Regular readers know that Illinois is in serious trouble. It’s a national leader in unemployment, budget deficits, debt, demographic decline, and unfunded pension liabilities. But how is it shaping up compared with its neighbors? The Wall Street Journal takes a look:
Start with Illinois’s 8.7% jobless rate, which is the country’s second highest after Rhode Island’s 9% and has fallen by a mere 0.7 percentage points since Mr. Quinn began his second term in January 2011. That’s when Illinois increased its flat income tax to 5% from 3% and the corporate rate to 9.5% from 7.3%.The nearby chart shows the jobless-rate trend in five Great Lakes states since 2010. Note the sharp decline in Michigan, where Republican Governor Rick Snyder and a GOP legislature cut corporate taxes. In the last three years, the rate has fallen to 7.7% from 11% in the Wolverine State, to 6.5% from 9.1% in Ohio, to 6.1% from 9% in Indiana, and to 6.1% from 7.7% in Wisconsin. Only Illinois has raised taxes, while Ohio cut taxes, Michigan and Indiana have passed right-to-work laws and Wisconsin famously reformed collective bargaining.Illinois has also recorded the slowest personal income growth in the Great Lakes. Between 2012 and 2013, personal income rose by 2.1% in Illinois versus 2.7% in Wisconsin, 2.5% in Michigan, and 2.3% in Ohio and Indiana.
Click here to read the whole editorial.People in the 20th century used to speak of the social and economic experiments conducted in Germany and the Korean peninsula as hard evidence of what happens when both capitalism and communism are tried on the same people. Fortunately in America, we only have capitalism, and our intra-capitalist experiments don’t involve any brutality or dictatorship. But our system of government does allow each state to experiment with its own social and economic preferences, giving citizens choices about where they would rather live and, in an ideal world, giving Washington clues about what works and what doesn’t before federal policy is adopted.Illinois has had a free hand for some years now to conduct a true blue experiment, with little opposition or obstruction in the way. The experiment is not going well, and its neighbors’ relative success is only accentuating the pattern of serial policy failures in the President’s home state.