Current Affairs

"What to Do With a Broken Illinois: Dissolve the Land of Lincoln"

John Kass, Chicago Tribune. Ouch, this is gonna hurt.

Illinois is like Venezuela now, a fiscally broken state that has lost its will to live, although for the moment, we still have enough toilet paper.

But before we run out of the essentials, let's finally admit that after decade upon decade of taxing and spending and borrowing, Illinois has finally run out of other people's money.

"Elite High Schools Plot to Undermine College Admissions"

Even given the low expectations I have for good sense in K-12 education, this is really dopey.

The plan — by the Mastery Transcript Consortium, which counts over 100 top private schools as members — would have its participants stop reporting grades to college admissions offices and instead provide a new model for transcripts and portfolios. The consortium’s proposal would serve as one more step in a trend going back a century toward introducing vagueness and, by extension, discretionary power into college admissions.

If, supposedly, wealthy people can give their offspring an unfair advantage on the SATs and getting good high school grades, wait until you see how large an advantage they can procure in getting good "portfolios". 

"The new, nearly invisible class markers that separate the American elite from everyone else"

Old story: wealthy people spend lotsa lotsa money in obvious ways, in "conspicuous consumption": bad, very bad.

New story: wealthy people do NOT spend money in obvious ways, in "inconspicuous consumption": bad, very bad.

You'd almost think that whatever wealthy people do with their money, it will be bad, very bad.

A few notes from two Liberal paradises

"BLUE MODEL CRISIS: The Illinois Meltdown".

Years of cascading fiscal crisis and insoluble political gridlock have driven the Land of Lincoln to the edge of the abyss. . . . The collapse of governance in America’s fifth-largest state is on a different scale from the problems (and there are many) in other indebted state capitals.

"Officials Warn Illinois Finances in 'Massive Crisis Mode'".

The Illinois official responsible for paying the state's bills is warning that new court orders mean her office must pay out more each month than Illinois receives in revenue.

"Jerry Brown’s Pension Loan Does NOT Pay Down Pension Obligations".

As frugal as Jerry Brown is, if his own money were at risk I can’t imagine that he would not grasp the difference between (i) using his own discretionary cash to pay down his obligations and (ii) borrowing from a family member to speculate on stocks in the hope of reducing future costs relating to his obligations.

"California’s descent to socialism"

California is widely celebrated as the fount of technical, cultural and political innovation. Now we seem primed to outdo even ourselves, creating a new kind of socialism that, in the end, more resembles feudalism than social democracy.