Idle Threats

The past few years of state and city budget woes has witnessed leaders issuing threats of massive cuts as a way to exert pressure and ultimately mitigate the cuts:

Witness Ron Huberman at the CTA in 2007, using threats to seek emergency funds from Springfield.
Or Pat Quinn in 2010, using school funding threats to seek an income tax hike.
Here in 2011, Quinn is threatening brutal cuts to health and human services, while seeking to borrow $8 Billion, some of which would surely be used to mitigate these funding cuts.
But all of this maneuvering masks and distracts from the central task — the need to make sacrifices across the board, in all areas of government. This can only happen if the people demand it and we develop a shared sense of sacrifice – that everyone is giving something up for the greater good and long-term stability. It is not easy, but to have any chance, we need leaders who can appeal to a wide public and speak in plain English, rather than leaders who try to exploit threats and paper over problems with temporary fixes.