Time to deliver

Monday, November 01, 2010

Quick — What time Tuesday are you voting? Whom will you take with you to your polling place? Whom will you nudge with phone calls?

Consider bringing your children or grandchildren. They're tomorrow's voters. They're also the intended victims of inter-generational grand theft: They'll have to devote many of their adult years to retiring the massive debts our politicians have spent and borrowed in our names. Which makes us, if we don't elect problem-solvers, accomplices.

That irresponsible debt, coupled with rampant public corruption, got this page committed last year to "The Revolution of 2010." Come Tuesday, all of us need to elect lawmakers who are genuinely committed to financial and ethical reform.

Statehouse pols have obligated so many of your tax dollars to prop up their bureaucracy and assure themselves of sweet retirement that there's no money to pay the caretakers of our sick, disabled and mentally handicapped citizens. Those citizens can't afford lobbyists. They surely don't earn fabulous pensions from taxpayers. Instead they belatedly get whatever crumbs Illinois politicians drop from the table. We're accomplices to that injustice, too. Do you ever wonder how the public officials who perpetrate it — and who always get paid on time — can sleep at night?

The accompanying box sets forth the Tribune agenda we'll advocate any time we have the chance. Four October editorials explaining these points are still easy to find online. Priority One: "Hold leaders accountable." In urging you to install a generation of change agents, we argued that this state needs solutions, something too many current officials simply won't deliver.

They try to hide behind the Great Recession, as if it hit only Illinois. Remember when Illinois was prosperous, muscular, brimming with jobs and high hopes? Now this state is sinking by almost every available measure. Quoting this month from Moody's Investors Service on how low our state has sunk: "Illinois' challenges are more severe than the vast majority of other U.S. states, and it ranks at or near the bottom among states on most financial, debt and governance measures."

Please fix that. Print our candidate endorsements at chicagotribune.com/ballot and take them to your voting booth. Yes, that's perfectly legal.

And as you prepare to vote, think back to an ultimatum we suggested last year that you offer to your legislators: "If you don't deliver major reforms, I will not vote to re-elect you. Instead I will work for your defeat. Honest."

You're still waiting for those reforms.

Tuesday is your day to deliver blunt consequences.