Chicago suffered through its worst summer of violence in decades. In August, over 400 people were shot and 80 killed.

Activists and public unions blame income inequality. Income inequality is rising, but very few understand who is to blame. And the tax hikes and pay hikes that unions seek exacerbate the problems and cause white flight.

Many claim education is the answer, but the Chicago public school system is not only financially bankrupt, it is morally bankrupt.

Bloody Chicago Summer

In Chicago, activists confront longstanding issues of inequality and poverty following a long Bloody Summer.

There has been little peace this summer in Chicago — where President Barack Obama began his political career. Last month alone more than 400 people were shot and nearly 80 killed, the most violent month in two decades in the city’s metropolitan area, according to the Chicago Police Department. This violence occurred exactly 50 years after Dr Martin Luther King Jr marched through the city’s south side demanding civil rights for African Americans.

Community leaders cite a vicious circle of poverty when discussing violence in the poorest African American and Hispanic neighborhoods. It is driven by inequality, poor access to good schools and food and has led to an evaporation of hope that they say perpetuates this crisis. This is particularly pertinent in Chicago, which remains one of America’s most racially segregated cities.

Research from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Great Cities Institute published this year showed that 40 per cent of African Americans aged between 20 and 24 were either out of work or out of school, compared with 18 per cent for the Latino population and 6.3 per cent for whites in 2014. The rate was higher in Chicago then elsewhere in the US, where the average for blacks was 28 per cent.

Those Who Can, Leave

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The most recent US census data show a 3.1 per cent decline in the population between 2000 and 2014 to 842,674. Even African American families are beginning to leave the city.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s solution to Chicago’s plight has been a massive series of tax hikes, not “for the kids” but rather to support pension promises of teachers who cannot teach and police who get to retire early, with sweeteners every step of the way.

Throwing money at the system has not worked. Tax hikes have not worked. In general, liberal policies have not worked.

Why are Huge Numbers of Blacks in Prison?

Part of the answer is Bill Cinton’s 1994 “three strikes” crime bill. Don’t believe me? Would you believe Bill Clinton?

A May 7, 2015 CNN Politics article explains nicely: Bill Clinton Concedes Role in Mass Incarceration.

President Bill Clinton on Wednesday conceded that over-incarceration in the United States stems in part from policies passed under his administration.

Clinton signed into law an omnibus crime bill in 1994 that included the federal “three strikes” provision, mandating life sentences for criminals convicted of a violent felony after two or more prior convictions, including drug crimes. On Wednesday, Clinton acknowledged that policy’s role in over-incarceration in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“The problem is the way it was written and implemented is we cast too wide a net and we had too many people in prison,” Clinton said Wednesday. “And we wound up…putting so many people in prison that there wasn’t enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs and increase the chances when they came out so they could live productive lives.”

“Keeping them behind bars does little to reduce crime, but it does a lot to tear apart families,” Hillary Clinton said last week. “Our prisons and our jails are now our mental health institutions.”

Union Activists

Union activists are a huge part of the problem. California was strongly supportive of the 3-strikes rule. California prison guards are the most overpaid in the country. The more people incarcerated, the happier the unions are.

Unions are always demanding tax hikes to support their unjustified and untenable pensions.

Circular Problem

  1. Unions want tax hikes to support pensions, not the school kids.
  2. Unions make it impossible to get rid of bad teachers and bad police officers.
  3. Unions like to see as many people as possible in prison.
  4. Mayors hike taxes to placate the unions.
  5. Tax hikes exacerbates plight of businesses and individuals.
  6. White flight (wealthy flight) and business flight ensues.
  7. To compensate for loss of tax base and loss of jobs, union demand more tax hikes. (start over again at point one).

Solutions

Illinois needs lower taxes not higher taxes that drive away businesses and wealthy individuals. Ludicrous prevailing wage laws ensure that every project in the states costs more than it should. Existing worker’s compensation laws are very punishing on businesses.

Illinois desperately needs to allow municipal bankruptcies. The pension system is broken. The tax hikes required to keep zombie cities and municipalities alive just makes matters worse.

The Chicago public school system is morally corrupt and financially bankrupt. Yet Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s only solution has been a massive set of tax hikes punishing individuals and corporations alike. None of the money is for the kids. It all goes to the pension system.

In Springfield, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s answer is in most respects the same as Emanuel’s. Both want tax hikes. Both want legislation that will drive more businesses out of the state.

Breaking the Feedback Loop

It’s time to break the cycle, but the state is so gerrymandered, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of the politicians responsible for the mess.

At the Chicago city level, unions are so powerful, mayor Emanuel will not do the right thing.

The self-feeding cycle should be obvious. But “liberals” and “progressives” keep voting for those who make their lives worse. Why?

The only thing I can come up with is belief in something for nothing policies, “free” handouts, and blame the wealthy rhetoric of union activists.

All Hail, Michael Madigan

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February 13, 2016: “Bond Girl” Blasts Chicago Public School Bonds, Says “CPS Genuinely Insolvent”

March 18, 2016: Chicago Public School System Threatens Massive Tax Hikes Via “Backdoor” Bond Guarantee

May 27, 2016: All Hail, Michael Madigan, Dictator of Illinois

July 30, 2016: Chicago Pension Situation Improving Says Mayor: Careful Analysis Uncovers Lies

Mike “Mish” Shedlock