Illinois: A State in Crisis - by Stephen Lendman
This writer's earlier articles addressed greater social misery in America than since the Great Depression, because of unemployment, homelessness, hunger, bankruptcies, despair, and rising poverty levels.
According to the National Academy of Science, 47.4 million Americans were impoverished in 2008, 15% of the population, but the true number is much higher since the government's income threshold is $22,000 for a family of four, way short of what's needed throughout urban America where even half again as much is too little.
Illinois is a microcosm of the nation. Facing the largest per capital budget deficit in America, equal to half its operating budget, it's in deep crisis, one of many problems being poverty, the issue the Heartland Alliance addressed in its May 5 report titled, "2010 Report on Illinois Poverty," deepening under budget-balancing social safety net cuts, making a bad situation worse for growing numbers throughout the state, suffering under dire economic conditions, exacerbated by bad public policy.
The Heartland Alliance "advances the human rights and responds to the human needs of endangered populations - particularly the poor, the isolated, and the displaced (in search for) a more just global society" - no easy task in today's environment, in Illinois or throughout the nation, given that 32 states are officially insolvent, including Illinois, and nearly all of them are severely challenged.
Years of Mismanagement Pushed Illinois Over the Edge
The state's budget crisis threatens vital services like food stamps and unemployment insurance, besides healthcare, education, and various programs for the needy, under consideration for cuts or elimination.
The combination of material hardship and high unemployment threatens to impact Illinois' economy for years, yet will worsen from draconian counterproductive measures, the very policies earlier enacted with new ones being considered.