It's the Economy, or Maybe Not
To be honest, I have yet to read the whole thing, but I found this excerpt highlighted by Ralph to be very interesting and troubling:
Over the last 15 years, economic growth in Illinois lagged both the nation and the Great Lakes Region. While overall employment grew, the largest job growth occurred in the low-paying service sectors.
Meanwhile, Illinois lost more than 222,500 well-paying manufacturing jobs. Most of the service sector jobs that replaced lost manufacturing jobs, paid 29.2 percent less than the jobs replaced. No surprise, then, that the report found inflation-adjusted median income for all Illinois households declined by more than 12 percent since 1999, the second-worst decline of any state in the nation. Concurrently, poverty in Illinois increased, while the number of jobs that provide health-care coverage and private retirement benefits declined.
For the next twelve months, Illinois voters are going to be simultaneously told that Illinois' economy is right on track, or not even on the track, depending upon who is doing the telling. And both sides are going to trot out facts and figures to support their position. But scholars aside, I think that it will once again come down to the question of "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"
Yet ironically, just as it was four years ago, I think that the bigger question on voters' minds will be "Do I trust this party to be in the Executive Mansion?" And rest assured, there will be plenty of debate on that subject as well. It's a sad situation indeed when ethics issues repeatedly trump other issues that should be the real focus of government.