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Higher Education Watch
Blue Civil War, Illinois Edition

In Illinois, the symbolic capital of blue model governance, two progressive priorities—public sector pensions and public higher education—are colliding with one another at breakneck speed. The Illinois News Network reports:

Illinois public universities continue to suffer from the state’s ongoing financial challenges.

Only two months ago, Moody’s Investor Services downgraded the credit ratings of seven state universities, saying their dependence on state funding made them less desirable for investors. […]

[The deputy director for fiscal affairs and budgeting for the Illinois Board of Higher Education] said the biggest obstacle for turning around the downward spiral of the state’s credit rating is the massive amount of underfunded pension commitments, which are estimated at more than $111 billion.

This conflict is an example of the the phenomenon we call the “blue civil war”: the state-level conflict over scarce resources between different elements of the Democratic coalition.

Democrats in places like Illinois and New York and California have historically tried to serve the interests both of the beneficiaries of government services (like students at Illinois State University) and the producers of those services (the public sector unions whose pensions are breaking the budget). This coalition held together for decades, but it will become more tenuous as the blue social model breaks down, and the tax revenues it produces become insufficient to fund the big public programs it aspires to provide.

With public pension returns stagnating from coast to coast, this conflict is likely to intensify in the long run, pitting longtime allies against each other and mixing up America’s already-scrambled political coalitions even further.

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  • Beauceron

    Well, since they have effectively ground the conservatives into dust, there is no one to fight but themselves. Since they are becoming the dominant party, perhaps even setting up a permanent majority, the battle turns to factions within the party
    The more time the Left spends fighting each other, the less time they spend abusing the population. So I am all for them fighting non-stop.

    • Jim__L

      Well, no.

      Their solution will be to scapegoat Republicans and attempt to put in place confiscatory taxes (which won’t do any good.)

      What Conservatives have to keep doing now, is pointing out how truly stupid the Blue model has become, and get people used to the idea that reduced expectations are inevitable — bondholders and pensioners both will need to take a haircut. If that means that politicians will have to behave themselves fiscally for a decade or so until markets start to trust them again, that’s justice.

    • Josephbleau

      In 2019 President HILLARY! The First Vagina is touring Fort Knox to admire the Bullion and a coup is attempted by members of the first training company of Texas A&M ROTC. She imprisons Neut, Bernie and Schumer. Trump and Ivana are Hanged. The 2nd Republic begins…

  • Andrew Allison

    Blue civil war may be a misnomer. It’s more a war on the public by so-called “public servants”.

    • Kevin

      It’s about t transition into a war on the Federal treasury. Will Hilary push a plan to do this through Congress or just order it to be paid?

      • Jim__L

        And if the House doesn’t roll over and open the purse-strings whenever the President says so it’s being “obstructionist”.

        “Obstructionist” is getting to sound better and better these days.

        • Josephbleau

          According to our Constitution, if the Senate and Representatives of the People do not pass bills to the liking of the Executive, the Executive must use it’s “pen and phone” to act independently.

  • Blackbeard

    Where this road ends is in massive federal bailouts. And where that road ends is we’re the next Greece. Which is why it’s vital for the Republicans to continue to hold at least one house of Congress, so as to block those federal bailouts.

  • seattleoutcast

    Oh, but Chicago is just a major city having the same problems as other cities. Mismanagement for decades by democrats has nothing to do with Chicago’s malaise.

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