Land of Lincoln Lyin’

Chicago and Illinois have given so much to the nation: Rod Blagojevich, the Daley machine, Jesse Jackson (Sr. and Jr.), Rahm Emanuel, Deval Patrick, and, of course, Barack Obama.

Really, Illinois, you shouldn’t have.

But the land that giveth, also taketh away—but good:

For years, Illinois officials misled investors and shortchanged the state pension system, leaving future generations of taxpayers to foot the bill, U.S. securities regulators allege.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged Illinois with securities fraud, marking only the second time the agency has filed civil-fraud charges against a state.

But the agency and the state also announced that a settlement had already been reached in which Illinois won’t pay a penalty or admit wrongdoing.

Perish the thought! Just because they duped investors and shortchanged the pension system, why should anyone do time?

Because while what they did was reckless, dishonest, and worthy of tarring and feathering, it wasn’t technically illegal.

[N]o matter how harmful the pension practices were to the state’s finances, SEC officials say they could only pursue charges against Illinois for what it failed to tell bond investors, who bought bonds worth $2.2 billion.

Most states comply with governmental accounting standards, which “Illinois did not follow,” Elaine Greenberg, head of the SEC’s municipal securities and public pensions unit, said in an interview. “But the SEC cannot order a state to follow any particularly methodology.”

With this result:

Aggie and Buck were discussing in the comments what role the nanny state should play in our lives. We accept that there’s a law requiring you to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, in part because the state doesn’t want to have to be responsible for decades of your persistent vegetative state. Yet most of us balk at banning foods on the basis of health. We want to make our own decisions. There’s a line between what’s acceptable government interference and what isn’t. For Bloomberg that line is in one place, for me it’s in another.

I bring this up because if the federal government (i.e. the nation’s taxpayers) is in any way responsible for Illinois’ debts, we should have a say in its policies. Illinois is in the equivalent of a persistent vegetative state by acting foolishly and recklessly. I don’t want to spend a cent caring for it. Ditto Detroit, ditto California. They knew what they were doing. States, like banks, can’t be too big to fail, so fail they must.


  1. Joe said,

    March 13, 2013 @ 12:19 am

    I am watching a series with Kelsey Grammer on sattelite TV in which he plays a manipulative Mayor of Chicago, I was under the impression that it was a fictional show, now I’m not so sure.

  2. Bloodthirsty Liberal said,

    March 13, 2013 @ 4:49 am

    Yes, Joe, I’ve watched it too. It’s called Boss, and it is fictional. It’s just that they didn’t have to make any of it up.

  3. Buck O'Fama said,

    March 13, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    Y, it’s all about consequences. The helmetless rider wants to be free to ride any way he pleases but expects the rest of us to share the consequences if he cracks his skull open. I would be at home with a legal agreement that says “Look, you are free to ride hatless if you want to but be aware that if doing so causes you a debillitating injury, you will not receive our unlimited support afterwards. You choose.” Sound heartless? Maybe, but I find that less bothersome than having government nannies mandate my every move. At least I still get a choice. If nothing ever happens to me, I get the satisfaction of thumbing my nose at everyone. But of course, there will be those who will choose to ride hatless and still demand the rest of us suffer his consequences anyway, because “you shoulda known I’m stupid” or something.

    And the same should apply to states and municipalities and their “have our cake and eat it too” politicians. No doubt the rest of us will be asked, no, required to bail out these clowns because “wah wah wah you’re blaming the victim wah wah wah” or something. In the meantime, the crooks who created these messes will have bridges named after them. Consequences.

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