Bruce Rauner isn’t particularly known for his subtlety—he once said lawmakers should lower the minimum wage in Illinois. In a campaign ad from December 2013, Rauner walks onto a white screen, examines a claw hammer, and puts it on the counter. He reaches down and pulls out a sledgehammer with a self-satisfied look on his face. “Bruce Rauner, he’ll bring the hammer to Springfield,” a voice says while jaunty music plays in the background.
It’d almost be funny, if it didn’t represent a sincerely held governing philosophy that’s making millions of people’s lives worse. Less than a year after the billionaire bought the governorship of Illinois for $65.9 million—including $27.6 million of the his own money—Rauner is using a manufactured budget crisis to make good on that campaign promise.
This article originally appeared in In These Times in August 2015.