Illinois Tax Hikes Coming Warn Municipal Bond Fund Managers

Talk of rapidly-approaching tax hikes in the “Land of Lincoln” is growing. Reuters’ Nick Brown, Megan Davies, and Karen Pierog reported yesterday:

With no easy way to financially engineer or negotiate its way out of a budget and pensions crisis, Illinois is likely to dish out some unpleasant medicine to its residents in the next few years. And investors say that is most likely to come in the form of higher taxes.

Given the Democrats’ control of the state legislature and their opposition to many proposals for spending cuts, municipal bond fund managers see little alternative for Republican Governor Bruce Rauner other than eventually agreeing to hike taxes, such as raising the state’s income tax or broadening its sales tax base…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity shouldn’t be surprised when the hikes (fees, fines, and taxes) arrive, as they’ve been discussed on this blog for quite some time now. The tragedy is that Springfield continues to waste time and resources on trivial matters while neglecting to tackle crucial issues like the well-publicized debt crisis. Monique Garcia and Kim Geiger reported on the latest nonsense preoccupying the politicians. From the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon:

Democratic Speaker Michael Madigan’s effort to ask voters to approve a measure to impose higher income taxes on millionaires failed in the House on Thursday, but provides the powerful Southwest Side politician ammunition to attack Republicans in next year’s legislative campaigns.

The proposal needed 71 “yes” votes to pass, but received just 68. But now there’s a roll call, and Madigan’s Illinois Democratic Party could send out mailers criticizing Republicans who voted against the idea. Democrats already have sent out attack ads against Republicans who did not vote in favor of a property tax freeze last week

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Games. Stupid political games as the state’s “financial reckoning day” fast approaches.

By the way, back on March 24 of last year I blogged about that push for a “millionaire’s tax” in Illinois. My prediction now is pretty much the same as it was a year ago:

Should Illinois Democrats jack up their income taxes, I suspect the number of Illinois millionaires right before the tax hike is implemented will plummet. Revenue will follow. Out-of-state vacation homes in Indiana and Wisconsin will be declared as primary residences.

The only difference being, I forgot to mention Michigan vacation homes.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (


Brown, Nick, Davies, Megan and Pierog. “As Illinois runs out of options in budget crisis, tax rises seen in the cards.” Reuters. 20 May 2015. ( 21 May 2015.

Garcia, Monique and Geiger, Kim. “Madigan’s ‘millionaire tax’ question fails in House.” Chicago Tribune. 21 May 2015. ( 21 May 2015.

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Quote For The Week

“Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.”

-Theodore Roosevelt (26th U.S. President. 1858-1919)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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Quote For The Week

“A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government…”

-Thomas Jefferson (3rd U.S. President and “Founding Father,” in his March 4, 1801, inaugural address)

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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Sunday, January 18th, 2015 Government, Quote For The Week, Socialism, Wealth No Comments

Video: SHTF In Venezuela

Henry Reich, creator of the MinutePhysics series of videos on, shows the chaos going on in Venezuela these days in his latest work. Apparently, an illustrator for MinuteEarth- Ever Salazar- has a ringside seat to the dire situation the South American country is in (I blogged about the food shortages back on April 3).

Watching the video, I couldn’t help but wonder if the United States might not suffer something similar once our financial “day of reckoning” arrives. And then I heard Salazar say this:

At least half the population ratifies the disaster by voting in favor of the 15-year-long revolution…

Sound familiar?

“When Insanity Becomes Normal- Venezuela”
YouTube Video

Note the shortages of food and other items being mentioned.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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‘Criminals Are Victims Of The Evil Capitalist Society’

These days, there are lots of people out there speculating and writing about what a financial crash would be like- even though they’ve never lived through one.

On the other hand, some have and are actively sharing their experiences and lessons for surviving a similar event.

Once in a while on Survival And Prosperity I’ve mentioned Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre, who lived through Argentina’s economic collapse last decade and released The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse in 2009. A big “fan” of the book and the accompanying blog- Surviving In Argentina– I happened to be listening to the fourth installment in a series of video posts FerFAL has produced recently about “prepper myths,” when he talked about the recent violent mugging of an American tourist in a nice part of Buenos Aires. Apparently, the mugger- who was on the verge of being lynched by a crowd- was booked by police yet released later on that day. FerFAL- now based in Northern Ireland- lamented in the April 9 post:

