The Corner

Your New Government-Spending Mascot

For all the talk we’ve recently heard about public-sector benefits in Wisconsin and other states, the Illinois government employee-pension system is a complete disaster. Illinois currently has the most underfunded public-pension system of any state in America, as it is funded at a rate of only 45 percent. And since their state and local governments haven’t been putting enough money into the system, the unfunded liability for the system grew by $12 billion last year and currently stands at about $95 billion.

It appears Illinois governor Pat Quinn is taking this news about as seriously as you would expect an elected official who would preside over such a debacle to take it. Quinn has released an execrable animated video, which lays the blame on an orange cartoon serpent dubbed “Squeezy the Pension Python:”

(In case you don’t fully understand the point Quinn is going for, the actor in the video complements the introduction of Squeezy with a motion as if he is choking himself.)

In one way, this video is somewhat refreshing. For all the people who claim politics is too carefully polled and focus-grouped these days, this video is a stern refutation; had Quinn’s office showed it to any focus group, the subjects would have poured bleach into their eyes to avoid having to watch it all the way through.

But it’s the overall message of the video that is so offensive. According to Quinn, schools and public-safety services aren’t being cut because of public-employee unions’ bullying tactics, or because union dues finance the campaigns of obeisant public officials. No — cuts have to be made because a giant, demonic-eyed orange snake is taking over Illinois’ government. (And given Quinn’s 67 percent income-tax hike on Illinois’ citizens last year, those “cuts” made Squeezy’s grasp a little more manageable.)

In fact, Illinois’ finances have turned the state into a fiscal Banana Republic, meaning Quinn will almost certainly be at the federal government’s front door looking for a bailout. So while we may laugh now, Squeezy might be coming after you in your own state when you have to foot the bill for Illinois’ mismanagement. (In fact, Congress could make the current federal government more understandable to the middle class by introducing “Boris, the Fiscal Cliff Tarantula.”)

On Friday, executive vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute Kristina Rasmussen appeared on Fox News and treated Quinn’s video with the derision it so richly deserves.

— Christian Schneider is a columnist with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Editor’s Note: This post has been amended since its initial publication. 

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More