January 20, 2019

The Blue State Challenge

“Democrats received a mixed blessing in November when they seized complete control of state governments in California, Connecticut, Illinois and New York. They now own responsibility for fixing the dysfunctions of liberal governance even as the left wants more spending and taxes.

Anti-Trump furor helped Democrats retake the governorship in Illinois and augment legislative majorities in California, Connecticut and New York. Democrats picked up 12 seats in the Connecticut House and six in the Senate where control is split with Republicans. Democrats in New York flipped eight Senate seats and won a legislative majority for only the third time in 50 years.

With legislative supermajorities, liberals in California can raise taxes without GOP votes and in Illinois place a progressive tax on the ballot as unions have long wanted. Democrats campaigned on more spending—for schools, roads, child care, you name it. But Illinois and Connecticut are spilling red ink while the progressive tax-and-spending structures in New York and California are profiting from the Trump economy while storing up future trouble.

Illinois is forecasting a $1.2 billion deficit next year and has accrued $7.5 billion in unpaid bills despite a $5 billion income and corporate tax hike in 2017. Pensions consume 25% of state revenue, up from 10% a decade ago, yet are still only about 40% funded. Chicago is leaning toward insolvency as pension costs have doubled in a decade.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"