And that’s the key of the thing. It’s not considered a bad thing. And it’s not just mugging, robbing- even hurting, raping, murdering- it’s not considered a bad thing from the perspective of the Argentine government. They have this crappy, commie, anti-capitalist, bullshit thing going on which basically says- and I got tired of hearing this time and again- but the official government point of view is criminals are victims of the evil capitalist society that are just trying to provide for their families. And when you say, “Alright, what about a rapist or a murderer? What is he trying to do there?” “Well, he’s also a poor victim because he didn’t have the populist, socialist education that we’re trying to promote and he didn’t know any better.” They’re always justifying. And this isn’t just something I perceive. This is something I’ve been told by an actual district attorney. He’ll tell me, “That’s what we get from the top. We’re being told not to put people behind bars. Find any possible way, even if a cop drags one- this guy actually murdered someone in front of my eyes. Even if that happens, the official point of view of this is- release them as fast, as quickly as possible. We don’t want people behind bars.” That makes for a very chaotic society, and that’s what’s been going on in Argentina for over a decade now. That’s why it’s so violent…

Any of what FerFAL said ring a bell to some readers? It sure did for me, as I type this from the Chicago area this wintry April evening.

Plenty of bad guys who should be locked up behind bars are roaming the streets of Chicago and other parts of Cook County these days.

“That’s why it’s so violent.”

By the way, check out Fernando Aguirre’s other “prepper myth” video posts here if you have the time. I found them very insightful and thought-provoking.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (

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Labor Minister: France ‘Is A Totally Bankrupt State’

Speaking of France, how is the Socialist-led European state faring these days?

Not so great, it seems.

In fact, a pretty reliable source claims they’re bankrupt.

Graham Ruddick reported on The Telegraph (UK) website Monday:

Michel Sapin made the gaffe in a radio interview, which left French President Francois Hollande battling to undo the potential reputational damage.

“There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr Sapin said. “That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

The comments came as President Hollande attempts to improve the image of the French economy after pledging to reduce the country’s deficit by cutting spending by €60bn (£51.5bn) over the next five years and increasing taxes by €20bn.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

As I mentioned earlier tonight, some claim President Obama desires French-style Socialism for the United States.

If France’s economy truly is in shambles, and the U.S. President really wants to emulate them, well- here’s a glimpse of what Americans could expect. From an Investor’s Business Daily editorial yesterday:

Fresh after May 2012’s election, President Francois Hollande wasted no time raising government spending, hiking tax rates to 75% on those above $1.3 million in income, hiring 60,000 bureaucrats, cutting the retirement age for public pensions to 60 and undoing fiscal reforms by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. During his campaign, Hollande declared himself “the enemy of finance.” France today proves it…

Public debt has soared from 68% of GDP in 2008 to 90% in 2012, joblessness has hit 11%, and GDP growth of its $2.8 trillion economy is projected in 2013 at zero.

Tax hikes have driven the richest taxpayers from the country, making the $43 billion budget hole unlikely to be plugged by Hollande’s $26 billion tax hike. Meanwhile, a squeeze on business creates rising numbers of unemployed, who in turn demand state services.

Time will tell how this will all work out for the Socialists in France. But if history rhymes once again, keep in mind something former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said in a 1976 interview:

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalise everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalisation, and they’re now trying to control everything by other means. They’re progressively reducing the choice available to ordinary people.

Any of this sound familiar?

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (


Ruddick, Graham. “France ‘totally bankrupt’, says labour minister Michel Sapin.” The Telegraph. 28 Jan. 2013. ( 30 Jan. 2013.

“Like The Bourbons, France’s Socialists Have Learned Nothing, Forgotten Nothing.” Investor’s Business Daily. 29 Jan. 2013. ( 30 Jan. 2013.

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CNBC’s Rick Santelli After GDP Report: ‘We Are Now Europe’

Here’s something I keep hearing with more frequency these days:

Barack Obama is transforming America into Europe.

More specifically, the U.S. President is pushing us towards French-style Socialism.

Now, I’m not so sure about that. But CNBC’s Rick Santelli sure seems to think there’s some truth to it.

Get a load of the on-air editor down at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange this morning when the fourth quarter GDP was announced:

“Rick Santelli Responds to Negative GDP Report: ‘We Are Now Europe’”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (

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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 Deficits, Europe, GDP, Government, Socialism, Spending No Comments

China, Global Mainstream Media Urge U.S. To Enact More Gun ‘Control’

Since last week’s mass shooting in Newtown Connecticut, the global mainstream media has gone to work pushing the United States to adopt more restrictions on firearms. Reuters’ Edward Krudy and Peter Rudegeair reported Wednesday:

Around the globe, newspaper editorials from the Philippines to South Africa urged U.S. gun-control efforts and said they were long overdue.

“It takes no great deductive genius to understand the link: a violent individual with a gun will be more able to kill, and can kill more people, than a violent individual without a gun. Elsewhere in the world, tighter gun laws have been shown to save lives,” said an editorial in India’s The Hindu newspaper.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Elsewhere in the world, tighter gun laws have been shown to save lives.”

I’d really like to see the evidence supporting that statement.

