Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

The Biggest Loser

Illinois, corruption, exit, vote with your feet, taxes

Government is supposed to serve everybody . . . according to good, old-fashioned republican theory. But most governments serve some more than others. We can define as “corruption” any attempt to make government serve a few at the expense of the many — or the many at the expense of the few.

Illinois is corrupt, and most of us can only watch it get worse. But what can we say about those who live under the Prairie State’s thumb? When citizens see an institution slipping out of control, they can remain passive or take charge. Illinois citizens have petitioned for term limits, redistricting reform and a more transparent legislature only to be blocked again and again by the state supreme court.

What more can conscientious citizens, folks I like to call “liberty initiators” do? Well, they can

  • express themselves in criticism as well as offer alternatives;
  • vote thoughtfully and be well informed;
  • consider running for office or work for good candidates;
  • donate money to reform projects.

Alas, these and other expressions of “voice” have not exactly forestalled disaster.

The last resort is to “exit,” leave — vote with your feet.

The population of Illinois has declined. Many have pulled up stakes and fled across the border to Indiana and elsewhere. In the most recent year for which we have data, Illinois lost nearly 34,000 people, more than any other state.*

Unfortunately, this population loss is only an indicator of how bad Illinois State Government is doing. It offers no solution.

Except, of course, for the people who leave.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


* Idaho has experienced the biggest population increase. See Reason’s reportage.

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By: CS Admin


  1. Richard Rider says:

    Unlike high tax California, Illinois has no good weather to offer residents, so folks are much more willing to improve their economic status by moving to a more low cost, low tax state.

    As a Californian, we see a greater reluctance for people to make that move — because of our terrific weather. Even so, since 1992 we’ve lost a NET FOUR MILLION PEOPLE to other states. I say again — NET — four million more LEFT CA for the other states than moved TO CA FROM the other states (“net domestic migration”)..

    One shudders to think about how fast our Golden State would empty out if we had Illinois weather.

    • Pat says:

      CA may have lost a net four million to other states, but what is the net population change?  
      I would guess CA’s population has grown due to people moving to CA from other countries.  We’ll have to wait until 2020 to see what CA’s population is compared to 2010 and whether or not it gains or loses seats in the House of Representatives.

  2. As mentioned by Richard above, conditions beyond legislative control impact citizen migration. However, the playbook used by the 50 legislatures are too similar for the comfort and and an opportunity to improve one’s standards of living. .

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