The state of Illinois is tottering on the brink of economic
ruin. Mishandled pension funds have resulted in a shortfall of nearly $100
billion, the highest in the country. The state’s credit rating has been
downgraded numerous times in the past few years.
The business climate is dreary. Many companies, rocked by
steep workers compensation rates and a 60 percent income tax increase introduced
by Gov. Pat Quinn, are looking for greener pastures, with some moving out of
One can only imagine how many businesses have not been
started because of the state of the state’s economy. Unemployment is at 9.5
percent, nearly two full percentage points above the high national rate of 7.6
The crime rate is among the top five in the nation. A recent
study showed that six of every 1,000 residents is a gang member. The governor’s
office has served as a jumping-off point to prison, with the frequency of
ex-governors in stripes beyond a national joke.
So is our fearless leader rolling up his sleeves and
tackling the major problems facing Illinois? Well, maybe.
But first he wants to tell us what to feed our children and
how much television they may watch. A proposal to dictate how daycare centers
must treat our children has been launched.
The proposal, carried by the Department of Children and
Family Services, targets the real threats to Illinois: cookies and Sesame
Street. Actually Sesame Street is a double offender, what with the Cookie
Monster and all.
Among other things, the new rules would require daycare
providers to offer children at least two periods daily of playtime outdoors,
depending on the weather. Kids also would be prevented from remaining still for
30 minutes, outside of scheduled nap times.
Anyone who has raised toddlers realizes that is an easy rule
to follow. Most can’t sit still for 10 minutes, let alone 30.
Anyway, all this is being put together by DCFS and a
legislative panel and could be in place within a few months. Daycares would be
prohibited from offering snacks with high sugar or fat content or with butter
Hmm. I wonder what butter substitutes are made from — corn
and soybeans? We can’t have that in a state that annually ranks in the top two
in production of both of those crops.
Actually, many of the rules are probably good. As we all
become more aware of the importance of nutrition, we should adjust our diets and
make an attempt to increase exercise. And most daycare operators doubtless
already practice many of the things that would be required under this
But that isn’t the point. Most of these places — at least in
rural Illinois — are small businesses operated by members of the community who
know the parents they serve.
Decisions there should be left to the parents. They have
every right to ask about the care of their children, make suggestions and move
them to another facility if they don’t believe they are being cared for
That, however, doesn’t fit into the nanny-state utopia
imagined by liberal politicians. Like New York City’s Michael Bloomberg, they
believe that we don’t know what’s good for us, that we must look to almighty
government to tell us how to live.
Meanwhile, Illinois slides into the abyss. But at least we
won’t be lectured by Big Bird.