Even the People’s Republic of China is chiming in on this. From state-run Xinhua News Agency on December 14:

Innocent blood demands no delay for U.S. gun control

Every time a tragedy occurs, there are renewed appeals for gun regulation. However, the calls disappointingly always fail…

The latest heartbreaking deaths of the 20 schoolchildren aged five to 10 have made the crime especially unbearable. Many people can’t help but turn to the dim hope once again: the gunman’s cruelty and evil may provide a strong momentum and broader public support for the restart of gun control efforts. Moreover, with no re-election pressure, President Obama is currently in the best position to promote it…

Action speaks louder than words. If Obama wants to take practical measures to control guns, he has to make preparation for a protracted war and considerable political cost.

This brings to mind something China’s Chairman Mao said in Problems of War and Strategy, November 6, 1939:

All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Communist Party must command all the guns. That way, no guns can ever be used to command the Party.


Krudy, Edward and Rudegeair, Peter. “White House readies gun-control plan as more children laid to rest.” Reuters. 19 Dec. 2012. ( 21 Dec. 2012.

“Innocent blood demands no delay for U.S. gun control.” Xinhua News Agency. 14 Dec. 2012. ( 21 Dec. 2012.

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U.S. Falls To 15th In Democracy Rankings

Back when I was toiling away on “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street” a couple of years ago, I came across something that made me chuckle. I don’t remember the source, but in the wake of all the government bailouts and intervention after the global financial crisis really reared its ugly head in 2008, it was said one of the most popular books in Russia at the time was Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.

While in America, Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto was a hot item.

I have a feeling this was more commentary than fact, but what reminded me of this was something I stumbled on the other day on the Washington Times website. Jennifer Harper blogged on the Water Cooler on December 17:

A new rating of the most “democratic” nations on the planet places the U.S. in 15th place in a list of 104 countries. Who made the assessment? The Vienna, Austria-based Democracy Ranking annually rates the democracy among world populations based on “quality,” taking into account such factors as political rights, civil liberty, press freedom, corruption, political stability, “gender gap” issues and myriad socioeconomic indicators.

Nordic nations — where governments tend to flirt with socialism — dominate the lead. The top 10 nations on the list are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland and Austria.

Harper noted that the United States dropped from 14th to 15th place in the latest rankings.

Next time some politician or somebody else proclaims we live in a model democracy, a beacon for the world to follow, I’ll have to remember these rankings.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual here in Amerika.

“Glenn Beck presents the Obama National Anthem”
YouTube Video

Just kidding. I’ll keep toiling on in the plutocracy.

You can find out more about the Democracy Ranking’s findings on their website here.


Harper, Jennifer. “’Most democratic’: U.S. is 15th on the list.” Water Cooler. 17 Dec. 2012. ( 20 Dec. 2012.

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Thursday, December 20th, 2012 Corruption, Europe, Freedom, Government, Socialism No Comments

2012 Election Thoughts

For months now I’ve been saying to those people closest to me that Barack Obama will be reelected as President of the United States of America. Granted, last week I did mention to my girlfriend that Mitt Romney might have a shot at the White House based on analysis done by FOX News and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze TV (these two media outlets need to win back any confidence I had in them as a result). Now that Election Day has come and gone, here are some thoughts about the whole spectacle.

The main reason I kept saying Obama would get reelected as President was that the votes were already “bought and paid for.” A lot of Americans receive government benefits (49.1 percent of Americans lived in a household where at least one member of the family received such benefits in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal earlier this year). The Obama administration has demonstrated these past four years that it’s willing to provide these benefits (part ideology, part political strategy). If you are someone receiving this, why would you endanger the status quo by voting for someone else who might take it away as part of some publicized push for smaller government living within its means? Where could all this lead to? Full-fledged dependency and eventual bondage, if one buys into the Cycle of the Body Politic.

Young American voters could be more “left-leaning” than their predecessors. How left? Well, “socialist” might not be too far off the mark if one subscribes to the findings of a Pew Research Center survey from December 2011. I wrote back on September 27:

You see, not only am I aware that a good number of Americans aren’t put-off by the idea of socialism anymore, but a recent poll even showed a majority of young Americans aged 18-29 have a positive view of it.

From the Pew Research Center website back on December 28, 2011:

Socialism is a negative for most Americans, but certainly not all. Six-in-ten (60%) say they have a negative reaction to the word; 31% have a positive reaction…

Fully nine-in-ten conservative Republicans (90%) view socialism negatively, while nearly six-in-ten liberal Democrats (59%) react positively.

The poll of 1,521 adults conducted back in early December 2011 revealed that among the 18-29 age group, 49 percent had a positive view of socialism as compared to 43 percent having a negative view.

Is Obama and his White House socialist? I don’t know. Are they “left-leaning?” The available evidence suggests so. Which could be why a lot of young American voters are drawn to the Democrats.

