I won’t apologize for it and I refuse to stand by and allow government to tell me that I have too much and must give some of it to someone else.


I pay my taxes and I donate to charities. I volunteer my time in my community and will help where help is needed.


THAT is MY decision and because I am opposed to extending that charity to flimflammers and scammers of the System, I will not believe that I am a bad person.


The state of the government and the condition of our country is our fault.


So, I say that it is time to rescue Lady Liberty and to take back our country from dysfunctional governance.


It is a non-partisan approach. Republicans and Democrats alike have managed through several parliamentary procedures to set themselves up as the ruling class and in the process have trampled on our Constitution.


I will not consider any candidate from any party who will not work to change it. I want a government who will allow me to keep what I have earned and return upon my retirement the Social Security funds that I have paid since I was sixteen years old.


I have supported government at all levels. I don’t expect any more than what I have paid for. I expect government to honor their contract with me. Period.


Rant off.


Game on. November can’t come soon enough.




The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who also writes as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper. All articles by the author are protected by federal copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without expressed permission.

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Comment by Art "Chief Reason" Goodrich on March 6, 2012 at 1:37pm
I read your editorial when it came out and found it very uplifting.
The pledge is straightforward.
Unfortunately, too many politicians will find it easy to SAY the words. Using those words to guide their actions would be another story.
I say add a provision that would send them to prison for at least 10 years if they violate the pledge.
I have never had a problem with reaching into my pocket to help others.
But lately, another hand has been there helping itself to my money. Hell; our tax on gasoline is 20 cents higher than neighboring Iowa.
I'm surprised that fire districts still get a sales tax exemption when they purchase a new fire truck.
Comment by Bobby Halton on March 6, 2012 at 12:23pm


All I can say is thank God I don't live in Illinois! LOL how do you folks deal with that level of corruption? You know the fire service has been talking a lot about honor and duty and I recently wrote a brief editorial about the fire service honor code. Briefly I believe we should follow the code of the United States Air Force Academy where they say "We will not lie cheat or steal nor tolerate others who do furthermore I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably so help me God." I wonder if we could get our elected officials take the same pledge? Here's a link to that editorial. The Fire Service Honor Code

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