Thinking About Definitives

by Fred Cederholm

My country and my state need major fixing, but I have yet to see any viable/workable plan(s) proposed by any of our apparent statewide candidates.

I’ve been thinking about definitives. Actually I’ve been thinking about Tuesday’s Primary election in Illinois, the candidates, the issues, the economy, and Ryan/Blajogevich/Obama. It seems like we just had the “CAN DO” election of 2008 which sent Illinois Senator Barack Obama to the White House. A ho-hum malaise now seems to characterize the mid-term elections of 2010. In limited circles, there is excitement, but even that seems to be the exception to the national norm.

You see even political junkie that I am, I am having a hard time focusing on the candidates and finding the brokered issues. I am (for the most part) focusing on my exercises and trying to get back to where I was before my two heart surgeries and MRSA infection. Things are going, but like everything else in this country (and state), they are going at a snail’s pace. This should be a defining election.

My country and my state need major fixing, but I have yet to see any viable/workable plan(s) proposed by any of our apparent statewide candidates who will face off in the “real” elections come November. I am very happy with the local officials in Creston and Rochelle. We have a great State Senator (Brad) and State Representative (Bob) and I like (and respect) my US Congressman (Don). Locally, the big race is for county sheriff. This race is important because the primary election will decide the chief legal enforcement officer for a county with only 5 police departments countywide.

Last week there were an inundation of computerized phone “messages” seeking support, votes, and money. The ‘NO CALL” listings do not apply to candidates for public office (how convenient!!!) and even if I hung up, the recorded messages tied up my phone line until they finished their blurb. I listened diligently (even sometimes taking notes) and didn’t learn a thing. The same campaign approach seems to apply in the political junk mail I have received and the “People for....” websites which I’ve visited to learn who these cookies are that are seeking our statewide offices?

Illinois is in deep trouble; the United States of America is in deep trouble. Who are the men and women seeking to fix things and what are their fixes? The 2010 elections should see the Obama pendulum from 2008 swing back, but even THAT is not a given. Barack Obama has gone from a record approval rating to at best a 48%/ 48% approval polling. The GOP/Republican candidates should have an edge this go around and should re-take back many of the positions lost. “The Ted Kennedy Senate Seat” has already gone to a Republican in liberal Massachusetts. Will the “Obama Senate Seat” in Illinois follow suit? The super majority in the US Senate is already history for the Democrats.

My analysis of each of the campaigns for the Federal Illinois Senate seat formerly held by now President Barack Obama, and every one of the statewide offices now up for grabs reaches the same conclusions. The candidates are all defining themselves by what they are NOT!!! In virtually every case, it is a dis-serving: “please, please, please... elect me because I and not my opponent!” The negative campaigning has been brutal from both sides. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have each laid the foundations for what will be re-used as the negative barbs come November. It has not been pretty.

On the “positive” (sic) side the candidates all want jobs, no cuts in services, no tax increases, honesty in government, a balanced budget, and good schools for the kids. I wonder why they have not brought up Mom, apple pie, and the American way... (Ok... each commercial has an American flag blowing in the breezes somewhere in the background.) Get real folks... at a flat 3%, Illinois state income tax Illinois is a bargain! Doubling that tax rate will barely cover half of the current operating deficit of $12 BILLION and will not even touch the $100 plus BILLION in Illinois’ unpaid bills.

We haven’t had a state income tax increase (progressive taxation) in 30 years, meanwhile we are being “fee’d” (regressive taxation) to death.

We haven’t had a state income tax increase in 30 years, meanwhile we are being “fee’d” to death. All licenses and fees have escalated through the roof. The State of Illinois is constitutionally bound to fund 50% of the schools’ costs; Illinois now funds roughly 30% of them. The difference comes in annual increases to the real estate taxes which hit our pocketbooks. We have the “highest ranged” funding gap (funding per child per year) across the entire country. The costs of doing business here really stink.

Our last two elected governors are either in the slammer, or are awaiting trial for their illicit conduct. It is amazing how every candidate here seems to be running against Governor Ryan/Governor Blajogevich/President Obama --- ALL THREE!!! Tuesday, we can only vote our conscience and then press these primary victors for solid details of their planned actions come November. PLEASE VOTE on Tuesday : it does count!!!!

I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at

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This story was published on February 1, 2010.