Public sector unions obviously played a big role in this election. I understand that such groups work toward the benefit of their members. However, does such activity work contrary to the common good, destabilizing increasingly financially-challenged public agencies, as critics suggest? Plenty of insolvent government organizations could be available for study shortly.

While incumbent politicians can be more difficult to dislodge from office, President Obama retained the White House despite a dismal economic record in his first term. Measures of (un)employment, food stamps, poverty, budget deficits, national debt, for example, grew increasingly worse over the past four years. I know, what about those “5 million jobs created” the Democrats kept touting during the campaign? Problem is, a closer look at what was “created” reveals a lot of low-paying positions. Burger flippers won’t be spearheading a U.S. economic recovery anytime soon. Perhaps Americans aren’t voting based on their wallets as much anymore. Or perhaps their pocketbooks haven’t been hit hard enough. That may be just a matter of time.

The past four years confirmed for many Americans the transformation of the news media from watchdog journalists to unofficial mouthpieces of the Democratic Party (the press being merely a mouthpiece for any party is bad). I have some journalism experience in my background, and my training included an emphasis on unbiased reporting. Being exposed to the amount of news material I am on a daily basis, it’s all too obvious to me that either that training is no longer given, a refresher course is desperately needed, or today’s journalists just don’t give a damn about it anymore. Sad. The way I look at it, if reporters not assigned to pen an op-ed/column feel the need to express the political creature in them, then get a personal blog! And let’s exchange links. Otherwise, do your country a huge favor and once again occupy the role of the “Fourth Estate”- an independent press. Continue on as the “American Pravda” and suffer the inevitable consequences.

Since Chicago/Cook County/Illinois Democrats play a significant role in running the country, one need only look at where they originate from to get an idea of where they might be taking the country these next four years. Anyone who spends enough time on this blog reading those posts written for my local audience knows exactly where that is:

Into the ground.

While Chicago and Cook County have significant financial woes, the State of Illinois is essentially bankrupt. Too many benefits, too much spending, too little cutbacks, too much borrowing, and now the fee and tax hikes on residents and businesses. It’s going to get ugly in the “Land of Lincoln” real fast. California and Illinois are the two U.S. states competing with each other to go under first as the financial crisis worsens, according to some very smart people. Yet, don’t expect any regime change in “Madiganistan” any time soon. As I wrote back on March 21:

As a result of this redistricting, Democrats could very likely control the state legislature in Illinois for a number of years. Monique Garcia, Alissa Groeninger, and Ray Long wrote on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

Even before unofficial results rolled in, some sitting Republican lawmakers were bound to lose in DuPage County, casualties of the Democratic-drawn state legislative districts. The map is tilted so heavily toward Democrats that the party led by House Speaker Michael Madigan, the Illinois Democratic chairman, is all but ensured November general election victories that could set it on a course to control the General Assembly for the next decade.

And from a Chicago Tribune editorial piece this morning:

Democrats had virtually locked in their Springfield majorities before the first voters cast the first early ballots on Oct. 22. More than half of these legislative races weren’t even contested by both major parties. And while some of the new district boundaries gave Republicans tremendous advantage, the aggregate effect was to keep Illinois and its 12.8 million citizens under one-party rule.

Voters evidently like it that way.

Yes they do. Especially as votes were also “bought and paid for” here in the ‘Stan.

Before this post is misconstrued as being merely some Obama/Democrat-bashing piece, regular readers of the blog know that I foresee a U.S. financial crash at the end of all this “kicking the can down the road.” That being said, at this point in the game, I don’t think it really matters anymore whether the Democrats or Republicans are in charge as it concerns where our economy and larger financial system is eventually heading. Enough damage has already been done (think of the Titanic and her compartments being punctured just enough to guarantee her inevitable demise) that America is fast-approaching a tipping point as both major national political parties make matters worse by refusing to scale back the obscene amounts of government spending when given the chance. If you think about it, when it comes to fiscal policy, both parties have shown to be no better than a two-headed monster. Barack Obama’s economic polices from 2008-2012, in general, were really just an extension of George W. Bush’s economic policies. Spending, stimulus, government intervention, you get the picture. Rather than sit down, have a mature conversation with the nation about the unsustainable track we’re on concerning our finances, and stop the spending, both the Democrats and Republicans continue to pander to Main Street’s desire for more stuff, more benefits, more borrowing, more debt. This time around, Barack Obama and the Democrats won. In the longer run, everyone looks to lose.

In the meantime, congratulations Mr. President and the Democratic Party on your Election Day victory.


Izzo, Phil. “Number of the Week: Half of U.S. Lives in Household Getting Benefits.” Real Time Economics. 26 May 2012. ( 7 Nov. 2012.

“Illinois Democrats and their realm.” Chicago Tribune. 7 Nov. 2012. (,0,2900759.story). 7 Nov. 2012.

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Survival And Prosperity
Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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