Republicans trying to find their way should visit Illinois

Young voters clinging to the Democratic Party will cry one day, and pull out their hair when they realize the costs of trillions upon trillions in debt and the effects of inflation. But for now, they're busy tweeting and getting their politics from Comedy Central. When they wake, don't be surprised if they start talking about death panels for everyone older than 60. By then, of course, it'll be too late.

So the Democratic message — give us free stuff because rich, white guys are evil — is effective. But the Republicans, what's their message? "Kick me, Mr. Obama"?

Republicans often talk of cutting domestic spending on entitlements for poor people. But in the same breath, the GOP backs defense contracts for wars that the middle class doesn't want to fight.

Republican establishment, where's the logic in that?

I don't think Republican bosses care, as long as they're the ones holding the rice bowl. It's about control and power, and they'll let Obama kick them and kick them as long as they've got their paws on that bowl. It's their bowl. You didn't build that. They did.

If national Republicans want to see what's coming and why, they might want to think about visiting Illinois, to see what Republicans can do when they abandon their principle and play junior Democrats in order to cling to their rice bowls.

For decade upon decade in Illinois, Boss Democrats spent and spent. But so did Boss Republicans. The Democrats kept their political workers happy and used them to leverage power and treasure. The Republicans kept businesses happy and used corporate leverage for power and treasure.

Middle-class taxpayers paid the bill. About 10 years ago they began to leave by the thousands. Now Illinois is broke.

On Friday, the bond rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the state's credit level again, to A-, putting Illinois' on par with California.

Illinois was once the place to do business. Now Illinois taxpayers are holding nearly $100 billion in public worker pension obligation debt. The only thriving business here is government.

In Illinois and in Washington, Republicans talk and talk about runaway spending. But then they run away and spend.

No wonder Obama cuffs them like wiggly puppies. He knows what he stands for, and he knows how to get there. And the Republicans don't.

jskass@tribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

CHICAGO

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