For several years I have been hearing about the fiscal difficulties in Illinois. They don't often make national news though the shootings in Chicago lately have--frequently. Now, I guess, Illinois has made the big time--The New York Times. This article provides a fairly accurate picture of the situation as it stands now. However, the budgetary problems go much further back than late 2008 when this recession officially started. Every year the Chicago media ran stories that the mass transit systems were on the verge of going broke needing either a fare hike or an infusion of state cash to keep afloat. Each year some kind of agreement was reached with the state legislators to fund mass transit with promises that the fix was permanent. It never was. In the mean time, the infrastructure deteriorated as capital funds were diverted to pay everyday expenses. And as the NYT story clearly shows that is not an isolated case. (They don't mention mass transit at all. But the situation for social services, education and other departments are mirror images of the problems with mass transit.)
I have become increasingly pessimistic where our political life is concerned and, I think, with good reason. The gridlock in Illinois perfectly mirrors that in DC. And when anything does get done it accomplished only by totally dishonest means as noted in this Firedoglake piece. Not only have we acted in a half-assed manner in Iraq and Afghanistan but we are continuing to be half-assed in our conduct of the nation's business. And it is all clothed in the language of righteousness.